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A very long report

Here is the answer to my question in the final paragraph of my earlier post about the treatement of Iraqi detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison:

On 31 January 2004, the Commander, CFLCC, appointed MG Antonio M. Taguba, Deputy Commanding General Support, CFLCC, to conduct this investigation. MG Taguba was directed to conduct an informal investigation under AR 15-6 into the 800th MP Brigade’s detention and internment operations. Specifically, MG Taguba was tasked to:

a. (U)Inquire into all the facts and circumstances surrounding recent allegations of detainee abuse, specifically allegations of maltreatment at the Abu Ghraib Prison (Baghdad Central Confinement Facility (BCCF));
b. (U) Inquire into detainee escapes and accountability lapses as reported by CJTF-7, specifically allegations concerning these events at the Abu Ghraib Prison;
c. (U) Investigate the training, standards, employment, command policies, internal procedures, and command climate in the 800th MP Brigade, as appropriate;
d. (U) Make specific findings of fact concerning all aspects of the investigation, and make any recommendations for corrective action, as appropriate. (ANNEX 4)

These were the findings:

(U) The US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), led by COL Jerry Mocello, and a team of highly trained professional agents have done a superb job of investigating several complex and extremely disturbing incidents of detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib Prison. They conducted over 50 interviews of witnesses, potential criminal suspects, and detainees. They also uncovered numerous photos and videos portraying in graphic detail detainee abuse by Military Police personnel on numerous occasions from October to December 2003. Several potential suspects rendered full and complete confessions regarding their personal involvement and the involvement of fellow Soldiers in this abuse. Several potential suspects invoked their rights under Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. (ANNEX 25)


(S) That between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force (372nd Military Police Company, 320th Military Police Battalion, 800th MP Brigade), in Tier (section) 1-A of the Abu Ghraib Prison (BCCF). The allegations of abuse were substantiated by detailed witness statements (ANNEX 26) and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence. Due to the extremely sensitive nature of these photographs and videos, the ongoing CID investigation, and the potential for the criminal prosecution of several suspects, the photographic evidence is not included in the body of my investigation. The pictures and videos are available from the Criminal Investigative Command and the CTJF-7 prosecution team. In addition to the aforementioned crimes, there were also abuses committed by members of the 325th MI Battalion, 205th MI Brigade, and Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center (JIDC). Specifically, on 24 November 2003, SPC Luciana
Spencer, 205th MI Brigade, sought to degrade a detainee by having him strip and returned to cell naked. (ANNEXES 26 and 53)

  1. (S) I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:
    a. (S) Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;
    b. (S) Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;
    c. (S) Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for
    photographing;
    d. (S) Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;
    e. (S) Forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear;
    f. (S) Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being
    photographed and videotaped;
    g. (S) Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;
    h. (S) Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture;
    i. (S) Writing “I am a Rapest” (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked;
    j. (S) Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a
    female Soldier pose for a picture;
    k. (S) A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee;
    l. (S) Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten
    detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee;
    m. (S) Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.(ANNEXES 25 and 26)
  2. (U) These findings are amply supported by written confessions provided by several of the suspects, written statements provided by detainees, and witness statements. In reaching my findings, I have carefully considered the pre-existing statements of the following witnesses and suspects (ANNEX 26):
    a. (U) SPC Jeremy Sivits, 372nd MP Company – Suspect
    b. (U) SPC Sabrina Harman, 372nd MP Company – Suspect
    c. (U) SGT Javal S. Davis, 372nd MP Company – Suspect
    c. (U) PFC Lynndie R. England, 372nd MP Company – Suspect
    d. (U) Adel Nakhla, Civilian Translator, Titan Corp., Assigned to the 205th MI
    Brigade- Suspect
    e. (U) SPC Joseph M. Darby, 372nd MP Company
    f. (U) SGT Neil A. Wallin, 109th Area Support Medical Battalion
    g (U) SGT Samuel Jefferson Provance, 302nd MI Battalion
    h (U) Torin S. Nelson, Contractor, Titan Corp., Assigned to the 205th MI Brigade
    j. (U) CPL Matthew Scott Bolanger, 372nd MP Company
    k. (U) SPC Mathew C. Wisdom, 372nd MP Company
    l. (U) SSG Reuben R. Layton, Medic, 109th Medical Detachment
    m. (U) SPC John V. Polak, 229th MP Company
  3. (U) In addition, several detainees also described the following acts of abuse, which under the circumstances, I find credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses (ANNEX 26):
    a. (U) Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;
    b. (U) Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol;
    c. (U) Pouring cold water on naked detainees;
    d. (U) Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair
    e. (U) Threatening male detainees with rape;
    f. (U) Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was
    injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell;
    g. (U) Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick.
    h. (U) Using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.
  4. (U) I have carefully considered the statements provided by the following detainees, which under the circumstances I find credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses:
    a. (U) Amjed Isail Waleed, Detainee # 151365
    b. (U) Hiadar Saber Abed Miktub-Aboodi, Detainee # 13077
    c. (U) Huessin Mohssein Al-Zayiadi, Detainee # 19446
    d. (U) Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Detainee # 151108
    e. (U) Mohanded Juma Juma (sic), Detainee # 152307
    f. (U) Mustafa Jassim Mustafa, Detainee # 150542
    g. (U) Shalan Said Alsharoni, Detainee, # 150422
    h. (U) Abd Alwhab Youss, Detainee # 150425
    i. (U) Asad Hamza Hanfosh, Detainee # 152529
    j. (U) Nori Samir Gunbar Al-Yasseri, Detainee # 7787
    k. (U) Thaar Salman Dawod, Detainee # 150427
    l. (U) Ameen Sa’eed Al-Sheikh, Detainee # 151362
    m. (U) Abdou Hussain Saad Faleh, Detainee # 18470 (ANNEX 26)
  5. (U) I find that contrary to the provision of AR 190-8, and the findings found in MG Ryder’s Report, Military Intelligence (MI) interrogators and Other US government Agency’s (OGA) interrogators actively requested that MP guards set physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of witnesses. Contrary to the findings of MG Ryder’s Report, I find that personnel assigned to the 372nd MP Company, 800th MP Brigade were directed to change facility procedures to “set the conditions” for MI interrogations. I find no direct evidence that MP personnel actually participated in those MI interrogations. (ANNEXES 19, 21, 25, and 26).

