« shoe the children, with no shoes on their feet | Main | Michael Moore v. Matt Lauer (revised) (again) »

Of Protests, Prisons and Pessimism

Michael Totten reports that from Abu Ghraib - the ones that members of congress have seen - just might get Bush fired. Or perhaps Rumsfeld will resign. At least, those are Michael's predictions. To rehash my feelings on what happened at the prison, I'll just use these terms: horrible, disgusting, wrong and deserving of the strongest punishment. However, Hitchens calling it a Moral Chernobyl is a bit much. That said, I sincerely hope that it is not Abu Ghraib that loses the election for Bush. I don't worry about losing the war in Iraq. I don't think that will be the end scenario. While the transition to a new government will not be without hardships and battles, I believe that Iraq, in the end, will become a bright, new nation of hope. Things have not always gone well; in fact, a lot has gone wrong. But those things are the inevitabilities of war; death, destruction, mayhem. That they come during war does not make them any more acceptable, but in the great scheme of things, I would hope that we could look back on this war someday and see it as the beginning of a new Middle East. What I do worry about is Bush losing in November. While I am not comfortable with all of Bush's policies (see, gay marriage, faith-based initiatives, being too cozy with Saudi Arabia), I still believe that he is the one I want in office in times such as these. I think it would be a terrible thing for this country if Bush's defeat came at the hands of the soldiers who committed crimes in an Iraqi prison. I watched the ten o'clock news last night and the first thing they showed was the video of the American hostage in Saudi Arabia. Supposedly, the people brandishing their terror in the video are al Qaeda representatives. Say what you want about the lack of connection between AQ and Iraq before the war; at this stage, all terrorists are one and the same. All their actions revolve around two things: Iraq and bringing America down. The two have become interchangeable. Two halves of the same whole. What I don't get is this: There are many people (and some who consider themselves mainstream leftists) who continually say that these American contractors deserve what they get. Even though they are innocent of any wrongdoing, these anti-everything people will claim that the contractors are fair game. So when a terrorist holds a knife to the throat of one of those contractors and demands release of prisoners, or when the contractor is ultimately killed on video, the Iraq war detractors shrug their shoulders and move on. Yet, when terrorists and their supporters, suppliers and enablers are held in a prison during a time of war and they are tortured, the left world cries foul. I'm not saying that one is right and the other isn't; I'm just not sure why these people believe that prisoners of war have more right to life than an American contractor. And so it will be that the left's hammer point for the rest of the year, leading right up until November, will be Abu Ghraib. 9/11 will slowly drift into the background, as the MIHOP (made it happen on purpose) crowd has found another rallying cry. Never mind about grounded fighter jets and reading to children while the WTC burned. There are better things to fight Bush with now. Expect the placards: Iraqi children behind bars, crying. Slogans saying Bush is a torturer, or at least a torture supporter. Unless something else happens (Bush eats a baby for breakfast or pushes a grandma down the stairs), prison torture via the Bush administration will be the lead act in the protest pageant. Oh, there will be other acts, mostly the FREE kind. You know, Free Palestine, Free Mumia, Free organic butter with every bagel purchased. Make no mistake, the protestors will be out in full force at the Republican National Convention. And if the Abu Ghraib movies have been released in the media before then (let's put our bets on yes for that one), prison torture will be front and center. In fact, they are already including it in talking points. That's not to say that there won't be other acts in the pageant; where there are leftists actvisits, there are the FREE. You know, Free Palestine, Free Mumia, Free organic butter with every bagel purchased. Right now, there are people training, yes training, to be protesters and activists at the RNC in August. bq. As city officials weigh which protest groups will get permits for official events, activists are quietly learning how to block doorways or street intersections and when to use passive body language -- such as sitting down -- to disarm police officers trying to make an arrest.
Trainers say they aren't urging protesters to break the law. But arrests are inevitable, and protesters are also offering legal training. They are organizing the troops. Some will have a shout-in. Some will be blocking delegates from getting into the convention. They are ready to rock: bq. Four months away from the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden, activists are circling their welcome wagons, predicting “a battle for ground zero,” a “Burning Man festival for the city,” “a political disaster,” “a disciplined, organized protest,” “a culture war”—five days that are “part blackout, part Woodstock,” “worse than Miami,” “better than Seattle,” “our Chicago ’68.” Will these five days help push Bush out of office or spark a red-state backlash that cements his reelection? Either way, says 26-year-old activist Brandon Neubauer, “it’s already sort of legendary.” They are using imagery that evokes the ghosts of 1968. Oh, protesting is fine. It's the American way. Rise up, let your voice be heard. Man, will these voices be heard. New York City. RNC. You can bet it will be the protest heard 'round the world. And, if it all goes right in the eyes of the protesters, Abu Ghraib will be front and center. It's the perfect weapon to dehumanize the United States and its armed forces. It's a shouting point handed to them on a silver platter, right next to the fake turkey. It's going to make the people standing on the fence jump off into Kerry's yard. Hell, they may even run onto Nader's lawn. The point is, they will no longer be on the fence and they'll have jumped in any of the directions available except the one with the sign that says Bush. I think it's a dishonest way to gain votes for your side, but politics is not inherently honest. And these protests are a big part of politics. A politician may feign bemusement at a bunch of black-clad anarchists running down a NYC street and smashing windows, but as long as one of them is holding a sign that makes his opponent look bad, that politician will not bemoan the loss to the business with the now broken windows. It's ugly, that's for sure. But it's what politics have become. How bad can you make your opponent look? And how can you get other people to do your dirty work for you? Easy enough. They want to do the dirty work. You don't even have to ask. So they'll carry the signs and shout their slogans and block the entrances to Madison Square Garden. And while Bush is inside accepting his party's nomination to thunderous applause; while Iraqis are adjusting to a new, freer government, while kids in Afghanistan are reading new textbooks, while Saddam is in jail, while terror attacks are being thwarted, the protest kids will be out in the streets, making a fraction of the war the sum of its parts. 9/11/01 will not be an issue until 9/11/04, when for a day the protest will revert back to Bush Knew, Hijackers Flew or whatever the MIHOP theory of the day is. Then there will be two full months of torture images, prison images from Iraq showing how criminals and terrorists, participants in Saddam's regime and Sard's brigade, were treated. Nick Berg, the contractors whose bodies were on display in Fallujah, Paul Johnson, Scott Speicher, thousands of dead Kurds, the victims of the food for oil scam, none of them will enter the minds of the protesters. For the first time I am feeling that Bush could lose this election, and it will be not from 9/11 fallout, but from Abu Ghraib fallout. It will be a dishonest win for Kerry, through no fault of his own, should that happen. The left is loud. They know how to raise their voices and how to use the freedoms that America has given them. They know that the media, for the most part, is on their side. They only need the fence sitters to hear them. If what the fence sitters hear is America the Bad, America the Torturer, it will eventually make them jump. So how does Bush counter this? How does the GOP go up against the voice of the people? You would think that taking action and punishing those responsible for the events at Abu Grhaib would be enough. But it's not. Media makes it so. So not only does Bush and the GOP have to repair whatever damage Abu Ghraib has wrought on them. Which is hard to do when the damage isn't even complete. Pessimism rears its ugly head and I'm afraid that Michael Totten's second scenario seems all to probable.

