Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Dishonor
Posted by: Jon Henke on Saturday, June 16, 2007

I should have opposed torture for the same reason I oppose just about every other surrender of power to the government that naive people (in this case, like me) tend to think looks good on paper: Because the government won't use it competently, because the government will abuse it, and because the government will find new, inappropriate contexts in which to use it.Radley Balko
And so it did. And in the aftermath, dishonorable people escaped justice, while honorable people were treated dishonorably.

History will not be kind. Nor should it.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
History will not be kind. Nor should it.


History is never kind to the losers, having been written by the winners....
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
You’re quoting effing Seymour Hersh?

Screw you Henke.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
blah blah, Oh Noes! torture! Meanwhile Americans go in droves to watch torture flicks like Saw and Hostel. I don’t think people are all worked up about this.
 
Written By: kyleN
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
I just see a story that was not about torture, but about making Americans feel bad about going to Iraq. Its used too much as an attack on the morale for the War on Iraq and the War on Terror.

And considering the ’Surge’, which is just now officially at its peak, is as much about morale as anything else, I’m not surprised a way was found to dredge the story up again.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
You got anything on this from reliable sources?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
No, I didn’t quote Hersh at all. Read the story. It’s mostly about General Taguba, who is, by all accounts, a very honorable man.

If you would like to dispute that, lay it out.

If not, then read the damned story before you dispute what I’ve written. And think, for a moment, about what General Taguba says.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Jon, I found the article interesting in spite of my opinion of Hersh. But this really confused me.
“I’ll talk to you about discrimination,” he said one morning, while discussing, without bitterness, his early years as an Army officer. “Let’s talk about being refused to be served at a restaurant in public. Let’s talk about having to do things two times, and being accused of not speaking English well, and having to pay myself for my three master’s degrees because the Army didn’t think I was smart enough. So what? Just work your ass off. So what? The hard work paid off.”
It came out of nowhere and seemed to go nowhere. I thought he was going to make the case that bias or bigotry led to his retirement although he never got there. And the paragraph in front of it seemed to suggest that the Army treated him rather well.
In 1986, Taguba, then a major, was selected to attend the College of Naval Command and Staff at the Naval War College, in Newport, Rhode Island. While there, he wrote an analysis of Soviet ground-attack planning that became required reading at the school. He was promoted, ahead of his peers, to become a colonel and then a general.
And was that refusal of service at a restaurant due to his ethnicity or was it-during the Viet Nam era-anti-military sentiment? I think the article was rife with this type of open-ended and unsubstantiated innuendo such as Rumsfeld’s sarcasm. Or this:
Taguba got a different message, however, from other officers, among them General John Abizaid, then the head of Central Command. A few weeks after his report became public, Taguba, who was still in Kuwait, was in the back seat of a Mercedes sedan with Abizaid. Abizaid’s driver and his interpreter, who also served as a bodyguard, were in front. Abizaid turned to Taguba and issued a quiet warning: “You and your report will be investigated.”
Was this a threat or a friendly advisement that partisans of both sides would be examining his report in an attempt to glean whatever was beneficial to their side and in the process discredit the report?
Just too much innuendo for me.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
I thought he was going to make the case that bias or bigotry led to his retirement although he never got there.

Why would you think that? The implication is clearly that his career was damaged by the content of the report and the political fallout that followed - a career that had clearly been honorable and built on hard work.

You are reading too much into the inclusion of the racial comment - it’s a nine page article that includes a bit of biographical background. The point of that whole paragraph is when he says "So what? The hard work paid off."
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
oooh Torture...if Abu Ghraib was torture what happened in the Lubyanka and in Prinz Albrecht Strasse? Just wondering..... So this is Seymour Hersh AND Radley Balko? Well if you can’t trust them to be objective and non-hysterical who can you trust to be? Because they each have a long history of reporting the truth, in fairly non-judgemental terms.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
dishonorable people escaped justice
Which people mentioned in the Hersh article "escaped justice"? And what justice should they have received?

According to Taguba’s testimony to Congress, there was "no order whatsoever, written or otherwise” to the guards to abuse the prisoners. However, Taguba also said he believed "there was collaboration at the lower levels between interrogators and guards" that led to the abuses.

Taguba was very clear in his report about which individuals, including high ranking officers, were responsible for the abuse.

Taguba may have been treated dishonorably, but don’t confuse that with guilt for Abu Ghraib like Hersh does.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
The implication is clearly that his career was damaged by the content of the report and the political fallout that followed - a career that had clearly been honorable and built on hard work.
Agreed. That’s why I found the comments about not being served at a public restaurant (probably in the 60’s) to be so disjointed. Since it lead to no further point I think it was put in there to influence the easily emotionally manipulated.
As the finder of fact in the Abu Ghraib report I think Gen Taguba has an important story to tell and it should be done without being manipulative. Perhaps someone other than Hersh should write the story.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
if Abu Ghraib was torture
Taguba’s report clearly demonstrates torture occurred, unless you don’t consider forced sodomy of prisoners to be torture.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Another problem with this story is that some of this was done for the guards sick personal pleasure.

Can someone show me where the sodomy of the female prisoner was from a directive from the top down and not rape done by some guard who thought he could get away with it.

Because I see two separate issues. Sick guards who thought they could get away with abuse. And yes this has repercussions upwards for allowing it to happen. And then theres the issue of what the US considers torture and what exactly it does do or permit by policy.

However, when Abu Garib is brought up, these two issues are put in a blender and used to indict the entire military and the action in Iraq.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
"I don’t think people are all worked up about this."

That is unfortunate.


"oooh Torture...if Abu Ghraib was torture..."

When you get your next colonoscopy, tell the doctor you do not want sedation, then tell us about it.

" open-ended and unsubstantiated innuendo such as Rumsfeld’s sarcasm."

You think Rumsfeld wasn’t sarcastic? That is one of the things I liked about him.

"You got anything on this from reliable sources?"

Like Gen. Taguba? I am sure that if he is misquoted we will hear about it. Sources vary in reliability, and even an unreliable one is sometimes correct. That is why you take the information and compare it with other information from other sources. What is it exactly about this article that you dispute? Bad things happened at Abu Ghraib. Do you dispute that? A lot of people in the chain of command, up to and including Rumsfeld, claim they were ignorant of any misdeeds at Abu Ghraib. Taguba says not, that they are emulating Sgt. Schultz. Use what you know from this and other sources to decide for yourself.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Taguba’s report clearly demonstrates torture occurred, unless you don’t consider forced sodomy of prisoners to be torture.
On an obsolute scale, I suppose it is...

But on a relative scale, it’s somewhere WAY belove how Americans have been treated as PoWs since WWII, and it sure as hell is less horrible than beheadings that are video-taped for world-wide disemination...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"Another problem with this story is that some of this was done for the guards sick personal pleasure."

The subject of the story is not what motivated the acts, but if and/or when people up the chain of command had knowledge of such acts.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"But on a relative scale, it’s somewhere WAY belove how Americans have been treated..."

I guess we can take pride in the fact that we are not as bad as the Nazis or Communists or terrorists. Does that mean they are the "bad guys" and we are only the "better guys" instead of the "good guys"?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
...unless you don’t consider forced sodomy of prisoners to be torture.
criminal yes, torture no. Hersh writes of the offenses,
...including photographs showing prisoners stripped, abused, and sexually humiliated...
and quotes Taguba’s report,
[n]umerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees . . . systemic and illegal abuse.
Criminal abuses.
My gripe with Henke and Balko and a host of others isn’t in opposing torture, but the dumbing down of the definition of torture. Same thing with using gulag in reference to gitmo.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
But on a relative scale...
What "relative scale", if you’re the one being tortured?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So, back to the question, about whether not we’ve lost the will to fight.
Given the conversation in this thread, I’d have to say "yes".

