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"Hundreds of the leaked war logs reflect the fertile imagination of the torturer faced with the entirely helpless victim – bound, gagged, blindfolded and isolated – who is whipped by men in uniforms using wire cables, metal rods, rubber hoses, wooden stakes, TV antennae, plastic water pipes, engine fan belts or chains."

Today, WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of documents that give insight into what coalition forces experienced from 2004 to 2009.

From the official leak site, WikiLeaks claims the logs account for "109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 'civilians'; 23,984 'enemy' (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 'host nation' (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 'friendly' (coalition forces)."

A standing order, known as Frago 242, directed coalition military personnel that no investigations were necessary if an Iraqi citizen was being tortured by an Iraqi official. Though coalition troops in many cases tried to persuade Iraqi officials to reprimand their security forces for torture, often times the Iraqis simply covered it up, and in one log were heard to say, "keep quiet because the Americans might hear his screams".

Coverage at:

The Guardian
Al Jazeera
New York Times
posted by notion (168 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Let's look forward, not backward.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:49 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Let's look forward, not backward.

how about we do both?
posted by jammy at 3:53 PM on October 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yes...but Stephen Colbert...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:53 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Let's look forward, not backward."

While we're at it let's not eat red food and make only left hand turns.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 3:56 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


As an Australian I will shit and piss all over our alliance with the USA until the day I shit and piss no more.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 3:59 PM on October 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


Related post.
posted by homunculus at 3:59 PM on October 22, 2010


I'm picturing Julian Assange popping out of the rabbit hole like Bugs and thumbing his nose at Elmer. The difference with the cartoon ends when Elmer arranges for Bugs' rabbit hole to mysteriously explode after a "gas leak".
posted by codacorolla at 3:59 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sully, apropos of the post title:

The forces that conducted these horrific acts are the forces we are handing the country over to.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:00 PM on October 22, 2010


From warlogs.wikileaks.org: "The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths. That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period."

That's horrifying. And these numbers come from the military's own reports.

I wonder how many of these deaths are the result of military actions, vs. the bombing of public places by insurgents.
posted by jsonic at 4:02 PM on October 22, 2010



The forces that conducted these horrific acts are the forces we are handing the country over to.


Makes sense, here in the US we are about to hand back power to the people who conceived of the invasion in the first place.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:06 PM on October 22, 2010 [15 favorites]


Gah, I forgot the related posts, homunculus. Apologies.
posted by notion at 4:06 PM on October 22, 2010


The forces that conducted these horrific acts are the forces we are handing the country over to.

Lest it be totally obscured, much of this occurred while Iraq was under military occupation by the United States and allies i.e. we were legally responsible for the acts committed by the Iraqis under our 'command.' A war crimes investigation that went sufficiently up the chain of command would no doubt discover that the policy of 'hear no evil, see no evil' was officially sanctioned from the White House.

But, of course, what is the officially sanctioned sodomizing of 15 year old boys in our military prisons compared to a universal mandate that everyone buy health insurance in the U.S.
posted by ennui.bz at 4:07 PM on October 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's great that this info has come out, but its broad outlines were already known.

Too bad the most important element-- the fact that the Iraq insurgency died down, not so much because of what US and NATO forces did, but as a result of massive urban ethnic cleansing (or sectarian slaughter, perhaps more accurately)-- won't penetrate American political debate.

Want the Afghanistan insurgency to die down, as per Iraq?

Well, first you have to move a country of farmers into cities... then you have to create equally motivated armed factions... and then you have to stand back, as they kill each other.

So, starting with the fact that the Afghans are not already clustered tightly into controllable cities... not too likely.
posted by darth_tedious at 4:13 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


But, of course, what is the officially sanctioned sodomizing of 15 year old boys in our military prisons compared to a universal mandate that everyone buy health insurance in the U.S.

I am not sure of when the desire to keep honorable conduct in the military became unpatriotic, but I know it's not doing us any good.
posted by notion at 4:14 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I find a bit odd though perhaps early, is that the Pentagon asked our media not to release or print any of this, but the lefty Guardian has as well as Al Jazzera..there will be of course blogs etc that carry this too. Does this speak well or otherwise for our own at home press?
posted by Postroad at 4:14 PM on October 22, 2010


"What I find a bit odd though perhaps early, is that the Pentagon asked our media not to release or print any of this, but the lefty Guardian has as well as Al Jazzera..there will be of course blogs etc that carry this too. Does this speak well or otherwise for our own at home press?"

Well, Postroad...that depends on if you think North Korea's media is admirably respectful of the needs of their own government, eh?
posted by jaduncan at 4:18 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Coverage at:

The Guardian
Al Jazeera
New York Times
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:22 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


WikiLeaks claims the logs account for "109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 'civilians'..."

Iraq Body Count puts their documented civilian death count between 98,000 and 107,000. So if we use the military as the low end of the distribution, we're looking at up to 130K dead civilians.

At the very least, such logs put lie to the US government's claims of not taking count of conflict deaths.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:28 PM on October 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is one of the most sad posts I've ever combed through. I must do something.
posted by parmanparman at 4:29 PM on October 22, 2010


Thank you, WikiLeaks. That is all.
posted by grounded at 4:32 PM on October 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Let's look forward, not backward.

I am genuinely curious as to what President Obama is supposed to do, in your esteemed opinion as a member of the GOP, about the events of October 17, 2006.
posted by mark242 at 4:38 PM on October 22, 2010


Investigate?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:45 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Joe is Independant
posted by clavdivs at 4:46 PM on October 22, 2010


I am genuinely curious as to what President Obama is supposed to do, in your esteemed opinion as a member of the GOP, about the events of October 17, 2006.

Binding U.S. law requires prosecutions for those who authorize torture
posted by Joe Beese at 4:47 PM on October 22, 2010 [19 favorites]


as related to the internet, i find it interesting to wake up and find secrets on the internet.
posted by clavdivs at 4:50 PM on October 22, 2010


joes link is full of flash and commentary which makes me think.

i can even misspell 1/4 of the words and google gives me this on torture and law
posted by clavdivs at 4:56 PM on October 22, 2010


warlog reveals deeper Iranian involvement in Iraqi insurgency. Apparent the Bush admin was actually understating the amount of involvement of Iran when our commanders reported it as higher. And all this time I though Iran was their grand finale. I'm appalled by the torture and confused. Also really wikileaks Friday night news dump WTF?
posted by humanfont at 5:01 PM on October 22, 2010


not de=de rail, but what is with the friday night dump thingy, is this like a dead drop. because that makes no sense because it is friday night.
posted by clavdivs at 5:04 PM on October 22, 2010


Binding U.S. law requires prosecutions for those who authorize torture

Alright, and let's say we get Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Tenet, Rice, Feith, Goss, Negroponte, et al, on the stand. Let's even say they get convicted and put in jail. Then what?

I repeat my question: what is President Obama supposed to do about the events of October 17, 2006.
posted by mark242 at 5:05 PM on October 22, 2010


I repeat my question: what is President Obama supposed to do about the events of October 17, 2006.

-----------------

At least an apology.
posted by tilde at 5:10 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


what is President Obama supposed to do about the events of October 17, 2006.

How about getting the fuck out of Afghanistan?
posted by serazin at 5:11 PM on October 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


"Alright, and let's say we get Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Tenet, Rice, Feith, Goss, Negroponte, et al, on the stand. Let's even say they get convicted and put in jail. Then what?"

They they will be in jail, suffering for their actions, acting as a living deterrent against any such further actions thus freeing up some space so we get on with building civil society. As opposed to a power trippers playground and consumer dead zone.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 5:14 PM on October 22, 2010 [18 favorites]


Also really wikileaks Friday night news dump WTF?

I think this might have had something to do with accelerating the schedule.