Comments

If GW loses due to Abu Gharib it will also be because of our "mainstream" media that has become addicted to it, running mentions of it in everything from the front page to movie/theater reviews. Nevermind that it is the military itself that discovered it, that launched the investigations and have indicted the perps, that relieved the commanders ... Never mind that the prisoners are not POW's and are not covered by the 4th Geneva Convention ... nope, nevermind, turn away, this way to the egress...

Nick Berg? Didn't hardly make more that one 24 hour news cycle. The arrest of the Islamofascist who was going to bomb a mall in Ohio? Mention it in passing, and run more with the rants of the usual spittlespewers prattling about how GW hasn't done enough to counter terrorism (on even days, on odd days quote the same people talking about GW's admin shredding the Constitution).

From Rall to Wright to Gore to Uncle Teddy to even John "did you know I served in Vietnam" Kerry, the following seems apt to quote at this time:

The Hyenas

After the burial-parties leave
And the baffled kits had fled;
The wise hyenas come out at eve
To take account of our dead.

How he died and why he died
Troubles them not a whit.
They snout the buses and stones aside
And dig til they come to it.

They are only resolute they shall eat
That they and their mates may thrive,
And they know that the dead are safer meat
Than the weakest thing alive.

(For a goat may butt, and a worm may sting,
And a child will sometimes stand;
But a poor dead soldier of the king
Can never lift a hand.)