You will recognise many phrases from this report that have obviously been used by the media. This is probably the real thing and shows first hand how the US armed forces command handled the situation. In any case, judge for yourselves.

43 comments to A very long report

  • Guy Herbert

    It is interestingly limiting.

    That is to say, it corresponds very closely with the information already made available, and if seen as the whole picture tends to confirm the view that: a couple of units went off the rails, no more to see here, move along. Either this is the principal source for the press reports, or it is a disinformation confection to show that’s all there is.

    If the former, note the narrow scope of the investigation. Investigations do have to be limited, so there’s nothing suspicious about that in itself. This covers two places over two months and is very recent. It doesn’t bode well for the bigger picture.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    As a former MP myself in charge of prisoners(AWOLees, not of war), I’m a bit amused by some of the acts alleged. Time once was the Commandant actually encouraged some of those acts. There were horror stories told where the wardens would set guard dogs loose on detainees in solitary confinement, close the door, open it two hours later, and send them to the hospital…

    Needless to say, we’re a lot tamer nowadays. Heh.

    It’s pretty disgusting to see the double standards the media is appyling to the whole issue. In their eyes, it’s only the US that’s evil, every time.

  • Guy Herbert

    It isn’t a double standard to expect better behaviour of people you assume share your values and represent you. The Salvation Army officer who drinks will justly get more criticism from his peers than the pub landlord.

  • Guy Herbert

    … And be mocked by others as proof of the hypocricy and vice of the entire organisation.

  • Jacob

    Guy,
    “a couple of units went off the rails, no more to see here, move along.”….

    OK, you seem to think there is more to it than that. Could you please say (not insinuate) what “more” there is, and what are your sources of information on this ?

  • Gabriel Syme

    Jacob, absolutely, that is why I posted the report itself without any additional commentary…

  • Guy Herbert

    I don’t have any sources. The point I’m trying to make is that–unless someone has access to US army personnel lists and some detailed knowledge of the places and deployments–we have no way of knowing whether the report cited by Gabriel is genuine, without a traceable provenance.

    If it is genuine, it is narrowly focussed on those abuses that have already been reported in detail the press, and just might be the source for those reports. That narrow focus, which is entirely credible in a genuine investigator’s report, can give us no confidence that this wasn’t a pattern repeated elsewhere at other times. That would require a broader study. The fact that the abuses do seem to have been a matter of course in this one place over a short, recent, period is not encouraging for the bigger picture–the Iraq operations being huge–and suggests the bigger picture needs serious checking.

    It is tempting for those of us who would like the occupation to be a well-run, humane excercise in imposing Western values on a former tyrrany to accept that, since the report summarises and explains in neat military terms pretty much everything that has recently caused such fuss, that it marks the limits of the problem. Unfortunately that is not plausible. This was an established operation, months after the victory, and being conducted by Military Intelligence troops, whose function and training (whatever the cliche about the oxymoron in the title) is generally supposed to be the collection of information and its communication to general staff.