Forbes: Wikileaks Hacked By “Very Skilled” Attackers Prior To Iraq Doc Release.
posted by scalefree at 5:14 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]



Alright, and let's say we get Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Tenet, Rice, Feith, Goss, Negroponte, et al, on the stand. Let's even say they get convicted and put in jail. Then what?


Then we will have shown that the political system in the U.S. is strong enough to find justice for it's own crimes. In the face of mounting evidence of violations of our own laws and international treaties, the failure to officially investigate, much less prosecute those responsible is to admit that we are weak and politically fractured. We would rather pretend that nothing happened than admit to what actually did happen and plan for the consequences. Because, in the end, the war in Iraq was not just a crime, but a mistake.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:15 PM on October 22, 2010 [22 favorites]


Alright, and let's say we get Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Tenet, Rice, Feith, Goss, Negroponte, et al, on the stand. Let's even say they get convicted and put in jail. Then what?

Then we've done something about the "my country, right or wrong" chestnut involving the actual putting of our country right when she was wrong.
posted by immlass at 5:20 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Your honor, what is this court supposed to do about the murder that took place last week? Let's even say the accused gets convicted and put in jail. Then what?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:20 PM on October 22, 2010 [12 favorites]


let's say we get Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Tenet, Rice, Feith, Goss, Negroponte, et al, on the stand. Let's even say they get convicted and put in jail. Then what?

That seems like enough to me.

Actually, I'd like to see a program where these men are regularly visited by torture victims, maybe even one where they're not allowed other visitors until they've spent a minimum number of weekly hours talking with torture victims. But anyway...

Obama isn't responsible for what was done, and nothing undoes the torture, nothing uncommits the crime. All true. But nothing would say that we're serious about our ostensible principles and that we're really a nation of laws like a real court case.
posted by namespan at 5:21 PM on October 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yeah, there was no torture in Iraq until we went there.
posted by Xezlec at 5:23 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


How about getting the fuck out of Afghanistan?

Why?
posted by namespan at 5:24 PM on October 22, 2010


Oh, heck, I better clarify that. Not saying it was right that these things were ignored. Just responding to those who consider this to be part of the justification for not going to war against countries like Afghanistan. My point is that the war didn't cause something that wasn't already there.
posted by Xezlec at 5:26 PM on October 22, 2010



Oh, heck, I better clarify that. Not saying it was right that these things were ignored. Just responding to those who consider this to be part of the justification for not going to war against countries like Afghanistan. My point is that the war didn't cause something that wasn't already there.


...but I thought we were going there to stop it....or WMD or something I can't remember anymore.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:28 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


i would support the prosecution of bush, cheney, et al, but let's remember that obama was 3 days into office when he killed his first afghan child in an attack he personally ordered. do we prosecute him, too? there is obviously a bigger problem to contend with. every goddam silent american citizen who does not raise his voice in conscience against this behaviour is equally guilty. in order to responsibly address the problems we face in this country, we must bring forth a generation that does not go to war.
posted by kitchenrat at 5:28 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Xezlec: "Yeah, there was no torture in Iraq until we went there."

Yeah! Tu quoque, bitches!"
posted by mullingitover at 5:28 PM on October 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


i would support the prosecution of bush, cheney, et al, but let's remember that obama was 3 days into office when he killed his first afghan child in an attack he personally ordered. do we prosecute him, too?

For collateral damage? No, not unless there was some negligence. The intentional and cold blooded decision to order and approve of torture is a different beast.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:30 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your honor, what is this court supposed to do about the murder that took place last week? Let's even say the accused gets convicted and put in jail. Then what?

Not only are you comparing an apple to a hundred thousand acres of apple trees, there's this overriding, dangerous sentiment in this thread that Holder getting convictions somehow puts everything back in Pandora's box.

There is nothing that we can possibly do that will ever make what we did to Iraq "right". To somehow insinuate that "okay, it's all good now, right?" after a show trial is naive in the extreme.
posted by mark242 at 5:31 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


there's this overriding, dangerous sentiment in this thread that Holder getting convictions somehow puts everything back in Pandora's box.

No, no there is not.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


(asks joe if he wants to get a drink)
posted by clavdivs at 5:32 PM on October 22, 2010


To somehow insinuate that "okay, it's all good now, right?" after a show trial is naive in the extreme.

I don't think anyone here has said or insinuated anything of the sort. Further, a "show" trial is a pretty obscene way to describe a war crimes tribunal.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:34 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


there's this overriding, dangerous sentiment in this thread that Holder getting convictions somehow puts everything back in Pandora's box.

It would. These were not drunken crimes of passion. They were considered, procedural events that only went ahead because it was thought that the rules did not apply.

Demonstrating that the rules always apply will restrain future behavior.
Demonstrating that the rules do not apply will escalate future behavior.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:39 PM on October 22, 2010 [24 favorites]


Then what?

Margaritas all around?
Swing dancing?
A homemade fireworks party?
A quick jump into an icy lake followed immediately with a steamy sauna?

All sorts of options.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:40 PM on October 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


"there's this overriding, dangerous sentiment in this thread that Holder getting convictions somehow puts everything back in Pandora's box."

No there isn't, there's a belief in applying the law, because that's what it's for.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 5:47 PM on October 22, 2010 [14 favorites]


Did you catch the part where the same heli used in the previous wiki leaks video was told to shoot some surrendering Iraqis it has previously engaged because the lawyer back at base said you can't surrender to an aircraft. Y'all know I'm not exactly supportive of the leaks agenda or methods. Yet I have to say this is really depressing. The question now is given the polarized us domestic political climate can there be an real criminal investigation/prosecution of key policy and decision makers given this evidence?
posted by humanfont at 5:47 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


How about getting the fuck out of Afghanistan?

Why?


Because we acknowledge that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan yet we (under Obama) have escalated the war there. Because we are wasting our resources and lives while destabilizing the entire region. Because we have no obvious strategic interest in having a military presence in central asia except to people who think we should be at war with China.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:48 PM on October 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


....an exerpt from my new opera
'Hirtius and Pansa'
posted by clavdivs at 5:52 PM on October 22, 2010


These are the direct fruits of the staggering act of evil that was -- and is -- the illegal, immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq. No, let's go further than that. These acts are just the latest fruits in an astonishingly brutal and coldly deliberate 20-year effort to destroy the Iraqi people: an effort carried out through four presidential administrations -- two Republicans, two Democrats -- with the complicity of successive British governments. It is a crusade that has involved two massively destructive major military campaigns and more than a decade of draconian sanctions, all of which have led to the needless deaths of more than one and a half million innocent people.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:56 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


A war crimes investigation that went sufficiently up the chain of command would no doubt discover that the policy of 'hear no evil, see no evil' was officially sanctioned from the White House.

To this and people making similar statements, I don't think you're giving them enough credit for subtlety. I could be wrong, but I suspect that at some point in the chain of command, before it reaches the White House, there is an understanding that they are protecting the President by not reporting certain things to him. At that tier, they don't need orders for everything, because they can read between the lines.

As an Australian I will shit and piss all over our alliance with the USA until the day I shit and piss no more.

I can't blame you for that. The invasion of Iraq was a shameful thing.
posted by Edgewise at 5:56 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is a monstrous evil to see the men responsible for the rape of Iraq live out their lives in comfort and peace when all of the people they so coldly and apathetically butchered have been denied that luxury.

But no apology to the people of Iraq will be forthcoming (as if it could even provide the smallest modicum of comfort to our victims in the first place). No one will stand trial, and the disgraceful perpetrators of this depravity will never be punished for the depredations they wrought.

That is the true embodiment of our American "leaders" - who govern not from a grand palace in the metaphorical city on the hill - but from a hovel in the deepest depths of Hell.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 5:57 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Because we have no obvious strategic interest in having a military presence in central asia except to people who think we should be at war with China.