They whoop and hallow and scatter the dirt
Until their tushes white
Take good hold in the army shirt,
And tug the corpse to light,

And the pitiful face is shown again
For an instant ere they close;
But it is not discovered to living men --
Only to God and to those

Who, being soulless, are free from shame,
Whatever meat they may find.
Nor do they defile the dead man’s name—
That is reserved for his kind.

~~Rudyard Kipling

Why is everyone always trotting out the meme that Bush is totally in bed with Saudi Arabia?

We were in Saudia Arabia because of Iraq, and our presence is the excuse Usama Bin Laden used as a justification to attack us. Saudi Arabia isn't even our largest foreign oil source, Canada is (and for natural gas too which runs power plants and is a feedstock for making raw plastic).

Bill Clinton had 8 years to change this, Bush had 8 months before Sept. 11.

Bush took away the reason for us to be in Saudi Arabia by removing the Iraq threat. Our massive military base in Saudia Arabia is being decommissioned, our Saudi-based Mid-East command center was completely shutdown and moved to Qatar.

Bush was pushing for domestic oil exploration, and spent a ton of money on real alternative energy sources, not stupid windmills covering half the country. We are just a few years from fuel cell commercialization, no on ever talks about it because its not "green" enough.

Bill Clinton kept the status quo for 8 years (and got us mired in eastern europe and slaugtered in Africa) and he skates away from office as the greatest President ever.

Bush actually DOES something about the middle east and tries to get our oil needs met with our OWN sources and eventually replace that with real alt-fuel technology and he's the worst everything President ever.

I just don't get it.

Darleen - the prisoners in Abu Ghraib are not PoW's covered by the Third Geneva Convention. They are security detainees covered by the Fourth.

It doesn't help that people like Andrew Sullivan are conflating things like the official policies and what those hillbillies did. I don't think LTG Sanchez or Sec Rumsfeld wrote a memo that said "smack them bitches up, get them naked and stack them into pyramids."

But whatever.

Here is the thing about politics etc. Polling is of course about "if the election were held today." But it won't be. It will be in November. All the pessimism assumes that nothing changes between now and then, or gets worse.

The Democrats have been betting on that for the past year, and they have been losing that bet. It was going to be the economy again, stupid - now it isn't. It was going to be the Iraq war, now it isn't.

And now its going to be Abu Ghraib.

Okay, whatever.

No doubt something will occur between now and then and they'll have some new thing to be on about.

Re; Darleen's assertion:
"Never mind that the prisoners are not POW's and are not covered by the 4th Geneva Convention"

I would refer you to yesterday's press conference with Scott McClellan (captured on Josh Marshall's site:
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2004_06_13.php#003066)

MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, no, we made it very clear when it comes to Iraq that the Geneva Convention did apply.

I disagree with Michael Totten's read on two points. First, if Mr. Rumsfeld resigns it will not be to spend time with his family but to take responsibility for the failings that have happened. He strikes me to be a "buck stops here" sort of guy.

Second, I think there is only so much mileage anti-American media can get from Abu Ghraib. Whatever images remain may be shocking but I cannot believe they will be surprising. One sick side-effect of the wall to wall prison abuse coverage to which we have been subject is to diminish its importance through becoming desensitized to the underwear on head imagery.

I respect Mr. Hitchens and he is a brilliant writer. But he is wrong on this one.

See this is what I don't get. Once, in the 50's or 70's or whatever, the left used to stand for things -nice "isms" like civil rights, feminism, labour rights and consumer rights. I recall the left once had a dim view of Islam even.

But now they believe in nothing- except perhaps for nihilism and nostalgia. Not the benign sort of nostalgia typified by quoting old cartoons, but the twisted and sickly variety where people dream about replicating the violence of the past. If there is a re run of Chicago '68 it will be a half hearted re-enactment- no real rage, just going through the motions.

Theres no consciousness on the left, only robotic slogans and gestures. Why do they persist with that line about the war in Iraq being a diversion from the war on terror. They don't support either war- so why bother at all. Again they are just going through the motions.

I think Americans are going to turn their backs on the Sheeple people and vote Bush in November.

Once Americans witness the Sheeple people mob in NYC this August, tourism to NYC will become a thing of the past. Sheeples are going to bring the worlds greatest city to its' demise. No American will want to come here. Losing tourism in NYC means NYC will fade to red. Fading to red in NYC means death.

If Kerry does manage to manipulate his way into the White House it will be the Carter presidency all over again. Watch how NYC money makers will move out of the city, in droves. No money, no tax revenue, no tax revenue and the Sheeples will suffer.