Have you fully considered the connection, I wonder?





 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
But on a relative scale, it’s somewhere WAY belove how Americans have been treated..."
I guess we can take pride in the fact that we are not as bad as the Nazis or Communists or terrorists. Does that mean they are the "bad guys" and we are only the "better guys" instead of the "good guys"?
London Blitz, the gutting of Coventry, the Bombing of Rotterdamm, the U-boat campaign....The Battle of the Ruhr, The Firestorms at Dresden and Hamburg, Koln Cathedral in a sea of rubble, the Japanese starving due to the US Submarine Service...

I guess we ARE equal to the nazi’s and Communists, whatever, at least the Nazi’s did, we did better, bigger or more numerous...

Sorry Tim, yours is a foolish conceit, a search for moral perfection. Abu Ghraib does NOT equal Prinz Albrecht Strasse.

And Balko, is as usual, an idiot. This wasn’t "Government Torture" Radley, it ws the criminal abuse of prisoners, BY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. The government didn’t "mishandle it"...They weren’t "incompetent." When it was found out, by the Army, they wrong-doers were punished. Balko wants this to be torture, so he can complain about the government, like a good libertarian...like the 42 dead in the "No-Knock Warrant" Hulla-Bulloo equals the War on Drugs, in his mind.

Lastly, the Two Star didn’t get promoted, it must have been that mean old Rumsfeld? Colonels Huba Wass de Czege and Don Holder wrote Airland Battle 1982, the premier fighting document of the US Army in the 1980’s. The foundation of the US Army’s success in Desert Storm. Holder retired as a colonel, a very bitter and nasty colonel, to Fort Knox Ky. Huba Wass de Czege only made it to Brigadier General. Was that the mean old Secretary of the Army in 1982 "Punishing" them? Did William Depuy’s accolytes "get" them? Hey sometimes you don’t GET to be Chief of Staff, sometimes you don’t get to be a Lieutenant General or General, it happens.

Again Seymour Hersh and Radley Balko really aren’t the folks I care to listen to about military "wrong-doings."

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So, back to the question, about whether not we’ve lost the will to fight.

Given the conversation in this thread, I’d have to say "yes".
Well then I’d say you have no concept of morality nor that which constitutes moral stamina. If you consider torture to equal a "will to fight" then you need to reexamine you values, principles and premises, because what you’re saying is "principles be damned, whatever it takes is alright by me".

That’s not who I am nor can I support those who believe that.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well then I’d say you have no concept of morality nor that which constitutes moral stamina. If you consider torture to equal a "will to fight" then you need to reexamine you values, principles and premises, because what you’re saying is "principles be damned, whatever it takes is alright by me".

That’s not who I am nor can I support those who believe that.
Sorry McQ, but I just can’t write off torture as an effective means of gathering information from people who wouldn’t give us that information otherwise. Asking nicely wouldn’t work, so you move onto other means.

I don’t suggest we move right to bamboo shoots under the nails, but a gradual stepping up of interrogation isn’t something we should prohibit.

I’ve got a saying: If hooking a guy’s testicals to a car battery will get us information that will save a life (or as most would be the case), I have two things to tell you. Red is positive, black is negative.

I just have a hell of a hard time giving a damn about the physical and mental well being of people who would blow themselves up in order to kill kids (or more importantly, our millitary personel).

Yeah, if I’m the one being tortured, "relative scale" doesn’t mean much to me, but even an absolute scale doesn’t bother me if it gets some guy to talk so we can stop say Atlanta from getting nailed with a dirty bomb, or a military base in Ramadi from getting hit with an exploding tanker truck.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Sorry McQ, but I just can’t write off torture as an effective means of gathering information from people who wouldn’t give us that information otherwise. Asking nicely wouldn’t work, so you move onto other means.
Sorry Scott, that’s as amoral as one can get and hardly a stance someone who believes in the sanctity of human rights can condone.

We are what we are for a reason, and "moving on" isn’t it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Yeah, if I’m the one being tortured, "relative scale" doesn’t mean much to me, but even an absolute scale doesn’t bother me if it gets some guy to talk so we can stop say Atlanta from getting nailed with a dirty bomb, or a military base in Ramadi from getting hit with an exploding tanker truck.
But Scott, almost never is there a situation where the interrogator knows that an act is imminent. In fact, coercive interrogation rarely leads to actionable intelligence. But because it is possible, I’d allow water-boarding, for example, given that serious oversight with serious penalties, are in place. The problem, as I see it, is that the left, with the aid of left paleo-libertarians, have dumbed down torture such that placing a copy of Playboy in the cell of an Islamic detainee fits the bill. Coercive techniques, such as I was subject to by the county sheriff’s office decades ago would be considered torture.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Bains, your points are well made. I would agree entirely. My problem is with Hersh and Balko and Henke for blathering on about "torture" and "dishonour" and those like Tim who have decided that we must be perfect or we equal the Nazi’s.

That is a good point that most folks can’t know if someone represents an imminent threat and so "deserves" the electrodes tot he genitals. Waterboarding and strong interrogation have a place, but only with some strong oversight.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well then I’d say you have no concept of morality nor that which constitutes moral stamina
So am I to understand that you’re calling the morality of our troops into question, and yet you can’t understand why there’s such a morale problem here at home?

Are you also going to call into question the morality of these acts...
The Firestorms at Dresden and Hamburg, Koln Cathedral in a sea of rubble, the Japanese starving due to the US Submarine Service...
(Nod to Joe).. and of course the supposedly immoral act of dropping a couple nukes on Japan?

Consider the effect on world war two, had there been as much moral outrage about those events as there is about Iraq. We’d be speaking German, now. Or Japanese, depending. how can you in all logic not draw the conclusion that are victory in world war two was also an immoral act? where what our morality be today, without those events? The answer is it would no longer exist. Because we would no longer exist.

The connection you have yet to make, and the connection the people ordering those events I list above DID make....it is the victors who get to determine what is and is not "immoral". That morality you rightly cherish, is a direct result of victory over those who do not... Victory, by any means necessary. Just as those people involved with the events I mentioned...

They understood this clearly; You are either willing to do what’s necessary to win, or you are not. If you are not, prepare yourself for losing. Part of that preparation, is admitting to yourself that without loss your morality isn’t worth much. The first act your enemy will do, in his victory, is to outlaw and overturn your brand of morality. The cold, hard reality, sorry to say, is that your act of morality benefits nobody who values it.
Rather, it becomes a knife to place in your back.

Your dedication to morality is admirable, please don’t misunderstand. I just think your application is misplaced. Dangerously so.






 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
And Balko, is as usual, an idiot. This wasn’t "Government Torture" Radley, it ws the criminal abuse of prisoners, BY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. The government didn’t "mishandle it"...They weren’t "incompetent." When it was found out, by the Army, they wrong-doers were punished. Balko wants this to be torture, so he can complain about the government, like a good libertarian...like the 42 dead in the "No-Knock Warrant" Hulla-Bulloo equals the War on Drugs, in his mind.
Joe;

You raise an important distinction, one that gets glossed over too easily. There is a major difference between authorized action and unauthorized action. Clearly Abu Girab was unauthorized, and was certainly not done to obtain information. blaming the government as a whole, in this situation is ludicrous.