Spoken like someone who time-traveled here from September 10, 2001.
posted by Xezlec at 5:58 PM on October 22, 2010


Where are the people deriding wikileaks as "just playing like a stupid spy novel" today?
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:59 PM on October 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


I repeat my question: what is President Obama supposed to do about the events of October 17, 2006.
posted by mark242 at 7:05 PM
Well, actually I have no idea what was supposed to have happened on 10/17/2006. So it's hard to say.
Not only are you comparing an apple to a hundred thousand acres of apple trees, there's this overriding, dangerous sentiment in this thread that Holder getting convictions somehow puts everything back in Pandora's box.
So what you're saying is that it's not OK to kill one person, but it is OK to kill 100,000 people? None of what you are saying is making sense. The purpose of a trial and punishment is not to correct prior actions, but rather to scare people so that they don't do the same thing again.
posted by delmoi at 6:02 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Spoken like someone who time-traveled here from September 10, 2001.

Oh yeah, 300 guys in caves are a real threat to America.
posted by delmoi at 6:02 PM on October 22, 2010


This all has me thinking about systems again.

I believe that its almost impossible to change a human system (like a school board or a country) from the inside. Furthermore, it becomes more impossible the longer the system has been around.

As parts of the system become obsolete, people fight like hell to keep those parts anyways (see the RIAA). If something in the system is impossibly broken, the system will sooner construct a more complicated thing to work around the broken part than to try and fix it.

There are systemic problems in the United States (and, to a certain extent, in every country) that have become so central to the way we do things that we can't address a very real and awful problem. To whit, if the reason we can't prosecute war crimes is because we're afraid that it will be politicized; that politics will trump facts; that it will lose elections; that the people can be manipulated by various monied interests to not only ignore the crimes but celebrate the criminals; then something about this system is impossibly broken.

If the political system we have, furthermore, prevents us from actually being able to fix this glaring problem, then the odds of us fixing the program from the inside are slim to none.

I'm not calling this a hopeless situation, but the amount of hope I have that the USA, as an institutional system, will be able to recognize that some of its members broke the law in its service and then be able to follow up and address these crimes appropriately is miniscule.

Unfortunately, the only way for true reform to take place is not just for the political and governing system of the USA to collapse, but for all of the other system that manipulate it to collapse as well. All at the same time and all under their own broken, ponderous weight.

As near as I can figure, this is the big argument about why one should vote Tea Party.

Man, I almost made it through that without snark. Damn.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:05 PM on October 22, 2010 [24 favorites]


I think we have valid strategic goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I just have not been convinced recently that we have a feasible plan to achieve them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:05 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


To this and people making similar statements, I don't think you're giving them enough credit for subtlety. I could be wrong, but I suspect that at some point in the chain of command, before it reaches the White House, there is an understanding that they are protecting the President by not reporting certain things to him. At that tier, they don't need orders for everything, because they can read between the lines.

Why? They don't feel like they were doing anything wrong. The man who testified that he didn't see any reason why the president couldn't order the genitals of a juvenile to be crushed in the interest of national security was rewarded with a federal judgeship...
posted by ennui.bz at 6:09 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Where are the people deriding wikileaks as "just playing like a stupid spy novel" today?


right here...but that supersedes the right to supress it, even if it is a crime.
posted by clavdivs at 6:18 PM on October 22, 2010


Where are the people deriding wikileaks as "just playing like a stupid spy novel" today?

I'm still here. Frankly they've put this out during the dump cycle. Playing games about Reston 5 when they should have been giving background to media prepping for a Monday morning megastory right before the markets opened with their big stories ready. Now the political impact will be muted because by Monday those with a vested interest in burying the story will be ready with their shiny objects so the 24 hour cable stations thar drive the new cycle can move on.
posted by humanfont at 6:20 PM on October 22, 2010


i would support the prosecution of bush, cheney, et al, but let's remember that obama was 3 days into office when he killed his first afghan child in an attack he personally ordered. do we prosecute him, too?

I don't know about that act specifically but I see no reason not to prosecute Obama just because he's merely a successor to the Bush administration.
posted by XMLicious at 6:23 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah, 300 guys in caves are a real threat to America.

You know, it's funny. I never thought about it before from a historical perspective. But, if you think about it, no single act better encapsulates the sharp divide between before and after like 9/11. And the sharp fall afterward… not just with the economy but also our relinquishing of civil rights, our citizenry's ineffectiveness… this is going to be the singular moment future civilizations will likely look back upon when they're teaching their kids about the fall of the American Republic.

But the really amazing thing I was just thinking was, from this perspective, Osama bin Ladin is going to be seen as a fucking genius. I mean, think about it: some dudes in a cave pulled this shit off? I have to wonder how much of this they predicted would happen and how much was just plain luck and how much was inevitable human nature. But man. Dudes in a fuckin' cave. What the Soviet Union couldn't do with hundreds of billions of dollars and nuclear weapons and armies and subs and all that shit, these dudes in a fuckin' cave are able to accomplish? That's just insane.

Afganistan is going to be, like, the fucking man in the future. Brought down both world superpowers in under two decades and didn't even have to invade them. That's, like, impossible. That can't be done. They're doing it.

It's so damned demoralizing to watch.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:24 PM on October 22, 2010 [31 favorites]


Playing games about Reston 5


A Wikileaks source who asks to remain anonymous now says that the organization’s XMPP server in Amsterdam, used to host its encrypted instant messaging communications, was compromised earlier this week by an unknown attacker, and the chat service had to be relocated to another server in Germany. “The server got attacked, hacked, and the private keys got out,” says the source. “We needed new private keys. Now it’s back online and secure.”


This is why they pushed it up. They aren't playing games, their freedom and the freedom of their associates is on the line.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:24 PM on October 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


How about getting the fuck out of Afghanistan?

Why?


Because ...the documents also reveal many previously unreported instances in which American soldiers killed civilians — at checkpoints, from helicopters, in operations. Such killings are a central reason Iraqis turned against the American presence in their country, a situation that is now being repeated in Afghanistan.
posted by serazin at 6:32 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Playing games about Reston 5 when they should have been giving background to media prepping for a Monday morning megastory right before the markets opened with their big stories ready.

Or they were attacked by a probable arm of the US security state ahead of the release. One or the other.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:33 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


And there is no long term benefit to staying in Afghanistan? I certainly can't defend every act of the US military, but I do believe that a US pullout would be disastrous. Perhaps I am naive, but I think there is something in Afghanistan worth fighting for.
posted by rosswald at 6:40 PM on October 22, 2010


There aren't going to be any prosecutions, except for a few hapless grunt fall guys. This sort of activity will continue until the sun supernovas.

What's the matter, the rough stuff making you a little nervous, empire boy?
posted by telstar at 6:45 PM on October 22, 2010


> Yeah, there was no torture in Iraq until we went there.

There was no torture directly approved by the US military in Iraq until we got there. See, in the first scenario, Iraqis want to kill Saddam Hussein. In the second scenario, Iraqis want to kill Americans.

This pretty much explains our problems in the middle east since 1953, and really wish someone could explain to me why this concept is eluding my fellow citizens.
posted by notion at 6:47 PM on October 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


Afganistan is going to be, like, the fucking man in the future. Brought down both world superpowers in under two decades and didn't even have to invade them. That's, like, impossible. That can't be done. They're doing it.

No. Afghanistan didn't bring down America. Neither did the Taliban. Or Bin Laden. All of the aforementioned are just straw men designed to grease the gears of the military industrial complex and continue the transfer of wealth to the ultra-wealthy. Afghanistan won't bring down America but the oligarchs will.

