The torture of a twelve year old girl? Time to leave...

This is not a rant.

This is an appeal for thoughtful analysis on the part of those who would have us "stay the course ", (including JFK, by the way)

Please, let us not quibble abouth the factual accuracy of the charge below–assume (hypothetically, if you must) that it is true.
"The US military has said it will investigate claims by a former inmate of Abu Ghraib prison that a girl as young as 12 was stripped and beaten by military personnel.

Like Savak, (to whom we allegedly taught the technique) we are torturing children to force relatives to talk.

I’ll bet it works. It would work on me.

Does not this rise to a level of atrocity where you will say, we must leave, all of us, yesterday, with no reservations and no excuses?

If not, is there any level of conduct which you would consider so vile that our entire enerprise, and all who participate, are indelibly stained beyond redemption?

This is not a rhetorical question.

After all, there are a variety of horrors of which we yet have not heard, thank god.

(no ovens…)

But short of ovens, is there anything that is so bad that even if it were done only by some in our uniform, it would force us to concede that no moral good can arise from our coninued occupation?

I appreciate the effort not to rant. How can one not? Even those of us whose patriotism does not rise to the pristine heights of blind obedience have feelings for our country. (Forgive if I take shelter in sarcasm, I suck at sincere, and a true expression of feeling would require setting my hair on fire and shrieking jeremiads.)

The charges can’t be true. I cling to that for the moment, Sure, abusing grown men in the vain pretense of intelligence gathering, big swarthy hairy guys who might be considered dangerous, yeah, that’s been proven. But not children. We’re the Americans, and we don’t do things like that. As of this moment, I sincerely believe the charges are false or some sort of misunderstanding, the witness believes it is true, but it is not.

And even as I type it, I can hear Rummy’s words. All the news guys say the same thing about what he said, there is worse to come, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Maybe we misunderstood, maybe he was saying just more pictures of the same incidents. Maybe he’s rushing to the microphone right now to clarify that point.

But I doubt it. Most likely, so do you. I want to call the Jesus they gave me in Sunday School, 911, Red Alert, Come a’running, emergency. Help us. We are lost, the darkness gathers, and it is us.

One naturally hopes that these reports linked to are isolated, innocently exaggerated, and subsequently sensationalized incidences that are at their heart false.
Yet exaggerated or even false, mere proliferation does damage. People’re now more likely to believe.
If true’s even worse.

But you *can’t * dismiss it as impossible, or silly, anymore. That’s where we’ve lost. We have to earn our credibility all over again now, over more generations. All the achievements in that area of the post-war and Cold War periods have been destroyed.

Alas, I believe in my gut that there is much worse yet to come to light. And I fear that the torture of a twelve year old girl might be the least of it.

That said, though, I don’t think that the US can just pack up and leave. Damnit, we destroyed their country. I think that it would only be good form to fix what we so callously broke.

Yeah, we got a whole lotta credibility to earn. And I’m damned if I know how to do it without pissing things up even worse. But I think that we have to at least try.


Not to minimize the severity of these charges, or to minimize the PR disaster this is, but the way you’ve written this makes it sound as if this the world is going to be shocked that Americans would commit atrocities. One of the USA’s Cold War “Achievements” was Vietnam, remember. My Lai and napalmed children and all that. And funding terrorism in Nicaragua, El Salvador, places like that. You don’t actually think the world thought you were a bunch of Sir Galahads, do you? Geez, don’t believe your own press releases so religiously.

But your first point’s a good one; the incident as it’s been reported so far just means almost any accusation will be believed by a lot of people, whether it’s true or not. The real tinfoil hatters will soon be babbling about secret mass graves.


Why pick somethings as horrific as “ovens”?
If you’re going to go that far, why even assume that I’d be for a precipitous departure if there were “ovens”? Or that it wouldn’t take worse than “ovens”?
We’re obligated to an Iraq capable of lighting the way for neighboring countries so they can see the wisdom and benefits of democratic reform and the subsequent prosperity, (an influx of foreign capital in exchange for formerly state owned assets and US aid), by some of the good reasons for the invasion as well as common courtesy.

We cannot pull up stakes until we have satisfied our obligations to the best of our ability either directly or by proxy.
We’ven’t seen any of America’s A-teams take the field yet. Bush and Kerry both have better people to draw on than the ones the Admin’s chosen.

I was restrained by a desire to rein in the rhetoric before I asked the question that really sticks in my throat.

How long before we become the “good germans”?

But, anyway, when I say leave, I don’t mean without leaving behind a few hundred billion dollars, I don’t know, ten gs per cap., tweinty? Whatever it takes…but I just don’t see how we can escape the reverse midas trap here.

after this, everything we touch will turn to shit, will it not?