Ironically, Radley’s complaint is the government’s breaking the law as regards torture. Of course, you’ve just prove that’s not true it was a few individuals who happened to work for the government, performing unauthorized acts. But even absent that point, since when does a libertarian figure that a mere law is going to solve anything, or stop anyone from doing anything?





 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"So, back to the question, about whether not we’ve lost the will to fight.
Given the conversation in this thread, I’d have to say "yes"."

There is a difference between a will to fight and a will to excuse acts of barbarism performed in the name of that fight.


"Sorry Tim, yours is a foolish conceit, a search for moral perfection."

And I take your remark to be some sort of excuse for inexcusable behavior, e.g. "Well, it may be bad, but it isn’t as bad as X".

"Abu Ghraib does NOT equal Prinz Albrecht Strasse"

No, but that is not an excuse to ignore or minimize it.

" those like Tim who have decided that we must be perfect"

No, only that we try to be, and that we do not try to excuse or hide events such as that that should be atypical.



**********************************8
"So am I to understand that you’re calling the morality of our troops into question,"

Oooh! I want to see the answer to that one. You first, McQ.


"We’d be speaking German, now. Or Japanese,"

Horse hockey. You overrate the effectiveness of area bombing.

"You are either willing to do what’s necessary to win,..."

I find it inconceivable that victory in Iraq depended on the actions at Abu Ghraib. If so, then we obviously have lost.

" The first act your enemy will do, in his victory, is to outlaw and overturn your brand of morality."

If there is to be no moral difference between us and them, why on earth should I risk my life fighting them? If I am to be amoral, I would just as soon avoid dying and be a Quisling. Why don’t we just convert and be done with it.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"There is a major difference between authorized action and unauthorized action. "

I thought the subject of the article was, in that famous Watergate phrase, "Who knew what and when did they know it?".
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Tim, no one excused what happened at Abu Ghraib, or have you forgotten that?

Seymour Hersh and you just like trotting out Abu Ghraib, perodically just to remind us of our faults and evil...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
If there is to be no moral difference between us and them, why on earth should I risk my life fighting them?
Clarity!
With this in mind, the question arises: "Do I trust that temporary beaches of constitutionality negate all that the US stands for?"
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
those like Tim who have decided that we must be perfect"
No, only that we try to be, and that we do not try to excuse or hide events such as that that should be atypical.
Tim,
a) what IS "perfect"? Give me the definition please so we may know what standard we must meet?

b) Abu Ghraib was NOT hidden, by either the Army or the Press

c) It IS atypical....

So I would assume that we can STFU about this issue.

If there is to be no moral difference between us and them, why on earth should I risk my life fighting them?
Clarity!
With this in mind, the question arises: "Do I trust that temporary beaches of constitutionality negate all that the US stands for?"
Since there IS a moral difference to us, I guess this argument is moot. Or have I missed the spate of suicide bombings, and beheadings BY the US military?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Isn’t this interesting, the Surge is "Failing" so what do we ahve to dredge up? Why Abu Ghraib, of course? I mean it’s our My Lai...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Seymour Hersh and you just like trotting out Abu Ghraib, perodically just to remind us of our faults and evil..."

I don’t know about Hersh, but do you have examples of where I periodically trot out Abu Ghraib? If I do, they should be easy to find.

" "Do I trust that temporary beaches of constitutionality negate all that the US stands for?""

Like temporary taxes? Do you trust that such breaches would be temporary? Is precedent temporary?

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
There is a difference between a will to fight and a will to excuse acts of barbarism performed in the name of that fight.
Not if winning is the agenda.

You’re either willing to do what’s necessary to win or you’re not. If you’re not, you’ve already lost.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I’m sorry Tim, rhetorical excess.

Bithead, IF Sy Hersh is a jerk for wailing and moaning about the "torture" at Abu Ghraib and the "injustice" meted out to a Maj. General, I think you go to far in the opposite direction.

I want to win in Iraq and the war in Terror, in general, just as I wanted to win the Second World War, BUT not everything is on the table to win...if to beat Japan/Germany/Iraq were required, or rather THOUGHT to be required, I would not support the neutering of Iraqi men and the slaughter of Iraqi children.

What Tim and Sy and Jon are doing is saying that Abu Ghraib=that, when patently it isn’t true, or that Abu Ghraib puts on the path to that...and that’s silly.

So there not only isn’t a "hypothetical" middle ground we must achieve, but I would argue that we are on the low end of that acceptable action level.

Next I expect Jon to be posting on the injustices being meted out to the inmates of Guantanamo Bay and a paen to "Open Borders."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You’re either willing to do what’s necessary to win or you’re not. If you’re not, you’ve already lost.
That was the logic behind "the final solution." If one is not bound by any moral limits except ’whatever it takes,’ then the result can be genocide and barbarism. And, ultimately, that does more harm than good. That’s one very practical reason to avoid torture — it doesn’t work, it helps the enemy recruit by painting us as evil savages (torpedoing the reality of how we usually do business — one bad apple and all that), and causes allies to rethink their support.

What constitutes torture is, however, a valid question. But if we don’t live up to our values as a society, we’ve already suffered a defeat.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’ve got a saying: If hooking a guy’s testicals to a car battery will get us information that will save a life (or as most would be the case), I have two things to tell you. Red is positive, black is negative.
Well, Scott… that is just plain stupid.
A man’s testicles are not polarized, so it doesn’t matter that red is positive and black is negative.

Also, I don’t think that we should judge our government, our country, her citizens and military on a “relative scale”.

And what is so hard to understand about this, “Because the government won’t use it competently, because the government will abuse it, and because the government will find new, inappropriate contexts in which to use it.” ???

End of story.




 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
That was the logic behind "the final solution." If one is not bound by any moral limits except ’whatever it takes,’ then the result can be genocide and barbarism. And, ultimately, that does more harm than good. That’s one very practical reason to avoid torture — it doesn’t work, it helps the enemy recruit by painting us as evil savages
That’s rich. The enemy is routinely blowing up cars in crowded markets and beheading people with knives and you’re worried about us being painted as evil savages for doing stupid stuff like stacking the car bombers in nude pyramids?
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
"Seymour Hersh and you just like trotting out Abu Ghraib, perodically just to remind us of our faults and evil..."

Upon further thought, this is a rather odd comment. You did read what this thread was about before you hit the comments button, right? Your remark should be addressed to Jon Henke.

"You’re either willing to do what’s necessary to win or you’re not"

You think it is necessary, I don’t.

"What Tim and Sy and Jon are doing is saying that Abu Ghraib=that,"

I can’t speak for the others, but that is not what I am saying.

"or that Abu Ghraib puts on the path to that."

Not necessarily, and I want to make sure by stomping on such actions to make sure they do not become commonplace. Part of that includes holding those in charge responsible. Publicly.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
That was the logic behind "the final solution."
And thereby was the logic behind the response.
Dresden, for example.

And, Scott?
It DOES work, all too well...

For example, you may want to check a NYT article on the point.

I would also refer you to Byron York, who said last month:

The new issue of The Atlantic has a piece by Mark Bowden, “The Ploy,” about the American interrogation team in Iraq that found Abu Masab al-Zarqawi. It is teased as “the inside story of how the interrogators of Task Force 145 cracked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s inner circle — without resorting to torture — and hunted down al-Qaeda’s man in Iraq.”