The Taliban is not your enemy. The Koch brothers, Monsanto and Bank of America are your enemies. They are what is indeed destroying America.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:13 PM on October 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


And there is no long term benefit to staying in Afghanistan? I certainly can't defend every act of the US military, but I do believe that a US pullout would be disastrous. Perhaps I am naive, but I think there is something in Afghanistan worth fighting for.

What? What exactly is worth fighting for? By no measure has life improved for Afghans since we started a war there. Not to mention, we have completely failed to "smoke out" our supposed enemies in Al Quieda there. Remember this guy named Osama Bin Ladin? Heard anything about him lately?

But don't listen to me. I'm just some shlub on the internet. Listen to these folks, or these folks, or read more here.
posted by serazin at 7:13 PM on October 22, 2010


Here is what I surmised so far, despite the pile on America reactions. Most of the killing of Iraqis was done by their own neighbors, not because of US presence, but in spite of it. Much of the destabilization and move to sectarianism was created by Iranian agents. When the US raised issues with the Iraqis regarding torture conducted by their own, nothing was done about it. Also those hikers imprisoned in Iran, well they were actually just hikers. Oh and they were captured by Iran in an illegal cross border kidnapping. The right wing propaganda machine run with this until they get their war with Iran. These will be the stories that Fox news will run with. Is Obama tough enough on Iran? Sarah Palin will be tweeting that for a black man he sure has a small dick and should man up. So thanks notion, your wikileaking buddies have now totally fucked our chance to wind things down.
posted by humanfont at 7:22 PM on October 22, 2010


Xezlec: "Spoken like someone who time-traveled here from September 10, 2001."

Because troops in the middle east are preventing terrorism now? The explicitly stated reason, from Osama bin Laden's lips to our ears, for the attacks was because of the US military presence in Saudi Arabia.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence that Bush stood in front of the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner just a few days after Rumsfeld announced that all troops were retreating from the country.
posted by mullingitover at 7:26 PM on October 22, 2010


Oh yeah, 300 guys in caves are a real threat to America.

As long as they're stuck in caves and don't have other resources, which they do, but hey, let's assume they're largely marginalized at the moment, so, probably not. But if they're an influential part of an Islamic nation-state like, say, one run by the Taliban, well, they're a bit more of a threat. And that's actually a better case scenario than another ready one we'll touch briefly before the end of my comment, see if you can spot it.

Because we acknowledge that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan

There's no purely military solution. But there's no solution of any kind that isn't going to involve further violence at this point, and it's not going to magically stabilize if we just leave, and we absolutely do have strategic interests there no matter what China thinks/does, if for no other reason (though there are a few others) than that a half-insane Pakistan has nukes to hand off to a few hundred guys in caves, not to mention the question of whether the "Pottery Barn Rule" applies and the fact that our reasons for going in there in the first place were as good as any, unlike Iraq.

As for the issue of resources and effectiveness, yeah, we're going to have to learn to manage better.
posted by namespan at 7:28 PM on October 22, 2010


"Let's look forward, not backward."

What the fuck is this treason?
posted by Sukiari at 7:33 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The explicitly stated reason, from Osama bin Laden's lips to our ears, for the attacks was because of the US military presence in Saudi Arabia.

Oh, yeah, let's just take OBL at face value. There would totally be no antipathy to the U.S. or any kind of terrorist activity directed towards Americans would just stop if we just didn't have even so much as a welcome military presence in any middle eastern country.

The Taliban is not your enemy. The Koch brothers, Monsanto and Bank of America are your enemies.

I don't see why I have to choose.
posted by namespan at 7:36 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many of these deaths are the result of military actions, vs. the bombing of public places by insurgents.

Looking at the table here derived from the Iraq Body Count database over the five year period after the invasion, it seems about 5% of civilians during died from air attacks, 23% from small arms fire (including mortar attacks), with either the coalition or the insurgents responsible, and 61% from insurgent/paramilitary activity (roadside and vehicle bombs, executions and suicide bombs). The cause of death of the remainder is presumably unknown.
posted by Marlinspike at 7:46 PM on October 22, 2010


"Let's look forward, not backward."

What the fuck is this treason?


(hands joe a gun in my hand)
posted by clavdivs at 7:46 PM on October 22, 2010


There would totally be no antipathy to the U.S. or any kind of terrorist activity directed towards Americans would just stop if we just didn't have even so much as a welcome military presence in any middle eastern country.

OK, I'll bite. Why exactly do we need to have a military presence in the ME? Other than imperial ambitions. I mean, Japan is (or was until recently) the second largest economy in the world, and heavily dependent on ME oil even, but somehow they avoided being the target of hatred from the ME. I don't know, but maybe if we didn't meddle in other countries internal affairs, if we didn't stage coups, or get in bed with dictators and undemocratic forces in the ME (and elsewhere), there would be no reason to have millions upon millions of ordinary people in the ME hate our guts. Seems to work for many other countries. Why can't we mind our own business? Why do we get involved in entangling alliances and neocolonial designs? Perhaps it would be cheaper, not to mention safer and on the right side of history and the moral high ground, to just be a fair and friendly... never mind, I see how this is all so very not real-politik. We've had such great results with our version of real-politik.
posted by VikingSword at 7:46 PM on October 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Releasing this information was the right thing to do, and I donated to wikileaks. I encourage you to do the same if you think they should be rewarded for their good deed.
posted by fuq at 7:52 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


And there is no long term benefit to staying in Afghanistan? I certainly can't defend every act of the US military, but I do believe that a US pullout would be disastrous. Perhaps I am naive, but I think there is something in Afghanistan worth fighting for.

Well kind of the point here is that fighting kills lots of innocent people. You'd think it would be obvious, but it isn't to many. War kills civilians. And the idea that we will stop future 9/11s by going into someone's country and killing 20 times as many innocent people as died on 9/11... maybe that doesn't quite stand up to reasonable thought.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:54 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here is what I surmised so far, despite the pile on America reactions. Most of the killing of Iraqis was done by their own neighbors, not because of US presence, but in spite of it. Much of the destabilization and move to sectarianism was created by Iranian agents.

Let's not forget the absurdly poor pre-war planning.
posted by Marlinspike at 7:59 PM on October 22, 2010


The New York Times Torture Euphemism Generator!
posted by homunculus at 8:08 PM on October 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


>The right wing propaganda machine run with this until they get their war with Iran. These will be the stories that Fox news will run with. Is Obama tough enough on Iran? Sarah Palin will be tweeting that for a black man he sure has a small dick and should man up. So thanks notion, your wikileaking buddies have now totally fucked our chance to wind things down.
I really, really, really find it strange that you are blaming WikiLeaks for the crimes of the US government, for US government foreign policy, and for the right wing political machine in the United States.

The war machine rolls on because no one speaks up about it. The press, as proved by these documents, have been spineless and reprehensibly silent, all to keep a paycheck. These leaks reflect poorly on our society because our society is currently ethically bankrupt.

Would we criticize the press in China for leaking the facts of the Tiananmen Square massacre? In what sad, fucked up universe does that make any sense at all?
posted by notion at 8:16 PM on October 22, 2010 [18 favorites]


Yeah, there was no torture in Iraq until we went there.