  • If I’m not mistaken, the Red Cross, usually a fairly reliable organization, that has not in the past tended to grind axes in public, has been alleging fairly serious and apparently systematic violations by the US of the 1949 Convention for over a year.

    (Just google it)

    Whether that includes truly horrible acts, or just callous nastyness is unclear (to me). However, the Red Cross tends to be very discreet unless there is in their view a real problem.

    Also, I’ll there seems to be have been official view by the US Army to play fast and (very) loose with the 1949 Convention duing interrogations. That’s not very pleasant to see and and we see violating that seems to bringing worse consequences than the benefit of the interrogations.

    That being said, it also appears that the worst excesses were the result of zealous lower level idiots, who still ought to have known better.

    THat’s what’s scariest here to me. The US army is promoting some really dubious characters to fairly high command, and that the supposedly professional and competent US army has real command and control difficulties, and reading comprehension issues.

    How tough is ” thou shalt not beat the prisonners senseless and also not be beastly” to understand?

  • R C Dean

    The Red Cross was, I believe, on record as opposing the liberation of Iraq, for what that is worth.

    As for whether the US has been violating the Geneva Convention, well, you can’t violate it if it doesn’t apply. The Geneva Convention protects only lawful combatants, in large part to give fighters an incentive to act as lawful combatants. The vast majority of prisoners in US hands were not lawful combatants, and so are not protected by the Geneva Convention. The fact that the Red Cross pretends that they are so protected makes me wonder about its objectivity.

  • The Red Cross (actually the International Committee of the Red Cross ,ICRC) is a major part of the Swiss ruling establishment, the same group that runs the smaller swiss banks, i.e. the Swiss upper class.

    These guys were making lots and lots of money off Saddam and off the Oil for Food Scam.

    They have broken their own rules before when it suits them but of course during the Holocaust they kept very very quiet about it , even after the allies had reached the borders of Switzerland and their country was in no danger of invasion.

    Like all good Europeans that hate Bush and also the US . I no longer trust them to put on a band aid.

  • A_t

    RC Dean,

    According to most reports, at least some of the prisoners are not combatants, whether lawful or unlawful, but regular civilians; people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. How the hell do you justify treating them worse than dogs, & pray tell how you think treating even “unlawful combatants” this way, given that it cannot be kept secret, helps the US/Western cause? I though part (most?) of the point of this exercise was to ensure the US was *less* hated in the middle-east.

  • Amelia

    I don’t think that anyone is attempting to justify this behavior. The wrongdoers have been IDed and will be dealt with by the UCMJ efficently and fairly. The only questions that remain are whether this was sanctioned by the higher ups and, related, whether this was a wipespread or an isolated event. Thus far, I have seen nothing to indicate that this was sanctioned or wipespread. It is my understanding that the investigation began before the pictures hit the news. What I have seen is a bunch of hysteria on the part of the press and what appears to be glee on the part of those who opposed the war in the first place. Perspective would be nice and perhaps a sense of history. 500 us soldiers were hanged during WWII for eggregious acts. There are always bad apples.

  • Scott Cattanach

    According to most reports, at least some of the prisoners are not combatants, whether lawful or unlawful, but regular civilians; people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Most Iraqi detainees ‘arrested by mistake’
    Coalition military intelligence officers believed 70-90 per cent of Iraqi detainees were “arrested by mistake”, according to a leaked Red Cross report on prisoner abuse, further details of which were disclosed on Monday.

    The confidential report, given to the US and British governments in February but covering events in March to November last year, describes a pattern of indiscriminate arrests involving destruction of property and brutal behaviour towards suspects and their families.

    Ill-treatment during capture was frequent and “appeared to go beyond the reasonable, legitimate and proportional use of force”, the report said. Such behaviour “seemed to reflect a usual modus operandi by certain CF [coalition forces] battle groups”….

  • Verity

    Fred, the days when the Red Cross meant ambulance drivers and medics bravely driving across land they knew to be mined to rescue wounded combatants is long gone.

    The International Red Cross is now one of the most powerful tranzi organisation on the screen. They are the ones constantly hectoring Western governments about “human catastrophes” in Africa and famines the like of which we’ve never seen and calls for aid that the Red Cross, of course, will be called upon to administer …

  • Mandrake Ethos

    Perhaps I’m confused. It would make sense that media reports of the abuses would harmonize with General Taguba’s report, because Taguba’s report is a) either the primary source of information on those abuses and/or b) drawing on the same collection of graphic photographs as many in the media.