The torture reference is interesting, because the story suggests that the legacy of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib has actually been useful to American intelligence agents. Iraqi terrorists do not, it appears, believe the U.S. has cleaned up procedures at Abu Ghraib, so if a detainee is being interrogated elsewhere in Iraq, and it is not going well, and the interrogator suggests that perhaps it’s time for the detainee to be transferred to Abu Ghraib — well, that sometimes inspires prisoners to start talking.
Exactly so. As an example:

After a lot of extraordinarily clever misdirection, the American interrogator cut to the chase. “You have information you could trade,” he told Abu Haydr. “It is your only source of leverage right now. You don’t want to go to Abu Ghraib, and I can help you, but you have to give me something in trade.”
The basis of the success of that interrogator was primarily due to the fact that the individual in question did not want to be given ‘the treatment’. So much for the argument about how torture is ineffectual. The fact is it does work; it works quite well, and this incident proves it rather nicely. That’s how the real world works.


And so here’s your moral question of the day: How many lives were saved because of the mere threat of torture? Would not using all available methods to save those lives have been immoral?

You guys are all dancing around on this because you’re not defining things the way they are in the real world.

War, by definition, is the absence of morality.
You have the ability to bring about morality only AFTER you’ve won the war.
Declaring something moral or immoral is a luxury that only those who have won the war can claim. Doing so before the war is won, is the fastest way to lose.

There are of course, those who desire that end.









 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Two quick points:

(1) Read the entire article. Leave aside Hersh’s own innuendo — just think about what was said by Taguba and a few others. Going beyond the obviously immoral, illegal and generally awful things done by the MPs, the problem stretched to far more people. But Taguba was not allowed to investigate the crime...he was only allowed to investigate the Military Police. When the orders came from elsewhere, Taguba was prevented from following the investigation where it led.


(2) It is precisely because I believe we are better than our enemies that I criticize these things and charge people with being dishonorable. I will never understand why some people are so willing to excuse and tolerate these things - to respond to such criticism with shut up and clap louder.

(3) This is inference and disingenuous.
"What Tim and Sy and Jon are doing is saying that Abu Ghraib=that, when patently it isn’t true, or that Abu Ghraib puts on the path to that...and that’s silly."
I don’t pretend to know what others think, but I’m quite sure you also don’t know what I think beyond what I’ve written. I haven’t written that the actions described in that article by Taguba and others is equivalent to Nazi Germany, so I’ll thank you not to put words in my mouth.


(4) Again, it’s apparent that some of you either didn’t read the article or weren’t able to grasp that this was, according to General Taguba, about more than what some MPs did on one night shift. Read the article first, and don’t pretend that this was simply about waterboarding an al Qaeda terrorist. It wasn’t.

 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
You think it is necessary, I don’t.
A fair statement. For the most part, I don’t think it’s necessary either, though it does have its uses... as demonstrated above.

The larger issue, however, is the amount of moralizing going on back and forth over it, and it’s effects on our ability to win. All the other stuff side, I’m of the view that that factor is one of the largest in pushing us toward defeat.

I understand and sympathize with the remainder of your comment, Tim, but I think you’re missing the effect that hyper examination is having on our ability to win.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
The enemy is routinely blowing up cars in crowded markets and beheading people with knives and you’re worried about us being painted as evil savages for doing stupid stuff like stacking the car bombers in nude pyramids?
Yes, yes I am. I also worry about...

(1) ...ruthless criminals in my city, but I don’t believe we ought to abuse/torture/molest criminals and suspected criminals.

(2) ...the fact that you think that article was about stacking nude prisoners.

(3) ...the fact that many seem to be arguing that what went on in Abu Ghraib was justified, because we’re dealing with terrorism...when, in fact, according to General Taguba who conducted the investigation, there were only one or two al Qaeda suspects in Abu Ghraib.

(4) ...according to Taguba, this kind of lawlessness was rampant, directed and uncontrolled outside of Abu Ghraib.

(5) ...the fact that many seem to have an ’as long as we’re better than them, don’t complain" attitude.


I’m amazed that people think this is necessary, even laudable. This attitude reminds me of something Ed Morrissey once wrote about J. Edgar Hoover:
At first, this attorney-cum-supercop only wanted to make America safer, but in short order, this bureaucrat re-enacted every Machiavellian nightmare while transforming a backwater investigative office into the free world’s most effective police force.
For that reason, Morrissey named Hoover the "Worst American in national history." And yet, there are people absolutely clamoring for exactly what he did.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
You’re either willing to do what’s necessary to win or you’re not. If you’re not, you’ve already lost.
Torturing a large number of detainees is harmful to the chances winning.

There is no real value in having a widespread practice of torture, as the best way to win is to get most everyone on your side. Practicing tactics of torture and blowing up neighbourhoods is the diplomatic equivalent of wandering round with your underpants on your head and waving a machete - not going to attract support. Basically potential allies will look at you and see you are torturing those people who hold dissenting views knowing they hold some other dissenting views...
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
I’m amazed that people think this is necessary, even laudable.
I don’t think what happened there was necessary or laudable. I think it was damned unprofessional and the officers in charge should never have let it happen. But this whole affair doesn’t even rise anywhere near the level of a My Lai massacre yet we’re wringing our hands like we’ve been running some kind of Lubyanka Prison. That’s stupid. The MP’s did some very unprofessional things, the Army investigated it, and those responsible were punished for it.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
Anyone who claims that war by definition is an absence of morality denies international law, American military practices, and almost all theories of war and international conflict. Morality does not end when war begins. Anyone who says so has no understanding of what he is talking about. That kind of thinking, in fact, underlies the basis of the final solution, the Rwandan genocide and other mass atrocities in human history. We are much better than that precisely because we don’t give up our moral honor even in the worst conditions.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
the best way to win is to get most everyone on your side. Practicing tactics of torture and blowing up neighborhoods is the diplomatic equivalent of wandering round with your underpants on your head and waving a machete
Oh I see. We shouldn’t have bombed Germany into rubble or nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If we had just reasoned with the Germans and the Japanese we could have won them to our side and saved hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. The defeated Nazis and Japanese must have thought we were pretty silly showing up at the armistice with our underwear on our heads.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
this whole affair doesn’t even rise anywhere near the level of a My Lai massacre
And the murder of a family in Richmond last year doesn’t rise to the level of the Holocaust. Yet, many of us cared about what happened in Richmond, and deplored the tragedy. Arguing that "something else was worse" is simply misdirection on your part.
The MP’s did some very unprofessional things, the Army investigated it, and those responsible were punished for it.
They were? Do tell, what happened to the Military Intelligence operatives? What happened to the other people Taguba has described?