Good point; there was a regime that committed torture before the invasion, and the architects of that regime are also living freely, and mostly either retired to their cabins, or are teaching the next generation in law schools.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:18 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


VikingSword our military presence in the Middle East started in the late 1700s when the US Marines were repeatedly dispatched to the coast of Lybia to take on the Barbary pirates. These pirates were attacking our peaceful trading ships, taking hostages and demanding ransoms. Then one thing lead to another and it gets insanely complicated involving Britian, Russsia, the Otttomans, the Great Game politics of the mid 19th century, the Cold War and don't forget those enormous stockpiles of oil necessary to keep the western world afloat. Don't forget the maximal realist theory of foreign policy that has dominated the State Department and various think tanks as the basis for post cold war strategy. Also don't forget our humanitarian interventions in Somalia, Darfur and Lebanon.
posted by humanfont at 8:43 PM on October 22, 2010


Well, apparently Shirky's Principle is particularly pertinent when it comes to the military:

"Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution"
posted by Freen at 8:55 PM on October 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


>Then one thing lead to another and it gets insanely complicated
I don't believe starting from the Barbary pirates to get to the War on Terror is a serious way to see what's going on the Middle East. The United States had nothing to do with the Great Game, which basically ended when Germany started building railroads headed towards Baghdad, uniting Russia and Germany until the Revolution. This is also where we get WWI.
>the Cold War and don't forget those enormous stockpiles of oil necessary to keep the western world afloat.
These are, in my opinion, the only two reasons we care at all about the Middle East. It's not close enough to represent a military threat, not developed enough to represent an economic threat, and has a little value in it's proximity to the other four major world powers: India, Russia, China, and the EU. Were it not for oil and our boneheaded policy of containment, the Middle East might as well be Africa.

To pretend that we can't walk away is to pretend that we made the situation in Vietnam better by preventing their internal desires to form their own government. It's to pretend that we made Afghanistan better by destroying their marxist government and arming religious fundamentalists to the teeth and training them how to kill. Or, even more saliently, to pretend that killing a few hundred thousand Muslims and displacing millions more will bring stability to the region and prevent terrorism from becoming influential.

Even ignoring all of the important moral arguments, ask yourself this question: if you could manage to find one true terrorist and kill him without harming any nearby civilians, what are the chances that his martyrdom will only result in only one man to replace him? What are the chances it might turn in to two? Or ten? What if, instead of killing a terrorist, you killed a civilian? How many terrorists do we get per kill at that point, where no terrorist existed before?
posted by notion at 9:14 PM on October 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


*Gah. Uniting Russia and England until the revolution.
posted by notion at 9:15 PM on October 22, 2010


Oh, yeah, let's just take OBL at face value. There would totally be no antipathy to the U.S. or any kind of terrorist activity directed towards Americans would just stop if we just didn't have even so much as a welcome military presence in any middle eastern country.

The Middle just sent me a text... has he pissed you off? You didn't invite him to the Libertarian Clambake, and you're not returning his calls.
posted by Sebmojo at 9:16 PM on October 22, 2010


Why exactly do we need to have a military presence in the ME? Other than imperial ambitions.

Well, generally, the same reason why it's potentially useful to have a military bases with allies *anywhere* in the world: they're convenient points from which to project force and they're harder and more expensive to set up quickly once you really really need them.

But specifically, my understanding is that most of the presence in Saudia Arabia was Air Force bases used in the first gulf war and subsequently to enforce the post-war terms negotiated by the coalition and U.N. resolutions. I know there's some dispute about whether the first gulf war was more about U.S. business/self-interest or whether it was an issue of Kuwaiti sovereignty and international order, but personally, I think was plausibly enough of the later to not put this on the list of things people should hate the U.S. for (in fact, my recollection is that significant chunk of the Arab world was pretty pissed at Iraq). Keeping air forces in the rough theater of conflict for 10-15 years (and didn't most begin pulling out by 2003-ish?) -- particularly, again, on a negotiated basis with an ally -- also doesn't seem like something people should hate us for.

This is one of the reasons I think it's laughable to take OBL's statements about the Saudi presence at face value. Of all the things! I mean, the U.S. has done some really shitty things. He could have picked from staged coups or relationships with oppressive tyrants. But instead he picks a handful of airforce bases hosted by an ally for an action that ally was behind? Really, Osama?

I suspect the reason has a lot to do with the fact that his value system isn't really much like the humane one behind your idea of better behavior. Your larger point about whether we'd do well to try and piss people off less is a good one, but worrying about not upsetting OBL and other people who are similarly unreasonable or disingenuous about the things that antagonize them is probably not going to be productive.
posted by namespan at 9:18 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


400,000 articles? tl;dr
posted by empatterson at 9:46 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


>This is one of the reasons I think it's laughable to take OBL's statements about the Saudi presence at face value. Of all the things! I mean, the U.S. has done some really shitty things. He could have picked from staged coups or relationships with oppressive tyrants. But instead he picks a handful of airforce bases hosted by an ally for an action that ally was behind? Really, Osama?
Here's another good question: how upset are you by the transgression of the Eritrean invasion of Ethiopia? Unless you're Ethiopian, chances are you don't care.

True, Osama bin Laden is a madman who wants eternal war with the United States, because he thinks that it is God's will for him to fight that battle. But without some real grievances, bin Laden couldn't have recruited all of the men and money he now has at his disposal. Similarly, you would have a hard time raising a terrorist organization to payback Eritrea if your home was in Arkansas, but it's not a problem at all if you're in Ethiopia.

Even after we extricate ourself from these entangling alliances, one major hurdle remains. The key to complete success can be found on a comedy show: "Are you going to vote for peace? Or are you going to vote for war?"
posted by notion at 9:49 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


or are teaching the next generation in law schools.

Qusay is in Law school?
my, he has reformed.
posted by clavdivs at 10:20 PM on October 22, 2010


OBL wants what a lot of people in the middle east want--to unite the middle east under Islam and get the band (i.e. some flavor of the Ottoman Empire) back together. It was a major force for over six centuries and now the ME has been reduced to a pack of bickering children. It's a pretty safe bet that the west wants nothing like this to happen, and when you look its post-WWI policy through this lens it all makes a lot of sense.

So having just one victory, getting the US out of Saudi Arabia, was arguably a rational goal in this long-term strategy.
posted by mullingitover at 10:58 PM on October 22, 2010


Releasing this information was the right thing to do, and I donated to wikileaks. I encourage you to do the same if you think they should be rewarded for their good deed.

I have said this before, but they should really set up an anonymous cash drop address. I know I am not the only one not willing to send traceable electronic funds. To an organization that may someday be designated "terrorist".

I live in a country with warrantless wiretapping.

NOTE: I PROMISE I WILL NOT GIVE ANY MONEY TO WIKILEAKS. REALLY.

Seriously, if they had a snailmail address, they might, just *might* find a $20 or two show up. BUT NOT FROM ME.
posted by marble at 12:05 AM on October 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Okay I feel really stupid. I didn't look first. They do have a mail drop.

5. Via Postal Mail

You can post a donation via good old fashion postal mail to:

WikiLeaks
(or any suitable name likely to avoid interception in your country)
BOX 4080
Australia Post Office - University of Melbourne Branch
Victoria 3052
Australia


From their donations page.

STILL NOT GETTING ANYTHING FROM ME, ENEMIES OF FREEDOM!!!
posted by marble at 12:11 AM on October 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Taliban is not your enemy.

The Taliban would gut me like a fish for being an atheist, and they'd cheerfully chuck acid in my daughter's face for getting an education, or stone her to death if she decides to have sex when she gets older. They've been enthusiastic supporters of exporting those values outside their own country when given the chance.

Damn right they're my enemy.
posted by rodgerd at 12:18 AM on October 23, 2010 [12 favorites]


In reference to the previous cache of documents on wikileaks, it appears the supposed danger of reprisals was unfounded, at least according to the Guardian. In their article today they say,
"The whistleblowing activists say they have deleted all names from the documents that might result in reprisals. They were accused by the US military of possibly having "blood on their hands" over the previous Afghan release by redacting too few names. But the military recently conceded that no harm had been identified."
posted by serazin at 12:30 AM on October 23, 2010


As an Australian I will shit and piss all over our alliance with the USA until the day I shit and piss no more.

How?

Oh, posting angry comments online. Yeah, that'll do it.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:51 AM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


But the logs reveal that the coalition has a formal policy of ignoring such allegations. They record "no investigation is necessary" and simply pass reports to the same Iraqi units implicated in the violence....