Either way the Sheeples are fucked.

Paybacks a bitch.

Christopher--today's Left is very similar to the extreme, isolationist Right as it existed in the late '30s and early '40s. Parallels include not only opposition to a specific war, but: anti-Semitism. Conspiracy theory (a recent protest poster even referenced Freemasons.) Deep suspicion of finance and trade ("globalization").

There's a post about this at my blog.

What David Foster said.

Gosh, I'm glad I decided NOT to go to the convention now.

... and of course, anyone using any analogies to terrorism to describe the people intentionally paralyzing NYC this summer will be subject to immediate excoriation by the media. The extreme left gets to hide in the shadow of 9/11 as a result.

"I'm just not sure why these people believe that prisoners of war have more right to life than an American contractor."

Actually, take the phrase "I'm just not sure why" and the word "contractor" out of that sentence and it all becomes much clearer.

Athena's comment is already proving my point. The Sheeples push towards destroying tourism in NYC has begun.

Wait until after the convention is over, the results will be undeniable.

The Sheeples are fucked.

I think it's somewhat premature to say:

You would think that taking action and punishing those responsible for the events at Abu Ghraib would be enough.

So far, we've seen it passed off as "just seven crazy soldiers on one crazy night," even though that is contradicted by basically every single piece of evidence. We've seen a torrent of "it's not torture, just abuse" catcalls, which completely fail the laugh test and just gives the media another excuse to show the pictures and say "we report, you decide."

What we haven't seen is President Bush stand up and be a leader on this like he has on other issues. That's what makes it a weak point for him. He needs to come out and appoint an independant investigation (not a partisian witch hunt and not an excuser) to look at the role of the military and the role of the contractors. The CACI/Titan interogators were specifically exempted from any mention in the Teguba report and, as far as I know, are not under the UCMJ. JAG (apparently) doesn't have the authority and, given Ashcroft's performance in front of congress last week, he needs a polite but firm request "to spend more time with his family".

Can anyone confirm or deny the rumor that the interogators being paid by the Department of the Interior? The whole thing is a mess, and it really needs to be hit with some 10 billion watt daylight. 70-90% of the Abu Ghraib prisoners wrongfully picked up is another fun fact that one particular "side" of this issue just hates for you to know. The fact that this issue has "sides" is insane, by the way. The question for me is not "why are the liberals shouting so loud," it's why is there such a remarkable silence amoung the "non-liberals"? This is not a murky moral issue.

If you want to know why this is hurting President Bush so much, just read Darleen's post above. There has been a response on this issue from a particular segement which is basically "they deserved to get tortured, we didn't torture them, and even if we did torture them, it was legal anyway." These kind of multi-part weak denials for a journalist are like a red flag for a bull.

"Free organic butter with every bagel purchased."

Bagels? What are you, some kind of ZionistrightwingNazi?

If that was torture, than I must be way worse than Hitler for what I would do to them.
Sheeple? Do they eat the grass or?
In time I and others like me will if needed look after them too.

Tom C,

I'd love to hear your definition of torture that excludes sodemizing someone with an electric light (that's not the worst either). Don't hold back on our account, just lay it out there. Oh, and 70-90% of the inmates shouldn't have been picked up and that's according to figures from the Pentagon, not some leftist hippies.

Well actually, I would've enjoyed the protesters, I get a big kick out of watching idiots.

But it would've made me mad and that's why I'm glad I can't go.

Oh, boy, 1968 again.

Except a lot of people remember 1968, and a lot of people are tired of the whiners and hope their heads get bashed in.

Besides, when we really get a look at the crowd, I wonder what Americans will think?

There they go again?

The great unwashed?

Clueless moonbats?

If the U.S. has to resort to torture to defeat terrorism, then the terrorists win. It's that simple.

What's been leaked suggests that the Administration approved the acts, looked the other way, and hid behind legal technicalities to allow the acts to occur. What happened is immoral.

And the argument that the DOD was taking care of things is bullshit. The leaks were of Classified reports. The photos were in their hands. This wasn't blackmail, it was whistleblowing.

And someone's gonna have to clock out.

"If the U.S. has to resort to torture to defeat terrorism, then the terrorists win."

So, if we defeat terrorism this way, terrorism is not defeated? Wha?

Defeat is defeat, even if we include torture as a means to that end.

If you're saying that our use of torture to defeat terrorism will injure our place in the world so much that we no longer have any say in how matters are resolved, that's something I might agree with (with more evidence and debate, of course).