I would very much like to know what you think has happened to them. Or, failing that, why you didn’t bother to read the article and figure out that this wasn’t simply about a few MPs fooling around on the night shift.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Oh I see. We shouldn’t have bombed Germany into rubble or nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If we had just reasoned with the Germans and the Japanese we could have won them to our side and saved hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. The defeated Nazis and Japanese must have thought we were pretty silly showing up at the armistice with our underwear on our heads.
Bob, I think goes to different issues, but you actually raise debatable questions. It is unlikely that destroying Dresden and Cologne did anything to end the war more quickly and pretty much just slaughtered civilians. Nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki did obviously bring about a quicker end, but given the damage to civilians one could question why we didn’t blockade an alread all but defeated empire, or at least choose different targets. But materially what you describe wasn’t at all what defeated Germany and Japan so even if we hadn’t done those things they would have still been defeated. The only question in Japan’s case is what the cost of an alternative way of ending the war would have been. But Japan’s empire was already broken.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Anyone who claims that war by definition is an absence of morality denies international law
We broke a lot of "international law" during WWII and the only reason that law was ever codified was because we did whatever it took to that war. It was morally questionable to ally ourselves with Joseph Stalin, who was arguably worse than Hitler. Was our final victory not honorable?
Morality does not end when war begins. Anyone who says so has no understanding of what he is talking about. That kind of thinking, in fact, underlies the basis of the final solution, the Rwandan genocide and other mass atrocities in human history.
You’re wrong. War is never moral. Some people think the reason we are still sloughing it out in Iraq this long is because we are trying to fight a "clean" war and that we’ll never win until we break the will of the enemy to resist. I think there may be some merit in that reasoning.
We are much better than that precisely because we don’t give up our moral honor even in the worst conditions.
That’s why we need academics like you to on the campus and people like General Sherman on the battlefield.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
Well then I’d say you have no concept of morality nor that which constitutes moral stamina
So am I to understand that you’re calling the morality of our troops into question, and yet you can’t understand why there’s such a morale problem here at home?
However thorough or wanting their investigation and punishment may have been, the criminal abuses perpetrated by the leering halfwits at Abu Ghraib are in no wise indicative of the morality, honor or professionalism of the vast numbers of American service men and women — who to this day lay their lives on the line in Iraq. To suggest that they are of a piece with the goons at Abu Ghraib is unconscionable, and a wanton contribution to the very "morale problem" you decry.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
We shouldn’t have bombed Germany into rubble or nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If we had just reasoned with the Germans and the Japanese we could have won them to our side and saved hundreds of thousands of men, women and children.
Don’t be stupid, they were the enemy, killing them & hurting their morale, production and infrastructure through strategic bombing was legitimate warfare, because they were the enemy. Torturing Iraqis and going all guns blazing into neighbourhoods where an IED is set is counterproductive to gaining support in Iraq, because it lights up as clear as day to the people of Iraq that you think the people of Iraq are the enemy.

Killing and hurting is what you do to enemy people. People you kill and hurt are therefore your enemies. If you want other peoples support you must not make them your enemy. Really simple.

The point of warfare is to have as few enemies as possible and as many on your side as possible.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
The enemy as a collective identity is simply wrong. Killing civilians means killing real humans, people often as good as any of us. If killing them does not help achieve the goal (the Germany bombings seemed to increase German morale) or isn’t necessary, then it’s morally wrong. Creating collective identities can be dangerous business.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You’re wrong. War is never moral. Some people think the reason we are still sloughing it out in Iraq this long is because we are trying to fight a "clean" war and that we’ll never win until we break the will of the enemy to resist. I think there may be some merit in that reasoning.
Yes, this may be correct.

Who is the enemy? You will define them by who you attack.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
If killing them does not help achieve the goal (the Germany bombings seemed to increase German morale) or isn’t necessary, then it’s morally wrong.
And if it increased Allied morale and diverted resources from their frontline units more so, then it’s morally right.
Killing civilians means killing real humans, people often as good as any of us.
Living amoung the nice German people were "little Eichmanns", who were worse than us.

Creating collective identities is the basis of war, the point is to ensure that the maximum force is on our side and the minimum on theirs. We cannot avoid it completely, because the enemy will not do so.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Living amoung the nice German people were "little Eichmanns", who were worse than us.
We couldn’t have beaten Germany, if as a precondition we had to sort out the good Germans from the bad Nazis, and selectively fight the bad Nazis. A lot of good Germans had to suffer because of the Nazis. That’s the way it goes.

Similarly, it’s impossible to sort out the good Iraqis from the car-bombing Bathists and Islamists. The only way to win this war is to totally up-end their world to the point that they have to depend on us for everything, especially food.

Now maybe the actions of Saddam’s regime didn’t warrant something as terrible as war. A good argument could be made for that...and I’m not sure I’d disagree. However, Saddam could have done a lot to defuse the situation. He lost the first Gulf War and as a result conditions were placed on him like allowing us to freely inspect his country for WMD. Those conditions chafed his pride and over time he became less willing to meet our conditions. If he had backed down his henchmen would still be running Abu Ghraib today and Uday and Qusay Hussein would still be terrorizing the Iranian Olympic Team and the Iraqi public in general.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
Similarly, it’s impossible to sort out the good Iraqis from the car-bombing Bathists and Islamists.
I disagree. What is impossible from 10,000ft is a lot easier face to face. America has beaten Saddam so that it can gain assistance from the Iraqis, not so it can terrorise in his stead. It is a matter of finding commonality with enough of them to make a force with them.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Because the government won’t use it competently, because the government will abuse it, and because the government will find new, inappropriate contexts in which to use it.
1. If I recall correctly, there was a list of approved "tortures" and sodomy nor anything remotely like it was on it. And it required approval from the highest level to get more coercive than a standard domestic police investigation, so likening any of the incidences of abuse Hersh is writing about to government approved torture is a non-sequitur.

2. The sodomy incident must have been a completely different thing from the Abu Ghraib incident we all know and love because the General describes it as an interogator committing the sodomy. From what I understand, all of Iraqi subjects of the famous photos were simple criminal detainees, not war detainees, and none of them were ever interogated for anything, ever. But in the text Hersh glides from the incident right into the other as if they were related.

But it’s okay, because US law now says we can’t even offend captured insurgents’ dignity. And everyone knows what that means...right?

yours/
peter.



 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
But Taguba was not allowed to investigate the crime...he was only allowed to investigate the Military Police
Taguba Report - investigated 800th MP Brigade - Completed March 2004

Fay Report - Investigated 205th MI Brigade - Completed August 2004

Both reports take officers and senior NCOs to task for their failures and recommended non-criminal punsihments.

Again, Jon, I ask:
Which specific people mentioned in the Hersh article committed crimes and escaped punishment?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Anyone who claims that war by definition is an absence of morality denies international law
You mean acts of war are not against international law?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Actually, there were a number of people who committed crimes, both obvious and less obvious. From an honor code perspective:
When Taguba urged one lieutenant general to look at the photographs, he rebuffed him, saying, “I don’t want to get involved by looking, because what do you do with that information, once you know what they show?”
...how does a person square this attitude with their responsibility and the duty to maintain discipline and honor that they undertake in that position? Do you think it is honorable and befitting a General to say ’I don’t want to know, because then I would have to do something about it’? That strikes me as dereliction of duty — dishonorable, even if not actionable.

Rumsfeld was notified pretty early on about the photographs and what had been happening in Abu Ghraib. Why didn’t he follow up on that? Why did he feign ignorance/or remain ignorant of his own departments reports?

Taguba said...
“These M.P. troops were not that creative,” he said. “Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box.”
Please tell me why he was prevented from looking higher up and what has happened to the people in higher authority. If nothing has happened, then my point is made.

More...
Taguba’s assignment was limited to investigating the 800th M.P.s, but he quickly found signs of the involvement of military intelligence—both the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, commanded by Colonel Thomas Pappas, which worked closely with the M.P.s, and what were called “other government agencies,” or O.G.A.s, a euphemism for the C.I.A. and special-operations units operating undercover in Iraq.
Please describe the punishments meted out to the 205th MI — operators and leadership, please — as well as to the OGA’s described.