    I could be misreading the comments, but I sense an unwarranted suspicion of the report. I think Taguba himself in the report makes it quite clear that the scope of his investigation is limited. Frankly, I’m rather impressed at the candor and forthrightness of the document.

    –ME

  • Scott Cattanach

    Taguba is testifying to Congress even as we speak, so there may be more info later.

    The Taguba Report

    RED CROSS REPORT ON ABU GHRAIB

  • Tedd McHenry

    It is tempting for those of us who would like the occupation to be a well-run, humane excercise in imposing Western values on a former tyrrany to accept that, since the report summarises and explains in neat military terms pretty much everything that has recently caused such fuss, that it marks the limits of the problem. Unfortunately that is not plausible. This was an established operation, months after the victory, and being conducted by Military Intelligence troops, whose function and training (whatever the cliche about the oxymoron in the title) is generally supposed to be the collection of information and its communication to general staff.

    It’s also a report about a series of incidents that took place at the prison where the most hard-core prisoners are kept, in the weeks immediately prior to the apprehension of Saddam Hussein. To me that suggests much more intense interrogations than would be taking place at other times and in other facilities.

  • Tedd McHenry

    Frankly, I’m rather impressed at the candor and forthrightness of the document.

    Mandrake:

    In my (admittedly limited) experience, that candor and forthrightness is typical of military investigation reports. During my career I was only required to perform one such investigation (over a much less serious matter), and I found that I was encouraged to be completely forthright. At one point I submitted a draft to the officer who had ordered the investigation and was asked to be more “frank.” I rewrote the report in very frank terms, pulling no punches, and he then accepted it and was very pleased with it.

    I’m not suggesting that’s always the case, but I believe my experience to be typical.

  • lucklucky

    To see the true colors of Red Cross it’s enough to say that still today an israeli ambulance with star of david symbol according international law isnt yet considered legally a medical veichle, only veichles with the cross or the red crescent are protected. Red Cross is a political organisation now and Arab countries block the star symbol.

  • Guy Herbert

    Just a point of clarification: The report itself is entirely plausible. (And I second the point about the clarity of military reports. Those–historical, mostly naval–ones I’ve read have sometimes been mistaken, very occasionally mendacious, but never fudged.) My problem is not in believing the report as a report, but that it clears up the whole problem.

    Presumption of guilt and an assumption of the legitimacy of treating the presumed guilty better or worse depending on what’s presumed is creeping into this discussion. If it is rife here, what hope for fair process in Iraq?

  • Julian Morrison

    The character of the leaders sets the tone for the character of the subordinates. If I was investigating this, I’d be working to trace up the hierarchy of command to find the “common ancestor” who presided over all this mess, and sack him.

  • Spacer writes:

    The Red Cross (actually the International Committee of the Red Cross ,ICRC) is a major part of the Swiss ruling establishment, the same group that runs the smaller swiss banks, i.e. the Swiss upper class.

    These guys were making lots and lots of money off Saddam and off the Oil for Food Scam.

    Spacer the ICRC and the Swiss Banking Establishment are not interchangeable.

    Verity, you know we usually agree, but the Red Cross is in the business of dealing with and drawing attention to catastrophes and famines, you can hardly hold it against them, that is their raison d’etre. As a libertarian I support the Red Cross, it doesn’t tax me, or coerce me and does good. Its an example of civil society at its best, the kind of institution which in a libertarian world I would expect to see more. I’m sure I’d disagree with its activities in some places and praise its activities in others. But on balance the ICRC is a good thing.

  • Guy Herbert

    Hear, hear, paul d s. The same goes for Amnesty International, who are also likely to be involved, as far as I’m concerned.

    On lucklucky’s query: The Red Cross wasn’t adopted as a religious symbol, just a nice clear one. The Red Crescent had to be adopted later because in Muslim countries with no tradition of non-religious civil institutions, the cross was read as a Christian cross and supporting such an institution became politically suspect. One would hope that Israelis were more sophisticated. Certainly havoc is guaranteed if it has to become the universal Red-Religious-Symbol-of-your-choice organisation.

  • Verity

    Guy – I thought the Red Cross was adopted as a symbol because it is the Swiss flag, well known icon of neutrality.

    Paul d s – Many, if not most, of these predictions of “humanitarian disasters” are a little on the flighty side. That may be harsh, but there have been an awful lot of “humanitarian disasters” that simply never happened, no thanks to the posturing of RC spokespersons. In case you hadn’t noticed, they have quietly elevated themselves to the position of top spokesman on humanitarian disasters (supra government) anywhere in the world.

