So It’s Not Torture If We Blame It On ‘A Few Bad Apples’, Right?

May 28, 2009
Prison guards secure the main gate of the newly named Baghdad Central Prison in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib February 21, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen/Files

Prison guards secure the main gate of the newly named Baghdad Central Prison in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib February 21, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen/Files

Not good:

Photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse which U.S. President Barack Obama does not want released include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Thursday. […]

“These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency,” [U.S. Major General Antonio] Taguba, who retired in January 2007, was quoted as saying in the paper. […]

Based on what he’s seen, Taguba supports Obama’s decision not to release the photos: “The mere depiction of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”

More specifically:

The newspaper said at least one picture showed an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Others are said to depict sexual assaults with objects including a truncheon [aka baton], wire and a phosphorescent tube.

There are 400 cases alleging abuse.

I understand the distinction between so-called enhanced interrogation (or methods that may be considered torture) and abuse: one is sanctioned through the chain of command and the other is not.

However, as the details and the breadth of this abuse becomes more known, one has to wonder the validity of the ‘a few bad apples’ defense applied to Private Lynndie England et al.

If the military runs a prison and establishes a culture in that prison – obviously shaped and sanctioned by commanding officers –  such that abuse is disturbingly heinous and increasingly common, does the sanctioning and perpetuation of that culture by superior officers not push those acts from abuse to torture?

On an LGBT note, that instance of male/male rape is not going to be good for efforts to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.


Iraq War: Year 7 Begins

March 20, 2009
G.W. Bush announces the start of the Iraq war via television to the American people on March 19, 2003. (AP)

G.W. Bush announces the start of the Iraq war via television to the American people on March 19, 2003. (AP)

Remember this address?

Since the war began, 4,259 US military personnel and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died. Sadaam Hussein has also been killed.

The Huffington Post  reports that the focus as we enter the seventh year is on stability through politics:

Sunni and Shiite lawmakers warned Thursday that political and economic challenges could derail the country’s progress toward stability as the Iraq war entered its seventh year. […]

With violence at wartime lows, Sunni and Shiite politicians are focusing more on economic and political issues that the U.S. and many Iraqis fear could stoke the war after U.S. troops begin drawing down this year.

“The political process is full of tensions and contradictions and the situation in Iraqi will deteriorate if political progress isn’t made,” Sunni lawmaker Osama al-Nujaifi said. “There are still a lot of challenges ahead, including unemployment and the immigration millions of Iraqis abroad.”

I’m all-for stability through politics but it seems like everything I hear about their legislature implies that it’s a giant partisan clusterfuck of incompetence over there. Like, even worse than ours.

HuffPo also has a slideshow of the war’s defining moments. De-pressing!


“The Largest Spending Bill In History”

February 4, 2009

While so-called fiscal conservatives are shitting themselves over the current stimulus package before them – Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) called it “the largest spending bill in history” – Barney Frank pointed out on ABC’s This Week Sunday that that title actually belongs to a little Republican-backed venture called the Iraq War.  (Boo-yah!)  Clip below:


More Silly Marines

February 2, 2009

I wonder if they know these guys

Via Towleroad.