A Pentagon spokesman told the New York Times this week that under its procedure, when reports of Iraqi abuse were received the US military "notifies the responsible government of Iraq agency or ministry for investigation and follow-up".

...

Condemning this fresh leak, however, the Pentagon said: "This security breach could very well get our troops and those they are fighting with killed. Our enemies will mine this information looking for insights into how we operate, cultivate sources and react in combat situations, even the capability of our equipment."
I have to wonder about these Pentagon spokespeople. How does their brain work, actually? How does one work as public servant, collect a paycheck in taxpayer money, and then spend ones time shoveling flat-out bullshit onto the public to prolong failing wars that a majority of people have opposed for years?

I wish just once, one of the high up guys would snap and strip naked and start screaming 'I am shiva, god of death', in public
posted by crayz at 12:58 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let's look forward, not backward.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:49 PM on October 22


Yes, I'm sure you'll say that when you or a loved one is the victim of a heinous crime too, right?
posted by Decani at 2:28 AM on October 23, 2010


Yeah, there was no torture in Iraq until we went there.
posted by Xezlec at 1:23 AM on October 23


Ooh, "two wrongs". You must be so proud.
posted by Decani at 2:30 AM on October 23, 2010



Yeah, there was no torture in Iraq until we went there.


Ooh, "two wrongs". You must be so proud.


Well, there were. Of course, women were in a better position, as were Christians, and there were fewer dead people all up. It's an amazing aspect of the invasion that the country is in a worse mess that in was under the rule of an often brutal dictator.
posted by rodgerd at 2:59 AM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't believe starting from the Barbary pirates to get to the War on Terror is a serious way to see what's going on the Middle East. The United States had nothing to do with the Great Game, which basically ended when Germany started building railroads headed towards Baghdad, uniting Russia and Germany until the Revolution. This is also where we get WWI.

Go and read Tournament of Shadows which details how the Great Game transitioned to the Soviets and the United States with tragic consequences for all.
posted by humanfont at 3:01 AM on October 23, 2010


It's an amazing aspect of the invasion that the country is in a worse mess that in was under the rule of an often brutal dictator.

i guess the U.S. decided that installing & supporting that brutal dictator wasn't punishment enough for the Iraqis...
posted by jammy at 4:11 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't see this leak as being such a big deal.

Ironmouth would have uncovered all of this with FOIA requests any day now.
posted by reynir at 4:41 AM on October 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


I believe that its almost impossible to change a human system (like a school board or a country) from the inside. Furthermore, it becomes more impossible the longer the system has been around.

That's the only place you can change it from. It just isn't easy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window
posted by gjc at 4:46 AM on October 23, 2010


Obama must investigate torture claims, says UN envoy Special Rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak.
posted by adamvasco at 5:12 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, I'm sure you'll say that when you or a loved one is the victim of a heinous crime too, right?

So much for subtlety...

"Obama Reluctant to Look Into Bush Programs" - In the clearest indication so far of his thinking on the issue, Mr. Obama said on the ABC News program "This Week With George Stephanopoulous" that there should be prosecutions if "somebody has blatantly broken the law"... Mr. Obama added that he also had "a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards."

I await mark242's triumphant Gotcha! that this is referring to the torture performed directly by the CIA - rather than the torture performed by the Iraqis at the CIA's behest. Which of course is like comparing an apple to a hundred thousand acres of apple trees.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:19 AM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


now i get it!

i remember Obama saying that now that you bring it up but i really didn't think of it when you originally posted it

maybe some quotation marks would've helped?

posted by jammy at 5:37 AM on October 23, 2010


The problem is that Obama could go after Bush and Cheney, but where does that leave us in the grand scheme of his strategy of getting us out of these conflicts without leaving a larger catastophe in the wake of withdrawal. Look at it this way he had 18 months until the midterms and after that the re-election campaign takes up more and more time. So in terms of governing time he has what a 9-10 month window. Figure 6 months from the post election time is wasted with the new house and senate. The 9-10 months of anything productive before it all goes away until the dust settles again. During those short time horizons he has to deal with coralling the DOD to give him a plan to end the wars, negotiate with factions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Undo a catastrophic Bush global fp that left our relations with Euope, Russia and China in prices. Deal with an economic collapse avoiding WWIII since this is how it ended the last time. Oh and don't forget getting the agenda through congress. So now having pulled these 80 hour shifts week after week, when will he get the time to do all the political work necessary to prosecute and investigate the last administration while get blasted by billionaires that he's too focused on W and not enough on the real problems of ordinary Americas.
posted by humanfont at 7:16 AM on October 23, 2010


if only he had, i don't know, people who worked for him?
posted by jammy at 7:59 AM on October 23, 2010


Wikileaks founder walks out of a CNN interview
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:10 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem is that Obama could go after Bush and Cheney, but where does that leave us in the grand scheme...

The problem is that Obama is violating the Geneva Convention by not prosecuting known acts of torture.

In other words, he is committing a federal crime.

Another problem is that his supporters claim that he is defending DADT in the courts only because the law requires him to. This proves otherwise.

Tell you what. I'll let Obama skip torture prosecutions if he'll stop fighting Judge Phillips' ruling.

Deal?
posted by Joe Beese at 9:08 AM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Interesting lighting choices. Did she ask any questions about Iraq?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:09 AM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why is the volume so one-sided in that clip? Why is he cast in red and her in soft white? Why does she focus on the tabloid stuff and not the crazy amount of detail the public now has on the Iraq War?

Fuck you CNN.
posted by graventy at 9:22 AM on October 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


Somebody had to take the babysitter home. Then I noticed she was
sitting on [splice] her sweet [splice] can. [splice] -- so I grab
her -- [splice] sweet can. [splice] Oh, just thinking about
[splice] her [splice] can [splice] I just wish I had the --
[splice] sweet [splice] sweet [splice] s-s-sweet [splice] can.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:28 AM on October 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Every death mapped
posted by Joe Beese at 9:59 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


When did Bush make his "There are no more rape rooms and torture chambers in Iraq" speech, btw?
posted by delmoi at 10:13 AM on October 23, 2010


Allegations of prisoner abuse by US troops after Abu Ghraib.
US troops fail to record civilian deaths in one of Iraq’s biggest battles.
United States troops were told not to investigate allegations of torture by Iraqi security force.
And more from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism - Iraq War Logs.
There is only one moral solution for this exhibition of Empire gone Mad - a full inquiry.
As taxpayers who live in a democracy you have a right to know what was done in your name.
You then have the onus of bringing to justice the criminals who encouraged and benefited from all of this.
posted by adamvasco at 10:24 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile in the present fiasco: -
The US military is mistreating detainees — and violating its own rules — at a secret prison in Afghanistan, a US think tank said Friday in a report. Tor Jail or Black Jail..
posted by adamvasco at 10:27 AM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is the volume so one-sided in that clip? Why is he cast in red and her in soft white? Why does she focus on the tabloid stuff and not the crazy amount of detail the public now has on the Iraq War?

