Thursday, January 13, 2005

Abu Ghraib kangaroo trial

WashingtonPost.com: Defense Rests in Abuse Court-Martial.

I feel sorry for the soldiers being prosecuted because of the Abu Ghraib incidents. They are being made scapegoats in order to prove something to the Muslims, like we really need to prove anything to them.

According to the testimony, senior military intelligence officers knew about and encouraged the behavior, but it's the soldiers following their orders being court-martialed.

I believe that the highest levels of military intelligence condoned these types of tough questioning tactics, and these tactics were taught at the top secret military intelligence training school at Fort Huachuca, AZ.

Furthermore, I don't understand why it's OK to drop bombs on the enemy and kill them, but it's suddenly a big violation of the rules of war to make them wear underwear belonging to the opposite sex.

14 comments:

mikeca said...

First of all, many of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib were in fact not the enemy. They were just innocent civilians who had gotten picked up in the confusion.

Secondly, they did a lot worse than make them wear underwear of the opposite sex.

But you are correct that the low ranking soldiers are being made scapegoats for what was probably a semi-official policy.

Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

The Nazis who gassed the Jews were just following orders, too. Does that make it OK for them to have murdered millions of people?

Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

Also, I'm curious, why do you call yourself "Libertarian" Girl instead of "Conservative" Girl or "Republican" Girl? I've yet to hear you actually express a Libertarian viewpoint (that does not happen to be shared by conservatives/Republicans). What makes you think you're a Libertarian?

Mexigogue said...

I started reading this blog because I thought I would find a lot in common with a self described libertarian. I was wrong. Here is the sad thing: I actually agree that the invasion of Iraq was better than starving them through sanctions, but your rational in defending torture is wrong.

Why is it not ok to humiliate the enemy? I've addressed this before in my blog http://www.donotremove.net/mexigogue/archives/002870.html but a recap would be that when enemy fighters are considering surrender but they know they will be treated inhumanely if captured, it makes them more likely to fight to the death. No problem unless it's your brother who gets capped when this enemy fighter takes a last stand rather than surrendering.

Charles said...

Unfortunately, nothing that happened in that prison constituted "torture" in any sort of normal, classic, sense of the word. Were the soldiers being investigated and tried stupid, should have known better, violating various U.S. rules, laws, regulations? Yes, they certainly did and the U.S. military was already on the road to taking care of it (probably slower than it should have been).

Is the "just following orders" defense ever justified? Not for illegal, immoral, or un-Constitutional actions (in the case of U.S. soldiers). I personally can't believe the idiot defense lawyer is even trying to use that one. The only doubt that guy can raise to the jury is if the soldiers thought they were following legal, proper orders - and things got out of hand. That might lessen their punishment, but not their guilty verdict.

Ummm, LG, that school at Fort Huachuca might have some secret classes or equipment on it, like every military installation in about every country in the world (that has an organized military), but the place isn't secret and the activities there aren't secret either.

Charles said...

Sorry, forgot this part. You know, part of being a Libertarian is being able to choose things you believe in and not accept the standard party line of the two polarizing political parties: liberal-democrat and conservative-republican. LG has shown a preference for less government interference (making large and intrusive government view people to not like her) and is a *gasp* athiest (making the *choking-laughing* theocracy people not like her also). So... what the heck is the deal, it's a blog, by an individual, who isn't toeing your particular strict doctrinal line. Relax and enjoy her blog! I do.

Mr. X said...

Unfortunately, nothing that happened in that prison constituted "torture" in any sort of normal, classic, sense of the word. Were the soldiers being investigated and tried stupid, should have known better, violating various U.S. rules, laws, regulations? Yes, they certainly did and the U.S. military was already on the road to taking care of it (probably slower than it should have been).Bullshit.

Just in case you forgot exactly what happened at Abu Gharaib, see here for a reminder. Do you continue to insist that that's not torture in the "normal, classic sense of the word?"

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...disgusted...

Charles said...

Yes yes, Mr X. Let's not confuse humiliation with torture. Slowly feeding someone who is still alive into a large industrial plastic shredder - that's torture. Beating their feet with a baseball bat, that's torture. Raping them (male or female) or making them watch the rape of their family members - that's torture.