More...
Taguba came to believe that Lieutenant General Sanchez, the Army commander in Iraq, and some of the generals assigned to the military headquarters in Baghdad had extensive knowledge of the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib even before Joseph Darby came forward with the CD. Taguba was aware that in the fall of 2003—when much of the abuse took place—Sanchez routinely visited the prison, and witnessed at least one interrogation. According to Taguba, “Sanchez knew exactly what was going on.”
Again, the chain of command was exempted from investigation. Why did we exempt them from the investigation?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
However thorough or wanting their investigation and punishment may have been, the criminal abuses perpetrated by the leering halfwits at Abu Ghraib are in no wise indicative of the morality, honor or professionalism of the vast numbers of American service men and women — who to this day lay their lives on the line in Iraq. To suggest that they are of a piece with the goons at Abu Ghraib is unconscionable, and a wanton contribution to the very "morale problem" you decry.
no argument. And I suggest that the mixing of the two situations muddies the water inexorably, and further suggest that was precisely what was sought by bringing them into the conversation in the first place.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Torturing a large number of detainees is harmful to the chances winning.


We don’t substantially disagree.
Please see my response to Tim.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Just noticed this, sorry...

Bithead, IF Sy Hersh is a jerk for wailing and moaning about the "torture" at Abu Ghraib and the "injustice" meted out to a Maj. General, I think you go to far in the opposite direction.

I want to win in Iraq and the war in Terror, in general, just as I wanted to win the Second World War, BUT not everything is on the table to win...if to beat Japan/Germany/Iraq were required, or rather THOUGHT to be required, I would not support the neutering of Iraqi men and the slaughter of Iraqi children
If winning is it all on your agenda, everything has to be on the table. Because the one thing that you will not respond to, the one thing that you will not do, is the one thing that’s going to be exploited by your enemy. And you will lose.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Please tell me why he was prevented from looking higher up and what has happened to the people in higher authority. If nothing has happened, then my point is made.
Recommendations from the executive summary of the Taguba Report:
1. (U) That BG Janis L. Karpinski, Commander, 800th MP Brigade be Relieved from Command and given a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand
She was relieved of command, demoted, and officially reprimanded.
2. (U) That COL Thomas M. Pappas, Commander, 205th MI Brigade, be given a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand and Investigated UP Procedure 15, AR 381-10, US Army Intelligence Activities
He was investigated, officially reprimanded, and fined.
3. (U) That LTC (P) Jerry L. Phillabaum, Commander, 320th MP Battalion, be Relieved from Command, be given a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand, and be removed from the Colonel/O-6 Promotion List
He was relieved from command, officially reprimanded, and removed from the promotion list.
4. (U) That LTC Steven L. Jordan, Former Director, Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center and Liaison Officer to 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, be relieved from duty and be given a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand
He is currently on trial with criminal charges.

From the conclusion of the executive summary:
CONCLUSION

1. (U) Several US Army Soldiers have committed egregious acts and grave breaches of international law at Abu Ghraib/BCCF and Camp Bucca, Iraq. Furthermore, key senior leaders in both the 800th MP Brigade and the 205th MI Brigade failed to comply with established regulations, policies, and command directives in preventing detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib (BCCF) and at Camp Bucca during the period August 2003 to February 2004.
There is no mention of orders from anyone that required the criminal abuse.

From Taguba’s congressional testimony:
However, during the course of my team’s investigation, we gathered evidence pertaining to the involvement of several military intelligence personnel or contractors assigned to the 205th M.I. Brigade and the alleged detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib.

As stated in the findings of the investigation, we recommended that a separate investigation be initiated under the provisions of procedure 15, Army regulation 381-10, concerning possible improper interrogation practices in this case.
The separate investigation took place. Has he found evidence of any other involvement? Nope...he further states:
At the end of the day, a few soldiers and civilians conspired to abuse and conduct egregious acts of violence against detainees and other civilians outside the bounds of international law and the Geneva Convention.
And
WARNER: [...] In simple words — your own soldier’s language — how did this happen?

TAGUBA: Failure in leadership, sir, from the brigade commander on down. Lack of discipline, no training whatsoever and no supervision. Supervisory omission was rampant. Those are my comments.
and
MCCAIN: In your judgment, were these abuses as a result of an overall military or intelligence policy to quote, "soften up detainees for interrogation"?

TAGUBA: Sir, we did not gain any evidence where it was an overall military intelligence policy of the sort. I think it was a matter of soldiers with their interaction with military intelligence personnel who they perceived or thought to be competent authority that were giving them or influencing their action to set the conditions for a successful interrogations operations.
And
BYRD: [...] General Taguba, based on your investigation, who gave the order to soften up these prisoners, to give them the treatment? Was this a policy? Who approved it?

TAGUBA: Sir, we did not find any evidence of a policy or a direct order given to these soldiers to conduct what they did. I believe that they did it on their own volition. I believe that we did collaborate it with several M.I. interrogators at the lower level, based on the conveyance of that information through interviews and written statements.

TAGUBA: We didn’t find any order whatsoever, sir, written or otherwise, that directed them to do what they did.
And
BYRD: Doesn’t the lack of training of our troops for prison duty actually demonstrate a monumental failure in planning for the long- term occupation of Iraq? How else could the military and civilian leadership of the Pentagon explain why this training wasn’t even offered?

TAGUBA: Sir, the training of the Geneva Convention is inherent every time from as a recruit all the way up to my rank level.

In terms of these M.P.s, as far as internment and resettlement, some of them received training at home station and the mob station and some did not. And that was our recommendation, that a mobile training team be deployed to theater to ensure that they are in compliance with training tasks to do that.

And there was a capacity to do that during the conduct of their operation, because there were competent battalion commanders. The battalion commander at Camp Arifjan was conducting his detention operation to standard. At Camp Buka, they did that at Camp Buka. And also at Camp Cropper. Somehow it did not pan out at Abu Ghraib.
And
ROBERTS: [...] In your report, you indicated that the 800th Military Brigade had not been directed to change its policies and procedures to set conditions for intelligence interrogations, but you concluded indeed such changes had been made at lower levels.

Were these changes made at the battalion or the company level?

TAGUBA: Sir, we didn’t find any changes either at the company or the battalion or even at the brigade.

ROBERTS: I’m going to repeat the question by Senator Byrd: Did these changes result from orders or direction from the military intelligence unit at the prison.

TAGUBA: Sir, there were interaction between the guards and the military interrogators at that level.

ROBERTS: But the changes were not policy?

TAGUBA: No, sir.
And
AKAKA: General Taguba, your report finds that two contractors were either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Were either of these contracted personnel supervising soldiers or in a position to direct soldiers to take specific actions?

TAGUBA: Sir, they were not in anyway supervising any soldiers, M.P. or otherwise. However, the guards — those who were involved — looked at them as competent authority, as in the manner by which they described them — as the M.I., or by name, or by function.
And
TALENT: General Taguba, your report, I think if we summed it up, would say that the unit at the prison was underdisciplined, undermanned and poorly led. Is that a fair summation?

TAGUBA: Sir, very fair.
And
BEN NELSON: [...] Having said that, General Taguba, in your opinion this is not a top-down problem. I think what you’re saying is that this was something that may have been spontaneous, but an abuse involving only a handful — last week, the operative word was few individuals — but I think that right now I think that perhaps it’s a limited number of people. Is that accurate?

TAGUBA: Yes, sir. Based on the interviews and the statements that were given to us by both the detainees, M.P. personnel, and those that we examined. There were others, but we just could not track them down.
And
CHAMBLISS: OK. General, there’s something that has puzzled me throughout this process that’s has evolved over the last — or been made public over the last 10 days or so. And one thing is the fact that Major General Ryder went in there in October and November of 2003 and did a report.