    TV, of course, adores them because they have lots of film of previous real humanitarian disasters that they can run again as an illustration of whatever humanitarian disaster du jour the RC is predicting. Sacks of rice/flour/beans/you name it being unloaded from canvas covered trucks by black people surrounded by rent-a-mobs. Old film.

    Cut to khaki-clad commentator, speaking into a hand-held mike, turns to an RC spokesperson, usually clad in chinos and a pastel shirt, against a background of similar truck, who immediately predicts doom unless the West is prepared to cough up a few more millions. Cut to a black person in an office saying essentially the same thing. Cut to that same black person and the grave RC spokesman walking through a field together with the African pointing to dead stalks of something.

    The Red Cross has now inserted itself into the formulation of international policy. It’s a very ambitious organisation, as is Amnesty International/Human Rights watch, and should be approached with care.

  • Guy Herbert

    Verity: It’s an inversion of the Swiss Flag, and the founder was a Swiss, so there’s a strong hint of Swiss neutrality as an influence on its foundation. But the organisation is truly international and independent of government wherever independent organisations are permitted.

  • Julian Morrison

    I think the confusion here is between the intention to be neutral, and unrecognised bias. The Red Cross isn’t sneaky, they’re just mostly socialists. They don’t even notice the left-interventionist political slant. They just see it as “truth” and “doing the right thing”.

  • llamas

    Julian Morrison wrote

    ‘The character of the leaders sets the tone for the character of the subordinates. If I was investigating this, I’d be working to trace up the hierarchy of command to find the “common ancestor” who presided over all this mess, and sack him.’

    That is probably why BG Janis Karpinski, the commanding general of the MP outfit in question and the officer responsible for all prison facilities in Iraq, was relieved of duty in January. IOW, what you would do – has already occurred. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the view that President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld personally gave orders that MPs at Abu Ghraib could do whatever they liked to detainees there.

    It is reported in the last hours that a US civilian contractor, some sort of engineer, was beheaded alive and his killing videotaped to demonstrate ‘revenge’ for the atrocities committed at Abu Ghraib. We can therefore form our own judgements about how relatively barbaric the opposing sides in the conflict are.

    Arab ‘insurgents’ capture an innocent civilian, deliberately kill him and videotape themselves doing it. Their actions will be lauded in the Arab media and generally approved of in the Arab world.

    US soldiers force Arab detainees into humiliating and/or frightening situations and take pictures of themselves doing it. Their actions are universally condemned in the Western media and generate nothing but revulsion in the Western world.

    Which of the two is more more ‘barbaric’?

    llater,

    llamas

  • Scott Cattanach

    This isn’t a barbarity contest. This war wasn’t sold to people (post collapse of WMD as an excuse) on the grounds that it would make things in Iraq no better than less barbaric, and the best we can do is just have fewer people tortured.

  • Julian Morrison

    llamas: You don’t seem to have very high goals, if “we’re still better than them” is the best you can manage.

    And is it not hypocrisy to promote intervention on the basis of moral superiority, then turn around and use your opponents as a moral compass?

  • llamas

    Fair enough. But I am getting just a little bit tired of the endless parade of denunciations of the coalition, especially from Arab media, as ‘barbarians’, and the holier-than-thou declamations about how the delicate sensibilities of Arabs are being hurt by the dreadful, dreadful things that are being done to them – while an innocent bystander is beheaded alive, on videotape, and noone will say a bad word about that. It’s not like it was the first time, either. To say nothing of killing, burning and burning the bodies of Americans and dragging them through the streets before diplaying them for the video cameras. Apparently, those sensibilities are not so delicate after all – when it’s Americans being hacked to pieces on the six-o’clock news. And certainly, noone in the Arab media or Arab public opinion gave a tinker’s damn while Hussein and his boys were doing things a thousand times worse than anything that’s been reported out of Abu Ghraib.

    Many Americans are coming to the conclusion, however reluctantly, that nothing positive can be done for Iraq because the Iraqis (or enough of them, anyway) can’t or won’t be helped. If the sort of double-standard of opinion that’s described above continues, don’t be surprised to see the US simply throw up its hands, withdraw its troops, and let Hussein out of jail to go back to running the country. That’s the message that the Iraqi resistance and Arab public opinion is getting across. If they want the US to stay, they’d better start making it clear that that’s what they want, because that’s not the message that Joe Voter is seeing.

    The choices are being placed in stark contrast. When Americans abuse Arabs, the American public is siezed with revulsion and seeks to put a stop to it.