But saying that defeat is victory (or vice-versa) invokes a bit of George, to me. No, that other George.

I didn't say that defeating terrorism via torture would result in a terrorist win. If we win, we win. I said that resorting to torture while attempting to defeat terrorism will not work. And if we don't win, they do.

We haven't kidnapped and beheaded anyone, but we did capture and shoot a few following some torture. Or did those nasty contractors do that? Can I see the contracts? What sickos bid for those jobs? Did the dead get shot trying to flee? And whom were they fleeing? If it was contractors, don't they have no legal standing to keep prisoners? This whole Geneva Convention/no Geneva Convention thing is biting us on the ass, here. It's turning a serious war into a legal farce, and it's not the media's creation. Is the dead guy a former prisoner or an enemy combatant? Only days until an official brings up that it depends on what the definition of "is" is.

Until I hear otherwise (and see documents to back it up), I'm going to assume that Bush supported the activity and only apologized when he got caught. And he needs to tell everyone supporting and trying to excuse the actions that they should stop excusing the inexcusable. Either the torture was okay or it wasn't. Either it was policy or it wasn't. Isn't the other guy supposed to be the flip-flopper? That other guy is going to be the winner if Bush can't show some integrity.

Until I hear otherwise (and see documents to back it up), I'm going to assume that Bush supported the activity and only apologized when he got caught.

How fair-minded of you. You and the torturers seem to find yourselves in agreement regarding the presumption of innocence.

I wasn't very careful in my wording: I want to see the Justice Department and Department of Defense memos that purportedly decided what is and isn't an allowable interrogation technique.

As for the presumption of innocence, the Administration refuses to release those memos. I guess if they don't want to defend their actions, then the public relations trial will go on without them. So far, we saw torture and murder and some low-level prosecutions. We saw apologies. We saw public displays of remorse. Now comes the PR trial discovery phase, and the Administration cries "Privilege!"

I'm fair-minded, but I just don't trust those guys. They leak what's handy, stamp "classified" on leaks of the wrong things, and argue for privilege when all else fails. There's so much spin that the force is moving the North Pole to the District.

Abu Ghraib is just the latest Quagmire! Nobody is going to be able to stay outraged by this for another 5 months, no matter how far the media blow it out of proportion.

Kerry got his 10-day break. Now he has to show in public every day for 5 months. Experience has shown that the more he appears in public, the worse his ratings are. I don't think he's going to wear well.

Yes, a lot of people are unhappy with the President for one reason or another. But I just cannot believe that a majority of my fellow Americans are going to be able to go in a voting booth and actually vote FOR John F. Kerry. They're not going to be able to do it. They have too much integrity for that.

Have a little faith. :)

Except a lot of people remember 1968, and a lot of people are tired of the whiners and hope their heads get bashed in.

Last night TNT showed a Lawn Order from several years ago (Chris Noth was still on it).

The episode involved a student radical from 1971 who'd taken part in a robbery (strikin' a blow against the Man!) in which a cop was killed. She'd been on the lam for more than 20 years and was now a suburban mom. That magical time, the Sixties, is much discussed and plays a big part in the plot.

In the end the woman cops a plea and gets (something like) eight years. At the end, prosecutor McCoy says, "She won't be out until 2003. The Sixties ought to be over by then."

If only.

Wasn't Sanchez removed, jon?

I'm not worried Michele. Those idiotic protestors are worth $100 million in campaign contributions to Bush for President. One of the things I delight in doing at Kerry Haters is to post a picture of some grungy demonstrators at a protest with a simple comment: They'll Be Voting for Kerry. Is it fair? No, probably quite a few of them won't vote and some of them will be voting for Nader or the CP-USA candidate.

The message will be clear to those watching on TV--the grungy college kids, the black bloc, the people with the absurd puppets, and the guy with the stilts all don't like Bush, ergo they must like Kerry. And those folks sure as shooting don't look like me. Humphrey was able to hold his own in 1968 because they were protesting him; when they protested Nixon in 1972, McGovern went down in flames.

Hate never wins elections. In my lifetime there have been three presidents who ran for re-election who were absolutely despised by their opponents: Nixon, Reagan and Clinton. All won fairly easily; Bush will be the fourth.

Yes, Sanchez was removed. But did he write the policies? Was he derelict in his duty, or was he following policy? Who decided the policies?