Making them wear women's underwear - that's humiliation, but hardly on a level with the daily Saddam method of pulping innocent people for fun. Now, pyramiding them naked, stripping them, turning up the a/c, not allowing privacy, playing loud music - not torture. If you physically abuse them, at the very least that is illegal - and those soldiers should be tried in a court for that. And that physical abuse could escalate into torture, of course.

If you go check on what the Iraqis say, the worst day of what happened at the hands of the soldiers was much better than any day in Saddam's prison.

So tell me, you tackle a guy that you know has planted a bomb in the school where your kids go. Most current school policies require classrooms and kids to be locked down at a bomb threat until police arrive to escort kids out. It takes police 10 minutes to arrive. The bomb goes off in 5 minutes. How nice and comfortable are you going to make the bomber while you wait to see your kids killed in the blast?

The world does not play by the hoped-for rules of many how live in the "enlightened" First World. Hope you never visit any place where you won't be comfortable and pampered.

Mr. X said...

If you go check on what the Iraqis say, the worst day of what happened at the hands of the soldiers was much better than any day in Saddam's prison.That's your response? We're not as bad as Saddam Hussein? We're the fucking American people! I'd like to be able to say a little more about my country than, "Well, we're better than Saddam Hussein."

And did you actually click the link and look at those pictures? You really don't think that's torture?

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...getting sick...

Charles said...

Sorry, Mr X, I was trying to throw you an easy, soothing comparison, rather than a long winded explanation of the differences. Also, most people who are outraged about what happened don't have a point of reference to start with about what is torture and equate the routine questioning by U.S. police with how enemy prisoners should be handled, rather than understanding the differences. Your pictures need reference as well to put them in context. Are they from the prison? Did the soldiers on trial do it? If they didn't, and remember there were civilian USG and contractors there, that is not covered by U.S. military law (though the soldiers should have reported it). There is/was no real Iraqi law to deal with this and I doubt we would like to apply Saddam's law. So it boils down to a small group of soldiers out of control who are under investigation and prosecution for their acts. Things working normally. LG's point that those guys were let down by leaders in the unit and probably a climate that allowed things to be ignored is on target. Her question about why we would pander to the Muslims stands. This trial doesn't mean squat in the Middle East. Most of that country, and you aren't seeing it in the news, loves us for freeing them. They are still pretty scared of the islamofascists trying to throw out any ideas of democracy and return to a dictatorship, but this time dressed up as a brutal theocracy - instead of just a brutal personality cult.

Why aren't the non-Libertarian readers outraged about having a theocracy with the purpose of killing all infidels established in Iraq?

Charles said...

Oh, and the pictures, yep they are bad. No argument there. But about half are humiliation and mistreatment, not torture. The others are hard to say without context. The bleeding one, for example, could be "Hey look we just beat the crap out of this guy, and fixed up his wounds, and had to cut some clothes off him to check for other wounds." Or could be "look what his cellmates did to this guy for giving information." Just pictures makes for a pretty story, but no context.

Go check out the pictures of soldiers running into minefields to give first aid and carry out wounded Iraqi kids and adults. Go check the photos of Navy medics delivering babies because the Iraqi women don't trust Iraqi doctors. What army in the world, besides the U.S., U.K., Australians, maybe a couple others, would shoot someone and then immediately change the guy from enemy combatant to wounded non-combatant and try to save his life? Try to focus on the positive instead of walking around "...disgusted..." all the time.

Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

I think "Secular Republican Girl" would be a far better label.

I object to her calling herself a Libertarian because she is spreading misinformation about what Libertarians stand for. We have enough people thinking we're just a bunch of hyper-conservatives already, and she's just making it worse.

Steph said...

>I don't understand why it's OK to drop bombs on the enemy and kill them, but it's suddenly a big violation of the rules of war to make them wear underwear belonging to the opposite sex.

The most important reason is because our country likes to claim it has moral superiority (and, in some cases, God's consent) over the evil, secular Euroliberals, especially the worst of them, the *French*.

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