And his report, according to your report — his objective was to, "observe detention and prison operations, identify potential systemic and human rights issues, and provide near-term, midterm and long-term recommendations to improve operations in Iraqi prison system."

Yet he — during the time that he was there in Abu Ghraib, some of these instances were occurring. I think your report confirms that. Certainly, when he testified the other day in the Intelligence Committee that was obvious.

I have asked the question, privately and publicly: Why didn’t somebody come forward and tell Major General Ryder about this during the time that he was there when these incidents were going on?

Do you have any — can you shed any light on that particular question?

TAGUBA: Sir, I read General Ryder’s report. I did not discuss it with him. I know that in — within the content of his report, he visited quite a bit of the detention centers, not just exclusively Abu Ghraib.

You know, the results, of course, with his recommendations, I agreed with, in terms of put things under a single command and control, things of that nature.

And I don’t want to speculate about anything about with regards to any knowledge of detainee abuse having not been reported or being reported up the chain of command.

TAGUBA: It was apparent in our investigation that these things were happening, but we were puzzled also at the fact, sir, that none of this stuff was going above the battalion commander level. And that’s what we concluded that none of this stuff was going above the battalion commander level.
And
CORNYN: [...] General Taguba, Chairman Warner asked, I believe, earlier the question, "What went wrong?" And you answered, "There was a failure of leadership from the brigade level and down."

In your investigation, did you find any evidence — any evidence whatsoever that culpability extended beyond the brigade level?

TAGUBA: No, sir, we did not. However, we did recommend, based on some evidence that we gathered of the complicity of M.I. interrogators and we recommended that that would be — a separate investigation be provided under procedure 15 of 380-10.
And
GRAHAM: Part of the defense that we’re going to be hearing about in these courts-martial is that the people that we’re charging are going to say this system that we see photographic evidence of was at least encouraged if not directed by others. Do you think that’s an accurate statement?

TAGUBA: Sir, I would say that they were probably influenced by others, but not necessarily directed specifically by others.
Hmmm... It’s seems like MG Taguba had plenty of opportunity to tell us about ANY evidence he had that there was some responsibility from those in "higher authority" above the brigade commanders.

In fact, he repeatedly stated that there was NO evidence of criminal culpability or dereliction of duty from anyone above BG Karpinski, despite claims from her or Hersh.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Wow. Great legwork, JWG. You made it look easy.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Bithead, there is international law about when going to war is justified, and international law concerning acts of war which are legal, and those which are illegal. They may not always be followed, but there is virtually universal support for the idea that war has moral boundaries (and that’s accepted by the US military very strongly).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Bithead, there is international law about when going to war is justified, and international law concerning acts of war which are legal, and those which are illegal.
And when, pray tell, was the last time the war was justified by these lights? It’s not a situation of them occasionally not being followed, these laws, but the fact that they were never followed. Not once.

When you can deal in reality, give me a call.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Never followed?! Most laws of war are followed; they are least followed in places with poor political organization (third world states). They are almost always followed by American and European military personnel when engaged in conflict. Even Nazi Germany followed most laws of war on the books at that time. Enforcement is improving as well, with tribunals on Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and now an active, functioning International Criminal Court. And you say "never followed. Not once." Call back when you start to deal in reality and you learn a bit about the subject matter.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"In fact, he repeatedly stated that there was NO evidence of criminal culpability or dereliction of duty from anyone above BG Karpinski, despite claims from her or Hersh."
OK. That was testimony under oath.

I am a little slow, so I had to check the link to make certain:
”WARNER: I’ll ask the witnesses to rise. Raise your right hand.
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony that you are about to give before the Committee of the Armed Services of the United States Senate will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
TAGUBA: I do.
Now he is retired. Anyone want to guess his political affiliations? He gives this exclusive interview with Hersh of The New Yorker that directly contradicts his prior sworn testimony. Emphasis: he ain’t on Limbaugh’s show.

The article wishes us to believe in the integrity of General Taguba; yet JWG’s commnent containing his testimony shows him lying under oath while still eligible for perhaps another star. Either that or he is lying now. Let us be tolerant (?) and assume that his now-proclaimed knowledge of the involvement of higher-ups came about after his sworn testimony.

How many times does hearing “The Rest Of The Story” have to come out this way before people stop taking sources such as The New Yorker as reliable information?
”And in the aftermath, dishonorable people escaped justice, while honorable people were treated dishonorably. “
I don’t think that the offered proof of this statement has held up, at least as it concerns the issue at hand.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Taguba was prevented from even investigating further up the chain of command. No investigation followed up on that. Taguba specifically said that these were not direct, hard-copy orders being given — that it was off-the-books.

Again, read the whole story. Explain why the OGA’s were unexplored, for instance. Or any of the other areas generally left un- or under-investigated.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Taguba was prevented from even investigating further up the chain of command.
He was also prevented from investigating the actions of the 205th MI Brigade and civilians, but he found evidence of their involvement and wrote about it in his report recommending further investigation.
No investigation followed up on [the chain of command].
He reported that NO EVIDENCE EXISTED of involvement, direct or indirect, from anyone higher than BG Karpinski.

Are you suggesting that Taguba should have been allowed to go on a fishing expedition, based on no available evidence, all the way up to the president?

No investigation followed up because there was no evidence to follow up.
Taguba specifically said that these were not direct, hard-copy orders being given — that it was off-the-books.
Yes, he said he suspected it was from "several M.I. interrogators at the lower level."
Explain why the OGA’s were unexplored
They weren’t.

Jon, your complaint, based on the Hersh story of Taguba, is that Taguba was not authorized to investigate beyond the 800th MP Brigade. I don’t understand why you assume that means no one else was investigated. There were many investigations into the actions at Abu Ghraib.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I guess that I just overlooked your point. I thought that you were claiming that the New Yorker had the goods on the bad guys. You now clarify that you are only saying that the investigation, although a prime political football at the time, the subject of the linked Congressional hearings and with some senior military folks providing appropriate leaks, failed to nail the bad guys. IOW, despite all this, the cover-up was successful. OK. That seems to square with the known facts and common sense, considering the General’s sworn testimony that the buck stopped at the level he clearly stated that it did.

So what is to be done about that at this time? We could go after the Democrats who failed to adequately investigate the dishonorable scoundrels in the Administration. Uh, I’m not sure why that is inappropriate. But, like the Gang of 88, you seem to have your priorities in order and your outrage directed at the targets you prefer, all admittedly without benefit of the investigations that you mention, but do not seem to need in order to find guilt.

That being the case, I suggest that your post was awkwardly presented, thus setting off the beside-your-point commenting above.

sarcasm/humor alert
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Never followed?! Most laws of war are followed; they are least followed in places with poor political organization (third world states). They are almost always followed by American and European military personnel when engaged in conflict. Even Nazi Germany followed most laws of war on the books at that time
Tell that to the victims of Treblinka.
Auschwitz. And so on.

At what point where the Geneva conventions followed for the duration of the war by both sides... of ANY war?