There are many more questions to ask, but the man supposedly in charge isn't going after any answers. Whether that is because he believes in the DOD's processes (which might be a reasonable position if not for the fact that torture and murder occurred under their noses) or doesn't want to know is up for him to prove. This is a leadership issue, and Bush is failing miserably.

Is it true that those guys in Abu Ghraib were selected for this torture because they had just raped a young man imprisoned there? Or were they chosen at random, or for some other reason? It's not an excuse for what was done to them, but it might provide a little context.

I suspect that treatment in an American prison might not be too much better, and that one of the reasons the sadistic gaurds behaved that way is because that is how they usually behave in the worst US prisons.

I think that one reason that threatening prisoners with dogs in Abu Ghraib constitutes torture is that, in this same prison, Saddam used to feed his prisoners to dogs - alive (well, according to the NY Post). That much fear would be torture. Although, I must admit, I'd rather be scared by a dog than eaten by one.

It seems odd to me that information about the torture was uncovered by the military, prosecuted by the military, released to the public, and then blamed on the administration.

As you might realize from the words 'suspect', 'reason', 'seems odd', and 'think' in the prior paragraph, I don't believe I've been getting the whole story from the media. Part of that is because I'm lazy, and part of that is because I avoid reading about horrible things. I usually just try to get enough info to decide Good Thing or Bad Thing and let it go from there - even when both sides are on the good/bad devide.

Mass graves & dismemberment = Bad.

Childrens prisons = Bad.

Freedom & not being killed = Good.

Getting rid of the horror that was Saddam was a Good Thing, but some of what has happened since is a Bad Thing. Yes, my morality is very simplistic. However, in pursuit of a stratigic Good Thing, when less than .01% of the invading force are proved to be evil, how come that is the fault of the President?

David D,

The prisoners who were tortured at Abu Gharib were chosen from cell blocks 1a and 1b (which were, in theory, suspected terrorists in one block and trouble makers in the other block). However, the bookkeeping was very lax and the prison was overcrowded, so there was some random co-mingling with the general prison population (read the Teguba report). There were prisoners bitten by dogs, not just "scared".

It seems odd to me that information about the torture was uncovered by the military, prosecuted by the military, released to the public, and then blamed on the administration.

Your description of the chain of events is very questionable ... I propose this alternative:

1) The abuse was discovered by the Red Cross in November and reported to the military.
2) It was mostly ignored until they sent General Teguba to write a report in January. They also made a tiny bulletpoint press release basically saying that someone has been sent to Abu Gharib to write a report about prison abuse.
3) Then, a whole lot of nothing.
4) Then the TV news guys get some photos. They check with the army and get told to hold the story.
5) Then, a whole lot of nothing.
6) Then the guys with the photos find out the New Yorker is going to scoop them with an indepth report on the whole situation. The TV says "that's the excuse we've been looking for" and releases like crazy.
7) The kicker: President Bush and Congress both first hear about it by seeing it on TV.
8) After all this, then prosecutions of the lowest level start. Some of the mid-level guys are relieved of duty and accusations start flying everywhere. This is where we are today.

If everything was working smoothly and things were being done correctly, things would have gone in the order you suggested. The military should have followed up on the Red Cross report immediately, and the Office of the President, the Department of Defense, the State Department, and at, minimum, the oversight committees from both the House and Senate should have been fully briefed long before anyone had a chance to break this on the evening news. Even if there was a breakdown in communication after the Teguba report, the briefing should have been triggered when the Pentagon asked the news channels to hold the story.

Now, I'm not saying this is the fault of President Bush or even Secretary Rumsfeld. It's also clear that this is not strictly the independent behavior of a couple bad apples in our army. You just don't get enough pictures and film for a 3 hour capital hill peep show without, at minimum, silent approval from fairly high up the chain. Until that high level laundry is aired out, it's going to continue to be a "perfect storm" for the Democrats. Also, the interrogators at the prison were contractors who are not subject to UCMJ (the Teguba report makes it clear that he was ordered to only look at the actions of the military).

Okay, I've effin' had it with the Abu Ghraib shit and calls to defeat Bush or force Rumsfeld to resign over it. What I want to know is why not ONE person here questioned the veracity and capability of a certain Brigadier General Janet Karpinski, who was in charge of the whole fuckin' system!