Because CNN is terrible.
posted by homunculus at 10:55 AM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


[splice] sweet [splice] sweet [splice] s-s-sweet [splice] can.
posted by furiousxgeorge


[Voice over] "Dramatization, may not have actually happened."
posted by 445supermag at 11:19 AM on October 23, 2010


The problem is that Obama could go after Bush and Cheney

that is not a problem because he cannot nor will not.
posted by clavdivs at 11:31 AM on October 23, 2010


WikiLeaks v Washington: The latest leak of US military material will raise US pressure on Julian Assange and dissident soldier Bradley Manning
posted by homunculus at 11:46 AM on October 23, 2010


The problem is that Obama could go after Bush and Cheney
^ that is not a problem because he cannot nor will not.
Prosecuting an outlaw administration.
posted by adamvasco at 12:17 PM on October 23, 2010


So adamvasco and Joe Beese upon further investigation it appears that Obamas attorney General Eric Holder appointed a special prosecutor last year named John Durham to begin an investigation related to CIA detainee abuses. This prosecutor has powers to expand the probe as needed. So there you have it. Geneva Convention obligations met. Torture allegations under investigation by respected US Attourney who once prosecuted corruption between the Boston Mob and the FBI.
posted by humanfont at 12:47 PM on October 23, 2010


Help! I can't find the download link anywhere! Where's the torrent?
posted by kuatto at 1:09 PM on October 23, 2010


here it is!
posted by kuatto at 1:42 PM on October 23, 2010


Firedoglake thinks Congress may never know the results of John Durham’s investigation. So that all right then? Another case of obfuscation. More on the Latest DOJ Whitewash; also isn't Durham tainted?
humanfront why are you so frightened of the truth? Don't you think your fellow citizens have a right to know what was done in their name?
posted by adamvasco at 1:44 PM on October 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Holder appointed a special prosecutor last year named John Durham to begin an investigation related to CIA detainee abuses

From your link:

[Holder] shook off warnings from President Obama to avoid becoming mired in past controversies. ... Holder cautioned that the inquiry is far from a full-blown criminal investigation. ... [Durham is] a registered Republican... Holder selected Durham for the inquiry announced Monday in part because of his role as prosecutor in an ongoing investigation of the destruction of CIA videotapes in late 2005... That investigation is in its 19th month, though lawyers following the case have cast doubt on whether criminal charges will be filed.

To repeat for emphasis: Obama warned Holder not to investigate.

But nothing says an independent AG can't listen to some friendly advice, right?

If you think a Republican prosecutor who can't charge the CIA after what is now almost three years, who isn't even undertaking a full criminal investigation, whose work Obama wanted to prevent, is something to brag about, I don't know what to tell you.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:49 PM on October 23, 2010


Oh, and Congress may never know the results of John Durham’s investigation.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:57 PM on October 23, 2010


Damn it adamvasco.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:59 PM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have said this before, but they should really set up an anonymous cash drop address. I know I am not the only one not willing to send traceable electronic funds. To an organization that may someday be designated "terrorist".

I actually thought of this shortly after I donated. I haven't been able to find the words to express how upset I am that money=free speech only applies practically to large capitalist organizations and I'll be punished for my token expression of support because I believe information about the governments actions should be available to citizens. American democracy is completely fucking broken.

In a way, it is a terrorist organization, but in the same way that detectives and a court of law is a terrorist organization, people who are guilty of crimes are terrified that they will be held responsible for their actions.

As for me, I hope the people responsible are fucking terrified and can't sleep at night knowing that everyone has access to records of their misdeeds. Unfortunately, because of the way the power structure is constructed in our society, I guarantee no one responsible is a)scared of the consequences of their actions, and b) no one will be punished except for those who are acting to strengthen transparency in the government.
posted by fuq at 3:17 PM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The state looks increasingly like Brazil.
posted by stonepharisee at 3:49 PM on October 23, 2010


The smear campaign against Assange is in full gear, it seems.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:08 PM on October 23, 2010


It has been a little over a year since the investigation was broadened beyond the very narrow question of the destruction of the tapes. It took Fitzgerald two years to get through the investigation of the Plame leak and even then he was only able to get Libby for perjury. Armitage and Rove were able to skate and the investigation never got to Cheney or Bush. All you have are some adhominen attacks on the prosecutor and your own outrage. There is evidence with the wikileaks data, but do you know if this is admissible? How many of these warlogs are heresay? This is going to be a lengthy and complicated investigation that may take a decade to conclude.
posted by humanfont at 4:26 PM on October 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


We don't have to wait a decade; Obama is telling you with his own mouth that he's not doing it.
posted by gerryblog at 6:02 PM on October 23, 2010


when will he get the time to do all the political work necessary to prosecute and investigate the last administration while get blasted by billionaires that he's too focused on W and not enough on the real problems of ordinary Americas.

Humanfont has a point here. Yes, Obama can delegate, of course nobody expects him to handle all the mechanics - though it does take up time on his agenda. But there are significant difficulties as well which limit his power to act. Before going on, let me say that I absolutely think war crimes have taken place and must be investigated and prosecuted. I believe it's a necessity for the long-term security of the US and its allies, the internal stability of the US, and to advance the rule of law.

Invading Iraq in and of itself does not necessarily strike me as a war crime; I was against it from the beginning because I thought it was strategically unwise and that the likely costs far outweighed any possible advancements of America's interest. The fears of Iraqi WMDs never struck me as plausible, although Saddam Hussein practically wrote the script for them with his repeated hostility to inspections. We have to remember that the Iraqi dictator's own record of war crimes was long, well documented, and atrocious - and the Reagan administration's tacit endorsement of and financial support for it utterly egregious. If the US had properly followed up on the swift military victories against Iraq in either 1992 or 2003 by convening an international judicial tribunal and making serious efforts at nation-building, it might have been worth it.

But the ideologues who formed PNAC and their supporters in government have always suffered from a deadly lack of imagination: unable to define themselves independently of an enemy, their ultimate legacy is one of sterility and failure. Someone whose only tool is a hammer may see every problem as a nail, but you can do a lot of good with nails and a hammer. The only tool Nixon's political bastards' know is a crowbar. Cheney and Rumsfeld are bold and skillful military tacticians but abysmal strategists, reshaping Afghanistan and Iraq to fit the contours of their personal nightmares. That, to me, is where the exercise lost any legitimacy it might once have had and was degraded into a corrupt criminal enterprise.

Of course, we know this by the time of the 2008 election, and I think a lot of people expected Obama to launch investigations and prosecutions immediately. I didn't, not least because he made it clear even before the election that that would not be happening. Indeed, he has studiously avoided the free exercise of his & Holder's police powers since coming into office. No prosecutions for the war, very few following the financial crisis. Many argue that this makes him complicit in the military-financial abuses that have characterized this unhappy decade, though they began long before.

I do not think this is the case, but that domestic constraints force him to wait instead of dashing into a frontal attack, a strategic approach which people are not used to, whose outcome is unpredictable, and which has a significant, and rising, ongoing cost. Why: because a purge and prosecutions would have seriously risked a coup or worse. The country has been hyper-partisan for several years and is at a peak now; if the Obama administration had begun with widespread arrests the short-term gain in political capital would have had to be set against the risk of political instability, a danger whose probability and potential severity are widely underestimated. By 'wait' I do not mean 'do nothing,' but to delay attack until it has the best chance of success.

You will notice that while the administration has made a pro forma condemnation of the release, it has made no effort to deny or suppress the information, to have Assange arrested, or even to threaten retaliation. This does not stem from any incapacity on the USA's part; I think, rather, it suits Obama's goals to have the incriminating allegations made public by a third party, than to have them originate from within the administration, which would cause them to be denounced as fabrications. The disclosure, disapproval and discussion of the details (particularly those validating suspicions of Iran's support for insurgents) establishes the bona fides more effectively than the administration possibly could. The next 2-3 months will define the rest of the Obama's presidency.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:53 PM on October 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


gerryblog, Obama wouldn't be the one doing it any way. The US attorney leads the prosecution and directs the investigation. At most he can ask the AG to do something about it, but then he's politicizing the issue and undermining the legal case, if it ever goes to the jury. Just imagine the defense lawyer standing up there saying, "my client is the victim of a partisan witch hunt. This loyal CIA officer risked his life to keep you safe blah blah blah..." Then you'd have the circus of Obama being listed as a defense witness to show that this was all a witch hunt.
A prosecutor is in place and investigating. The guy has brought down a Republican governor and prosecuted FBI agents and Boston PD. He's by most accounts tough and skilled. He is investigating some of the most powerful people in government and politics.
posted by humanfont at 7:34 PM on October 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wikileaks reveals Americans found WMDs in Iraq and then concealed it.