    When Arabs abuse Americans, the Arab public applauds and is encouraged to do more of the same.

    Which of the two worldviews bodes better for the future of Iraq, and, indeed, for the whole Arab world – would you say?

    llater,

    llamas

  • Scott Cattanach

    I am getting just a little bit tired of the endless parade of denunciations of the coalition, especially from Arab media, as ‘barbarians’, and the holier-than-thou declamations about how the delicate sensibilities of Arabs are being hurt by the dreadful, dreadful things that are being done to them

    Its not the hurt Arab feelings, its the retaliation that anger will bring down on the rest of us that makes Iraq counterproductive as far as the whole “war on terror” goes. This invalidates yet another excuse for the war; the net result will make us less safe, not more. Losing any claim to moral leadership (the standard for which is higher than simply torturing fewer people than Saddam) is just an added cost of y’all’s war.

  • Amelia

    its the retaliation that anger will bring down on the rest of us that makes Iraq counterproductive as far as the whole “war on terror” goes

    Very revealing statement.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Very revealing statement.

    Revealing what, that I don’t buy “they hate us because we are so good and wonderful because we torture them so much less than Saddam did”?

  • eoin

    Yes. The neo-conservative war needs a new slogan.

    Not ” going after Islamo Fascists reponsible for 9/11″ for we know that that is false.

    Not “Going after WMD’s in Iraq” for we know that is false.

    Here is the new slogan, and I offer it for free.

    “American imperialists in Iraq: not quite as bad as Saddam Hussein, but far worse than the British”

    BTW. Interesting that most of the neo-cons here are opining that thse people in the prisons should not come under the red cross defininition of POWS. That’s right, because the war is over. That drunken frat boy said it himself on de big boat, if I remember.

    The people now in prison, whether actually guilty or not, are innocent until proven so. You are now in charge of a civil administration and Big Bad terrorists are shooting at you. Tough. Boo fucking Hoo.The UK has that problem with the IRA. The Greeks had that problem with Nov. 17th. And so on. Any number of terrorists stalk Europe and have since the end of the 19th century.

    In Europe you find that after a terrorist attack the military does not intervene, pick up people who look dusky, and force them into strange sexual positions for the camera.

    Most people in the Iraqi prisons are probably just guilty of being Iraqi, which of course reduces them to the position of sub-human scum in the eyes of the trailer trash who pollute the American Army.

    And there is thay rape video still to come. A woman was raped to extract information from her brother.

    Suppose that was just a soriority trick. You should really get the old Baathists to help you know, like in the good old days of the eighties. This whole “liberation” is becoming more Orwellian by the day. I note that Saddam’s second in command in now in charge of Fallujah. Someday the Iraqis will – like at the end of Animal Farm – look at the Baathists and the Americans and not be able to tell the difference

  • Shawn

    “BTW. Interesting that most of the neo-cons here are opining that thse people in the prisons should not come under the red cross defininition of POWS”

    What neo-cons?

    People who support the war against Islamic/Arab fascism are not all neo-cons. Or do you really mean “Jews”?

    As to your other claims they are manifestly false. The U.S. has gone after terrorists consistently and aggressively since 911, and continues to do so, both in Afghanistan and Iraq and throughout the world. It is no good claiming that we should only target Al-Qaeda. Pulling one weed out of a garden full of them is pointless.

    The deposing of Saddam, which was never solely about WMD’s was utterly necessary after 911. As I have said before, the stance that leaving in power a megolomaniac with an active WMD appropriation program (as the David Kay report confirmed), with a history of starting wars against his neighbours, who hated Israel and promoted and funded terrorism against Israel, should have been left in power to continue all this, is a stance of monumental stupidity.

    And I say this as a libertarian/paleo-conservative.

  • Scott Cattanach

    People who support the war against Islamic/Arab fascism are not all neo-cons. Or do you really mean “Jews”?

    Race-bating. Nicely done, warmonger.

  • llamas

    Suggestions of hypocrisy which claim that I use ‘…. opponents as a moral compass’ miss the point, which is that Arab opinion (as expressed in its media) has no consistent moral compass.

    The Arab moral guide is a collection of situational ethnic, tribal and religious forces, strongly influenced by the medieval death-cult which is the predominant religious force. Contrast the complete lack of any condemnation of the videotaped beheading of an innocent civilian in the Arab media with the outpouring of condemnation for the brutalization of presumably-innocent Arab civilians in the Western media, and I think the point is made.