How many do you suppose it has to be to be “mass”?


I don’t know exactly why this particular thing grabs me, but when I first learned of the savak practice, and it’s supposed origin in the cia, it just did me in.

disclaimer: I have a daughter.

depends on what the meaning of mass murderer is, I guess.

Didn’t they hang that on john wayne gacy for fewer corpses than are rattling around the Abu Graib morgue?

Probably when we begin actual genocide. Not this ‘flashlight up the ass’ stuff; That is not the path to wiping out a people or two. You will note, Americas response to the events in Iraq are a bit different from the Nazi German response to the events in, say, Russia. There has been no ‘Fuhrer Directive’ absolving the need for American soldiers to act civilized. Rather, there have been court martials and inquiries.

Not to mention, the Grand Old Party has yet to unveil any really slick black uniforms…

Let us hope and pray that this is false. If true, then the reputation of the United States has been irreversibly harmed. The moral high ground may have been permanently abandoned. The napalmed children didn’t bother me as much as this- it seems much more personal and intimate to torture a 12 year old than to indiscriminately drop napalm on a village. In the latter, you could always say that the children weren’t the targets. In the former, you don’t have a leg to stand on. If this is true, then Rumsfeld’s head isn’t high enough to roll.

Rick, that’s true as far as it goes, but at least in our own minds we’ve been able to compartmentalize that as aberrant behavior, or born of ignorance, or side-effects of policies that were well-meaning or at least seemed so at the time. Not true here, though, this looks different. This war itself didn’t start with arguably good intentions, unlike the “anti-Communist containment” of Vietnam, or, well, almost every other dictatorship we propped up in the name of the movement. If there were a few bad eggs, a few mismanaged local events, well, nobody’s perfect. Along the way, yes, although you up there might not agree, I do believe we did manage to generally be seen as the good guys, really trying to help make the world a better place.

But the context of the Iraq incidents is a war that has no good intentions behind it - the ones presented were known by most of the world and a good part of Americans to have been bogus all along. The other wars were planned, managed closely, sometimes too closely, right up to the Presidency. This was haphazard, unplanned, unmanaged, out of the interest of a President who has newspapers recited to him in summary form. That’s the context in which the abuses, which even Rumsfeld now admits are far more widespread than has been reported so far, are being judged by the world, and most especially by the part of the world that this war was told to us we were going in to help. There are no mitigating factors this time. There is no pool of credibility to fall back on this time. There is only failure and arrogance and ideologuism and ineptitude and deliberate ignorance, no broader goals that any but the dead-enders believe had anything to do with it. My Lai was, after all, a footnote to the Vietnam war. Abu Ghraib *defines * this war.

Ah, but they have.

It is a juicy tidbit of New Jersey folklore, that the spiffy uniforms for which you pine were in fact the design of Stormin’ Norman Pere, (that is to say, Norman Schaarzkopf Senior), who while commander of the New Jersey State Police designed a sharp set of threads, which later was stolen as the design for the ss ouitfit.

you could look it up, as Casey S. used to say…

I just want to riff on this a little (it’s nothing personal Rick).

The rest of the world should be damn glad that a big chunk (a majority?) of the American public continues to believe that we’re the guys in the white hats.

Suppose the average American’s reaction to stories of torture was along the lines of ‘So? Damn wogs had it coming. We should give those guy medals and do more of it. Best thing for them, really. Teach them their place.’

The world would be our oyster and God help the pearl. The USA could establish a colonial system that would make the British of the 1800 looks like bleeding heart multiculturalists by comparison.

But as long as we continue to buy our pub then the electorate can continue to vacillate between wanting perfect security and being horrified at what that security would take. And that provides the only real rein on the american government.

We’re not as bad as Hitler! That’s a really comforting thought. Brutus, always the optimist! :rolleyes:

Great idea! Tees and Sweats don’t really project an image I’d like to be associated with. If they went upmarket like that, I might be tempted…


I don’t see this happening anytime soon. After all, I listened to McCain light into Rumsfeld today. And those hearings will be heard by the world.

And the whole, “Go in, break the china, piss in the sink and crap on the tapestries, just throw 'em a few bucks on yer way out and all will be well,” approach seems a little too, well, Led Zeppelin to me. I still believe that we absolutely need to stick around until we have fixed everything that we screwed up. And right now, I do mean “everything”.


nreleased images showed U.S. soldiers severely beating Iraqi prisoner nearly to death, having sex with a female Iraqi female prisoner and ‘acting inappropriately with a dead body.’ Also a videotape, apparently shot by U.S. personnel, showing guards raping young boys.

I guess this might fit the description…