In December there was a nice little puff piece on Karpinski in the St. Pete Times. She was in charge of the whole prison system, and responsible for the National Guard and Army reservists, who were the ones doing the alleged "torturing" in the pictures. Here's a feel-good quote from that piece: "I love my soldiers," she says. "When I ask if there's a problem or I hear of a problem, I make every effort to resolve it, and if I can't, I tell them why I can't or why the system can't. There's no lip service."

Bull-friggin-shit. One of the soldiers under her command claims he tried to reveal the "abuse" and was ignored. By whom? "Caring" Karpinski who claims she made "..every effort to resolve [problems]?"

So where is this "lone woman" everyone applauded when she was in charge? Whining to the BBC that "…she knew nothing of the humiliation and torture of Iraq prisoners that was going on inside Abu Ghraib - she was made a scapegoat." It was General Sanchez's problem, not hers.

Earth to Karpinski. YOU were in charge!!

What a fuckin' bitch! I want to see her plunked down on her fat ass in front of a Senate committee to be grilled "toasty brown" over her monumental failures before I read about one more Saddam-loving kiss-up calling for Rumsfeld's head!

Soli -

You're the one with the alternate history. People like you like to go around and say that the "Red Cross report revealed all this and it was ignored."

But that isn't true. The International Red Cross report did not reveal the abuses that are shown in the photos that have caused such a stir. The Red Cross reported things in February that the military had been investigating since January (by the way, that report says that previous attempts by the ICRC to bring conditions to the attention of Coalition Forces did result in some improvements, so it is incorrect to say it was ignored). The military became aware because a soldier saw the photos and reported them.

The photos came to light not because of some really good investigation by the newsies, but because the lawyers of the people who were being investigated and prosecuted released them through COL David Hackworth, whose wife is a consultant to CBS news.

They did this, they claim, because the military refused to take their explanation that ill treatment shown in those photos was ordered from the top.

These guys did it to discredit the military and the prosecution of them, not to "defend their honor" as Andrew Sullivan, for example, has suggested.

CBS did not sit on these photos for any amount of time, and rejected a call from the Pentagon to do so.

Get a grip people. In the big picture the Iraqi prison torture scandal is nothing. Worse things happen in the prisons located in your own backyards, as well as in centers of civilization like France and North Korea. Where is the whining and outrage there? The selective nature of your outrage gives rise to cynicism about your sincerity.

God save us from the chicken-Ghandi's, and their backseat-driver saintliness.

I'm a reporter for a paper in NYC. I'm also a war supporter. That makes me the proverbial army of one.

a few musings...
any editor on earth would have run those photos. I would have. I would laugh.out.loud. at any Pentagon flack who called ma and asked to hold off on not running them.

Moral Chernobyl....no. Torture happens in war. All wars. That said, I get the feeling that these pictures are the sum of all evil. Hitch is right--we'll have to stop using words like abuse, and use words like murder.

Americans will not vote Bush out based on Abu Graib. To assert otherwise is absurd.

If Bush loses, it will because of the broadly assine conduct of the war--a war I beleive 100% in by the way--just read Robert Kaplan's essay in this month's Atlantic.

135,000 troops? I hope the relatives of our dead servicemen piss on Rummy's grave.

Then ther's the little matter of Iran...oh yeah, Bush is up for that.....

Ah, yes, 1968. The left managed to get Richard Nixon elected. I'm sure they're still proud of that.

blster, brad: you sure shut darleen up. well done.

Blaster,

You're the one with the alternate history. People like you like to go around and say that the "Red Cross report revealed all this and it was ignored." But that isn't true. The International Red Cross report did not reveal the abuses that are shown in the photos that have caused such a stir. The Red Cross reported things in February that the military had been investigating since January (by the way, that report says that previous attempts by the ICRC to bring conditions to the attention of Coalition Forces did result in some improvements, so it is incorrect to say it was ignored). The military became aware because a soldier saw the photos and reported them.

ICRC statement on report. The key section to look for: "It is important to understand that this report represents the summary of concerns that were regularly brought to the attention of the CF throughout 2003." Since the report summarizes the ICRC recommendations up until November 2003, I think it's fair to say the army had the information at that time. You are correct that the formal summary was not delivered until February 2004, but it does not make the point you claim. They started an investigation when they realized there were photos as brought to their attention by a soldier? I'll buy that. Again, I don't think it really makes the point you seem to think (notice: policy change 1 - stop the torture, policy change 2 - no more cameras).