    Arab morals consider the wanton killing of an American infidel to be normal, justifiable and even commendable, and say so. Western morals consider the brutalization of anyone to be wrong, contemptible and deserving of punishment, and say so.

    So I ask again – which worldview bodes better for the future of Iraq and the Iraqis, or indeed, for the Arab world as a whole? The Arabs, and indeed, Muslims generally, seem bound and determined to drag themselves back into the past where their medieval death-cult reigns supreme. Just look at the reports coming out of Nigeria. Now, if they continue down this path, to the point where the Western powers (that are in any position to do anything about it) throw up their hands and say ‘Fine. The heck with you. We came, we spent our blood and treasure to give you an opportunity to lift yourselves out of the mess you’re in, but you don’t want it’ and walk away – how does that bode the the future of all of us? Would you say?

    Make no mistake, this is a war of cultures as much as it is a war of arms, and it needs to be seen and expressed in that way. The West needs to divest itself of its delicate cultural sensibilities and see this war for what it really is. If Arabs and/or Muslims want to live their lives in that way, that’s fine – but they want to impose their ways of life on the rest of the world, and the rest of the world needs to decide whether thay are willing to accept that and, if not, to do what needs to be done to stop it.

    Do you want English men and English women to be forced to accept the provisions of Sharia law, and maybe even forced to live by it? Do you want women to be executed for ‘adultery’ while men go unpunished? Do you want public amputations for theives? Do you want society stratified into two classes – Muslims and the ‘dhimmi’? Do you want modern science and technology to be subsumed to the religious teachings of Islam, where things happen ‘Inshallah’ and not because of physical law ands reason?

    Because, make no mistake, that’s where they want to go, and they will get there if they are not checked soon.

    So don’t lecture me about the ‘moral compass’ of Arabs or Muslims, because it is a moral compass which, in its practical incarnation, says that it’s perfectly OK to kill me and you both because we are ‘infidels’. Bear that in mind the next time you wring your hands about the terrible injustices of the US military.

    llater,

    llamas

  • A_t

    llamas,

    I don’t *at all* buy this hysterical “all muslims want a regressive world & are interested in taking all our lands” thing (although i do agree that there are unhealthy paranoid/expansionist strands in contemporary Islam, which i fear we’re currently fuelling).

    All this moral compass business is all very well too, but it’d be interesting to see how the US or UK public would react if their countries were occupied by foreign soldiers, following an unknown agenda (does anyone *really* know why we invaded? I hear a million different justifications). I strongly feel you’d discover our moral compasses aren’t so differently calibrated. Painting the Arab as amoral/immoral is an old game, that’s been indulged in many times before in the name of various projects. It’s not had much to do with any of the Arabs I’ve met.

    So far, the only evidence of any kind of activity along the lines of
    “they want to impose their ways of life on the rest of the world” are the activities of a few isolated (& highly destructive) extremists… I see plenty evidence for us (whether rightly or wrongly) trying to impose things on the middle east, and so doubtless do many Arabs.

    We have the means; manpower & financial resources, to make a realistic attempt at imposition. On the other hand, I see very little real risk of anyone in the middle east imposing much in terms of societal change upon us at any time in the near future, aside perhaps from an enhanced fear of violent death.

    It’s all very well to talk of the intentions of a few fanatics & get all scared, but get a grip… we’re the powerful guys here. No backwards middle eastern fanatic is about to impose much upon us. I & many others opposed this war, but you can be sure that if anyone tried to fuck around with my country, impose their will upon it, make us live a certain way, the gloves come off; I’d be all for bombing them; whatever it takes. Just don’t try & sell me fooling around in someone else’s country as somehow equivalent to defending Western civilisation.

  • llamas

    A_t – – I quite understand that you don’t ‘buy it’. I also quite understand your point that most Arabs/Muslims don’t personally subscribe to the desires and motivations I described, and I largely agree with you, as far as it goes.

    But you have to look at the facts, and at what people do versus what they say. Arab/Muslim populations may not agree with many of the positions of those who lead or speak for them, but the fact is that they will support them anyway, because of cultural, ethnic or religious motivations which override their personal beliefs. Look at a vicious, terrible dictator like Hussein, or a corrupt opportunist like Arafat. They enjoy/enjoyed the overwhelming support of the Arab/Muslim world, whether by active support or tacit failure of resistance – which amount to the same thing. Given the choice between an Arab/Muslim leader or position and Any Other Choice, they will choose based on religion, ethnicity or culture Every Single Time.