Small quantities mostly and some labs, nothing on the scale of what would justify the invasion. Explaining this to most will be like explaining Al Gore's important role in the creation of the Internet. Also Iran trained insurgents to use chemical weapons on our troops. Here is a thought, some smart people in the DoD realized that the neocons could never see this stuff, because they would use it to compete their insane invade Iran plan. So they burried it.
posted by humanfont at 8:23 PM on October 23, 2010


Mustard gas, they found MUSTARD GAS. They didn't publicize it because we have fought a large scale military with access to mustard gas in WWI and it turns out it isn't a threat to the continental United States.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:57 PM on October 23, 2010


rosswald: yes, especially copper.
posted by 3mendo at 11:10 PM on October 23, 2010


I would like nothing more than to see any and everyone involved in the previous administration brought to account for their actions. And when Obama made his "let's look forward, not backward" proclamation, that definitely wasn't what I wanted to hear.

However, just looking at the sheer amount of crazy unleashed since his election, i shudder to think of the ramifications of him taking office and tossing the previous administration in jail. Meanwhile he's being faced with two ongoing wars, an economy in freefall (the repercussions of which were global, not just domestic) and an obstructionist opposition party, and deciding to toss the previous administration in jail. Yes, that would have gone over like gangbusters. The guy got hitler moustaches painted on him just for healthcare reform. He gives a back to school address, and lunatic parents make a fuss about forced indoctrinating into socialism. Attempting to close Guantanamo turned into "Obama wants to set terrorist free in your backyard". News outlets have serious discussions about polls showing a measurable percentage of the nations population think he's a "secret muslim". oh, and the batshit insane birthers? Yes, they definitely would be keeping their lunacy in check if only Dick Cheney was behind bars.

I can't see any way this administration could have taken on the type of investigations needed against the previous administration without it being the ONLY thing undertaken for the entirety of his term in office.

I don't say this to make excuses for any decision that has or hasn't been made. It's the job of the Administration to make really hard decision, and be accountable for the consequences. I just want to know how anyone thinks anything other than "let's look forward" could have resulted in any sort of sane or productive outcome?
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:51 AM on October 24, 2010


Why can't the US judicial department prosecute Blackwater? Cost to US taxpayer of Blackwater escorting US diplomats and convoys $450,000,000 plus; extra bonus over 14 incidents of civilian deaths. Accountability zero. No employee has ever been punished for killing a civilian. All I can take from this is that the US political administration past or present has no interest in justice being done or being seen to be done. And people wonder why so many outside America loath your crumbling, corrupt and morally bankrupt empire.
posted by adamvasco at 6:22 AM on October 24, 2010


I'm bothered by the Blackwater prosecutions (or the lack/failure thereof) but based on what I've read about them, the prosecutors are hamstrung by the way in which a lot of evidence was taken. There is some objective evidence--I know the FBI was looking at drone video surveillance evidence at one point--but if the US authorities in Iraq gave Blackwater people immunity in exchange for testimony, I can see why that evidence can't now be brought to court to convict those same people. I admit to wishing that my country was as scrupulous about fine points of law in other areas, but the principle remains that I prefer it when the government obeys the law.

Of course that doesn't mean we can't fire the folks who made the decision to offer immunity, and I'm disappointed in whoever was responsible for offering immunity and whoever hasn't fired them yet.

As for the broader question, I would love to see all the architects of the Iraq war brought to trial for war crimes and convicted. (I'd love to see Kissinger convicted of war crimes too.) I don't believe that this will happen in the end, but not because I think particularly ill of Obama or his administration. Instead I note that modern history has a habit of rewarding war criminals. Peek under the hood of any government that's been heavily involved in world politics, or had a domestic war of its own, and you'll find all sorts of war criminals who haven't been prosecuted and who have profited from their crimes. The sorts of truth and reconciliation committees we see in places like South Africa, or the efforts to document the fates of the desparicidos and reunite their children with surviving relatives in Argentina, are unfortunately the exception rather than the rule. It takes not just good leadership, but great leadership, to break that rule.

When I voted for Obama, I hoped he was that man. I no longer believe he is, whether it's because of his personal qualities or the situation (world economy, domestic politics, etc.) he faces. Even so, I support the effort to prosecute both Blackwater and parties in the US government responsible for abuses because I might just be wrong. It's better that we try to prosecute and not obtain the convictions we want than just let abusers walk away.

(I don't believe Obama can completely reform government and the US military to prevent further abuses either, unfortunately, but his record so far shows he's likely to have better luck with that than with prosecutions. I wish him and his appointees good luck with both.)
posted by immlass at 6:54 AM on October 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some more details on the ongoing investigations into Blackwater/Xe. Xe/Blackwater head leaves the US. An article mentioning the numerous ongoing inquiries, probes and indictments brought by the DOJ, civil lawsuits, and congressional investigations. Here is another article covering the difficulties bringing these prosecutions and how so far we are 0-3 at trial..
posted by humanfont at 7:57 AM on October 24, 2010


I'm pretty disgusted by the way that the US media has attacked Assange for being "creepy" or "imperious". This man is doing your jobs, you fat, flaccid, fuck-wits. You know journalism? Where you don't get embedded with the US military and, instead, actually show the truth of what your government does? I don't care how unhinged Assange is, he's the only person releasing this information.
posted by codacorolla at 8:40 AM on October 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Could Wikileaks leave Iraq without a Government?
posted by homunculus at 8:52 AM on October 24, 2010


does wikileaks have tanks?
posted by clavdivs at 9:13 AM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Nixonian henchmen of today: at the NYT
posted by homunculus at 10:39 AM on October 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Chinese activists plan to launch Wikileaks clone.

Activists had originally tried to team up with Wikileaks but decided to do their own thing after emails to the foundation bounced.
posted by humanfont at 3:49 PM on October 24, 2010


The Nixonian henchmen of today: at the NYT

I really don't understand the mentality at the NYT. They publish the war logs, but then publish an obvious smear piece alongside it. Is there some kind of editorial fight going on up on the top floor?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:51 PM on October 24, 2010


The whole world's gone McCarthy. At long last have we no sense of decency?
posted by Trochanter at 8:23 PM on October 24, 2010


I really don't understand the mentality at the NYT. They publish the war logs, but then publish an obvious smear piece alongside it. Is there some kind of editorial fight going on up on the top floor?

"Teach the controversy!" / "We tell both sides - you decide!"

It seems to be how American media operates these days.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:28 PM on October 24, 2010


I will say one thing, though. Assange should get out of the spotlight. Period. WikiLeaks doesn't need a "face."
posted by Trochanter at 8:39 PM on October 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Greenwald: The Daily Beast has an extraordinary article today by Ellen Knickmeyer, who was The Washington Post's Baghdad Chief during much of the war. The headline of the article is "WikiLeaks Exposes Rumsfeld's Lies," and she writes: "Thanks to Wikileaks, though, I now know the extent to which top American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world, as the Iraq mission exploded."
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:03 AM on October 25, 2010


Nick Clegg calls for investigation of abuse claims: Any suggestions that the rules of war have been broken or torture condoned are 'extremely serious', says deputy PM
posted by homunculus at 9:48 AM on October 25, 2010


Robert Fisk: The shaming of America
posted by adamvasco at 9:51 AM on October 25, 2010


Can Wikileaks Actually Make Americans Care About Iraq Again?
posted by homunculus at 12:43 PM on October 25, 2010


Humiliate, strip, threaten: UK military interrogation manuals discovered. Methods devised in secret in recent years may breach international law.
posted by adamvasco at 12:50 AM on October 26, 2010


In defense of Wikileaks
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on October 26, 2010


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