While I have not read the ICRC report, as it is confidential (although I understand I could probably find it on the net somewhere), several people who have read it confirmed that it does contain descriptions of holding prisoners nude, various abuse that could be described as torture under some definitions, and at least one fatal beating. I never meant to imply that the ICRC discovered "everything". In fact, I don't think anywhere near everything has been discovered to this day. They did discover a wide pattern of abuse, and it did not trigger this investigation.

The photos came to light not because of some really good investigation by the newsies, but because the lawyers of the people who were being investigated and prosecuted released them through COL David Hackworth, whose wife is a consultant to CBS news.

They did this, they claim, because the military refused to take their explanation that ill treatment shown in those photos was ordered from the top.

These guys did it to discredit the military and the prosecution of them, not to "defend their honor" as Andrew Sullivan, for example, has suggested.

I don't care how or why they got them. Blame the messanger! The intentions of CBS news are completely irrelevent to my point. Since you seem to want to generalize about "people like" me, I'll give you one for free: people like me do not care about the motives of a source that is providing accurate information. I think we both agree they did not doctor the photos. I will not disagree with anything bad you care to say about CBS, I'm not a fan of theirs.

CBS did not sit on these photos for any amount of time, and rejected a call from the Pentagon to do so.

Okay, I heard they did hold it, but I'll concede that point since what you're willing to acknowledge here is bad enough. The fact that the President and Congress were not briefed, yet someone senior at the Pentagon knows enough about the situation to ask CBS to hold a story? Don't you get it? This means things are officially FUBAR. They should have been briefed in January, which is the first failure. The fact that they weren't briefed even after the Pentagon knew that CBS was running this story is a travesty.

In any case, your charge of "revisionist history" does not hold up well against the facts.

If Rumsfeld were a Buck Stops Here kind of guy, he would have resigned a year ago, at least.

What gets me is no one here sees the moral corruption of the GOP. Bush is a bully, an intellectually lazy man who made a Faustian bargain to be president.

Protests at the RNC? Damn straight. The wheels are coming off of the administration, as its lies are finally being revealed. Liberal Media, my ass. If a Democrat had tried the shit Bush got away with, they would have eaten him or her alive.

When Bush is voted out of office this November, it will be a proud day for the American People. We will have a leader who will LEAD us in the war on terror, not getting sidetracked by personal vendettas.

We will have a president who thinks, who has actually served his country in war, and who understands the weight of his decisions on others.

Not this bozo currently appointed president by a whopping 100% of the black vote.

Soli,
It was my understanding that those folks in that cell block had our blood on their hands.
It is also my understanding that we the infidals are to be killed or converted.
If left to me I see no rehab potential
for that whole section of society.
As for the sodomy with a light.
How big was it? Were any parts cut off?
See Nick Berg, Dan Pearl.....
And did the one forced to watch talk?
War is hell, and this is a war.
We just don't agree on who the enemy is and what to do about it.

Tom C,

It was my understanding that those folks in that cell block had our blood on their hands.

70%-90% should not have been there according to figures from our military. If they all were killing us, then why are we just letting so many of them go?

It is also my understanding that we the infidals are to be killed or converted.

That is what Saudi Arabia teachs in their schools. I believe the resistance in Iraq mostly just want to get us out of their country so they can commence with ethnic cleansing and totalitarian dicatorship. There are probably at least some people in Abu Gharib who follow one or the other of these visions. That doesn't give us moral license to torture them, and it certainly doesn't give us moral license to torture the 70-90% who shouldn't be there in the first place.

Are we as bad as the evil people who execute Jews? No. Is that a reasonable standard to differentiate between right and wrong? No, that bar is too low.

We just don't agree on who the enemy is and what to do about it.

I think the enemy is the facist/terrorist alliance that is attacking freedom-loving people in Iraq and across the world. I think we should continue to capture or kill them in the most effective way we can until we win. Running the prisons in Iraq in a manner which maximizes al Qaeda recruitment and minimizes our international support is no part of that.

I'm afraid that I speak from experience
when I say that to stop them you must do to them something far worse than death. That is what Saudi Arabia teachs in their schools.
I believe that they teach that in Pakistan as well. 70%-90% should not have been there according to figures from our military.
Not in that cell block.
Are we as bad as the evil people who execute Jews? If we want to be left alone, we must hit them where they fear to be hit. It's kinda like the school bully. I can tell you that he didn't go away just because I hit him.
I had to make him fear me. I wouldn't kill them, unles it was all of them.
I would however, send them back to their own in a near vegatative state.
No I don't want to be as bad as them.
But I will do what I must.