    Their religious and cultural traditions, I believe, predispose them to be led by the nose by any jackanapes who knows how to push the right religious and cultural buttons. This is true, of course, to a greater or lesser extent, in most cultures, but it is exceptionally true in Arab/Muslim cultures. They will, not merely tolerate, but actively supprt and defend, almost anyone, no matter how brutal, corrupt or deviant, so long as they are able to culturally identify with him.

    It’s all very well to contrast what is happening in Iraq with some putative invasion and occupation of a Western country – obviously, the US or the UK springs to mind. The difference is/may be that the US is not imposing or planning to impose its cultural values on Iraq beyond the very short-term impact of their actual presence, because that’s not what we do. There is a plan for transition, and in a couple of years, Inshallah, the US will be gone and the Iraqis can have any form of government and any form of values they see fit to choose for themselves.

    I think it’s also a mistake to see all invasions and occupations as being morally equal. If the US had invaded Iraq for the purposes of colonization and oppression, that’s one thing. But it is actually possible to invade and occupy another nation for the pruposes of liberating them from a hideous dictator and setting them free to decide their own fate in a civilized way.

    Let me ask you to form a hypothetical image in your mind. Imagine a modern Arab/Muslim nation invading another nation and occupying it, and then putting in place all those things which most enlightened people in the world yearn for – equality of opportunity, freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of expression, representative government, fair and just laws and law enforcement, ASF.

    Having a little trouble forming that image, are we? Me, too. Because it has never happened and never will, until the Arab/Muslim world can cast off the medieval shackles of religion, culture and ethnicity which hold them back. To be sure, a thousand years ago, the Muslim world set the standard for enlightenment, civilization and learning. But that’s a thousand years ago. The tables are now completely turned, and it is the Arab/Muslim world which sets the standards for barbarity, intolerance, division and hate. The examples of the last few days illustarte that. The abuses at Abu Ghraib are a horrible exmaple of what happens when Western ideals fall short. I hate to have to say that, if the Arabs who executed an American on live video had confined themselves merely to humiliating him in the same ways we saw in the images from Abu Ghraib, for them, that would be a step forward.

    llater,

    llamas

  • A_t

    llamas, Good points… I’ve no time to respond properly at the moment unofortunately, except to point out that if this holds true:

    “active support or tacit failure of resistance – which amount to the same thing”

    …then our governments actively support the evil suppression of Tibetan culture by the Chinese government, & we should all either protest or hang our heads in shame.

  • llamas

    A_t wrote:

    ‘…then our governments actively support the evil suppression of Tibetan culture by the Chinese government, & we should all either protest or hang our heads in shame.’

    And I agree. Not to mention the oppression of the peoples of East Timor, the dreadful ethnic violence now brewing (again) in a half-a-dozen places in sub-Saharan Africa, our effective silence at the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Rwanda/Burundi, and a half-a-hundred other instances of wrong and evil besides. No argument there. We should be ashamed of our tacit acceptance of these things.

    But what should we do? The US has vast military might, but it can’t be everywhere at once. And in many – not all, but many – of these places, ain’t noone got clean hands and it’s sometimes awfully hard to figure out who the bad guys are.

    In the instant case of Iraq, some of the same holds true. No we’re not perfect, but the perfect is the enemy of the good. We’re sure as hell a hundred times better than any other choice they have right now, by any civilized metric.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Just how do you decide on a career in interrogation?

    Its not on the “well I like meeting people and learning new things” scale, is it really? More, “I like exerting my will over helpless people, its the only thing that gets me hard.”

  • llamas

    As it happens, a good friend of mine just retired after 30 years in a major metropolitan police department, the last 20 years as a detective specializing in sex crimes investigation.

    His skills as an interrogator of uncooperative suspects are legendary. He could get information out of anyone. And he never laid a hand on a suspect – ever. Didn’t have to, didn’t want to, had no reason to – because hurting or terrorizing someone is just about the worst way there is to get good information out of them.

    During my own brief fling into the realms of law enforcement, he gave me some sage advice, to wit – you catch many more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. The key to successful interrogation is to make the suspect psychologically dependent upon the interrogator as far as it is possible to do so. Beating him is worse than useless, because he’ll say whatever it takes to make you stop. Humiliation, degradation and the like are also useless and dangerous becasue they may have the opposite effect – you want the suspect to turn to the interrogator, not away from him. These are complex psychological issues.

    That’s why I don’t believe that what we see reported from Abu Ghraib has anything to do with serious intelligence-gathering. It looks like a bunch of low-level guards and intelligence gofers – spook wannabes – getting their jollies when noone was looking, using low-budget porn and genre spy movies as their script. This doesn’t match any doctrine of successful interrogation that I know about.

    llater,

    llamas