Don’t tell me about where they almost managed to get through war without violating the terms. I’m not interested. Tell me when they manage to get all the way through it without violating the terms.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Bithead, you said the laws of war are never followed, not one. Even Nazi Germany followed most of them. And the holocaust was outside of the laws of war at that time, something remedied afterwards by international agreement (a good article explains this). You utterly ignore my examples of European and American military forces following them almost completely in their engagements. You seem to have dishonestly slid from saying "never" and "not one" to "not completely followed in every instance in a war." You’ve changed your meaning 100% in order to avoid having to admit you were wrong. How utterly pathetic. Face it, you were wrong. Be a man and admit it.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Again, read the whole story. Explain why the OGA’s were unexplored, for instance. Or any of the other areas generally left un- or under-investigated.
Maybe it’s because the military doesn’t have jurisdiction over OGA’s. As I recall the CIA did an investigation of their own. And how do you know the other areas weren’t investigated? Gen. Taguba wasn’t the only one investigating allegations of abuse.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
Short response, as I’m buried: I’ve read Taguba’s testimony. While I agree that, within his very narrow area of investigation, he stipulated that there were no "direct orders" from above a certain level, I think his point (contained within that story) is not that there were direct orders given from higher ups in one area or another — perhaps there were, perhaps there weren’t — but that various orgs were essentially having their muzzles taken off, and allowed to operate in a "get it done and don’t tell" environment. Higher-ups had a "if we don’t know about it, we can’t be responsible and don’t have to stop it" attitude.

Look, while I oppose torture and abuse as policy, I understand that there may be times when the rules need to be broken. We can’t make a law that covers every eventuality. But I also think that the people who take that step should accept responsibility. There needs to be process.

If it really is imperative that we torture/abuse somebody, then the person who makes that decision should be prepared to defend it. If they were right, great - if not, they should suffer the consequences.

I’m tempted by the idea of the "torture warrant", if only because it would provide a process and force people to justify their decision. Perhaps we’d never find it justifiable....and I wouldn’t mind that. I believe we can win the war on terror without stooping to that kind of behavior.

Indeed, I believe it is more likely in the long run that we will win the war on terror precisely because we are seen as a nation that will not stoop to that kind of behavior. Our soft power is ultimately far more important than our hard power.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Bithead, you said the laws of war are never followed, not one.
Correct. Name one war where the laws were followed for the duration.
I’m still waiting. You’re wrong, Scott.

Look, while I oppose torture and abuse as policy, I understand that there may be times when the rules need to be broken.
Interesting. A crack of light. And you know what? We agree, in large degree. Notice, please, that in all of my postings on the topic, I have never suggested torture as a policy. Rather, my focus has been on how we wrap ourselves up tighter than a cheap watch, every time the subject comes up. I find that concern misplaced at least. That’s a simple recognition that it’s occasionally necessary. It’s also a recognition however that the overly large amounts of concern that we show over it does nothing but provide a weapon for our enemy,a nd as I’ve been suggesting, destroys our own will to fight.
If it really is imperative that we torture/abuse somebody, then the person who makes that decision should be prepared to defend it. If they were right, great - if not, they should suffer the consequences.
Again, interesting.

However, there are number of consequences that descend from this statement. Who gets to decide such matters? Invariably, it will end up being people who are less than directly affected by the decisions made, and who, as a rule, have never cast a shadow on the battlefield. it would seem "a jury of their peers " is an impossibility, here.

Further, whether that choice was right or wrong, it is strictly speaking in violation of the rules and regardless of the conditions leading to to the action, will end up in a court, which in it’s turn will have no choice but to find guilt. And yes, court is what it’s going to end up being in, in this legalistic society we’ve built around ourselves. Given the law, there will be no defense for such actions, be they right, wrong, or indifferent. Since when has morality ever been as simple as a law book?


Again, all these problems descend from the idea that we’re trying to maintain morality, (oddly, by means of law) within the context of a war, which by definition is the absence of law and morality. For the reasons we’ve discussed here, and a great deal more, such efforts are quite literally self defeating.








 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Oh, and Scott; If the standard is to be that the law was followed "Most of the time", isn’t that a true statement about our Iraq involvement? Why then the concern?

And ant what point has AlQuieda followed the conventions?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Correct. Name one war where the laws were followed for the duration.
I’m still waiting. You’re wrong, Scott.
Bithead’s evolution of an argument (or: Outing a dishonest propagandist).

Bithead first argued that there was no laws governing war, that anything was allowable in order to win. He suggested that acts of war were themselves against international law.

He was shown to be wrong, there are laws of war, numerous, and general consensus that there are moral limitations.

He then said they were not followed not one.

He was then told that most are followed, and that since WWII European and American forces almost always follow them.

Finally, so unwilling to admit he’s wrong, he’s gone to the absurd extreme of saying that his argument was really that in no war are ALL laws of war followed all the time, for the duration. That’s like saying that laws are unimportant in the United States because not all laws are followed all the time. That’s like saying that if a law is ever broken, the law is useless. He has weaved a web of utter absurdity all because he is not strong enough to admit he was in error.

Bithead, get some self-esteem. Admitting you were wrong doesn’t make you less of man; indeed, it generates respect. You should not be afraid to admit an error, even if you disagree politically with the person who corrected you. You made a mistake. You have a choice. Be honest and say, "OK, yes there are laws of war and they are often followed." Because what you’re doing makes you look rather ridiculous.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Bithead’s evolution of an argument (or: Outing a dishonest propagandist).

Yes, that’s what I’ve been doing.
Bithead first argued that there was no laws governing war,
No, I said laws in war don’t make any difference in the real world, since war by definition is an act of lawlessness.

The rest of your comments show a similar lack of honesty, Scott.
Not that I anticipated better. Indeed; you performed exactly as I anticipated.

And by the way, I’m still waiting;
What war has ever occurred where the ’rles’ were followed, all the way through?

Further, At what point has AlQuieda followed the conventions at all?

You give me this extensive song and dance, because you can’t answer those two questions.

Many thanks for proving my points for me.






 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Bithead, you are obstinately refusing to adopt Professor Erb’s framing of this issue. He is just as obstinately insisting on responding only in terms of his framing. Professor Erb believes that he is the quintessential fair debater; completely blind to his penchant for imposing his own framing on every issue before responding (which, incidentally, sets up his slam-dunk responses). That is why he is famed as a propagandist and bright persons refuse to debate him.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Bithead, you are simply wrong: war is not inherently lawless, and in fact as I pointed out is governed by numerous laws, laws which European and American militaries follow far more closely than the public in each country follows the general laws of the land. You also seem to ignore that major 20th century wars saw most countries follow the agreed upon laws of war. But I know you won’t admit that you’re wrong — that would require integrity. In some ways you’re a shining example of how the right has gone wrong, has moved from the Reagan party of ideas and bold initiatives, to simply attacking and refusing to admit when wrong. That’s why you’re seeing such a shift in American politics. Your time is done, Bithead. Get used to it. The Republican party is moving back towards the kind of people I’ll vote for, such as Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Bithead’s evolution of an argument (or: Outing a dishonest propagandist)."
" He has weaved a web of utter absurdity all because he is not strong enough to admit he was in error."

Oh, dear! Could those be ad hominem remarks?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The last time Europe was in a war was WWII. The only countries, that I know of, taking prisoners during those days were the UK, Germany, and Italy. I’ve read some bad stories about UK internment camps. With the Germans it was a mixed bag. If you were from the US, UK, or Canada you probably received tolerable treatment. If you were from the Soviet Union or Poland you were screwed. Towards the end of the war the Germans weren’t keen on taking any more prisoners and we had things like the Malmedy massacre take place. I haven’t heard anything about the Italian record with regards to POWs so I guess it must not have been too outrageous. Right after the war a lot of German POWs died in our internment camps under conditions that would make Abu Ghraib seem like a four star hotel. A lot of the bad things the Allies did during the Second World War got little play because we won the war and wrote the history books. Overall, the German POWs stood a much better chance of survival in a camp run by Western Allies and vice versa. Survival doesn’t mean it was always according to the Geneva Convention.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider