Tuesday, May 31

The end of an era

Well, they say that all good things must come to an end, and I suppose that goes for all tolerable things as well (horrible things, as we've all figured out, last forever). I'm told that Doug arrived safely from Italy last night, accompanied by one massive case of jet lag, unaccompanied by luggage. Best of luck with that one, dude.

I have to say I've had a great time here as resident guest blogger, and not just because Doug gets about twenty times the traffic that I do (nudge, nudge). Enthusiastic discussion is always enjoyable, even when - nay, especially when - disagreements pop up, and I do appreciate that fact that most of us have been able to keep our Pampers on in the interest of sound political discourse. I can only hope for such discourse at my own (nudge, nudge) personal (nudge) blog (kick, stomp).

(/blogwhore)

I leave you with this: Amnesty International released a report last week saying that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are being mistreated and calling for the base to be shut down, on account of beatings and Quran flushings and an assortment of other allegations. In a taped interview for Larry King Live, Vice President Cheney said, "Frankly, I was offended by it. For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don?t take them seriously.?

Yes, that would be ridiculous.

I'm sure that the prisoners who got their holy book flushed down the toilet were offened by that. I know that I'm offended by a lot of things: Jump, Little Children's most recent album, Joan of Arcadia getting cancelled, the way Chung at the cafe downstairs remembers everyone's name but mine and I've been there, like, forty times, and the woman who waters her Chinese Crested in the yard in front of my apartment all offend me. But right now, the thing that offends me more than all of those is the fact that, once upon a time, it would be ridiculous to think that the US was a violator of human rights. Once upon a time, we were all about human rights, and for Amnesty International to say otherwise would be, in fact, offensive. And I'm offended by the fact that it's not out of the question anymore. And I'm also offended by the fact that Dick Cheney has the gall to take offense at the report, which isn't a sign of our innocence so much as it's a sign of his denial. And his denial offends me.

What offends you?

-Baby Sis

41 comments:

DAve said...

Not to embarrass you or anything, Ann, but you might get more traffic over to your blog if you link to it correctly in the body of the post. Don't sweat it, it happens.

ACG said...

Picky. Fixed.

Anonymous said...

Turns out that there have been dozens of Quran mistreatment incidents at Gitmo...by the interred muslims. Including ripping-up one or two.

I suggest we follow their example and the next time they burn our flag, we riot and lynch a few. That'll teach 'em.

Vestal Vespa said...

You're absolutely right, Ann. At one point, only the most hardened cynics would believe that the US was the kind of country that would do such things as we saw in the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo stories.

And when we stand up and say we should be held to a higher standard, WE'RE the ones who apparently hate America. Welcome to 1984 . . .

Steve said...

Three parts in my mind. Part 1 comes down to over-blown rhetoric. Calling Gitmo a Gulag is the equivalent of calling Bush, or whoever, Hitler. The comparisons are intended to inflame rather than paint an accurate picture. Part 2 comes down to whether you believe the US Government sanctioned or encouraged abuse of prisoners and part 3 is whether you believe what these prisoners are saying when they leave the Gulag, well fed, rested, with no obvious signs of abuse, but ready to start up their anti-American rantings.

Jeff said...

Abuses happen in prisons everywhere -- but we can't put ourselves above the law, and expect the rest of the world to just shut up and take it.

festinog said...

Steve.
It is not whether the offically sanctioned the abuse. the fact is it is being carried out in their name and they have done nothing to stop it. And when I say their name I mean your name too. What have you done to stop it?
Leaving the prison well fed and rested? Do you actually live on Earth? Incarcerated without trial for three years, accused of no crime, seperated from home, family, country and friends, and you make it sound like a holiday camp. And then take offence at them bearing anger towards AMerica? you think they chould be gratefull ath the wonderfull oppurtunity they have been given?? What the hell are you talking about man?? What are you drinking?

Ann, you asked what offends me? That. Right there. The blind arrogance that America has done no worng, has no case to answer, can stomp around the world "defending liberty" and then act surprised and offended when other contries and cultures voice disagreement. Bloody hell. Muppets.

And before you say anything Steve, I happen to love America. I am married to an American. I visit it many, many times a year and happen to think that 49% of it's population are the most hospitable, welcoming, friendly, and thoroughly decent people on Earth.

And Ann, another thing that offends me, is that I felt the need to state my non-antiAmerican status. Bugger. I'm in a bad mood now. I need a drink.

Steve said...

Not sure why you feel you need to state your non-antiAmerican status. Never questioned anyone's status and loyal opposition to the powers that be is a long standing tradition worth its long standing.

Not sure why you say nothing has been done to stop abuses. Those that have been found to have abused prisoners have and are being disciplined and prosecuted.

I didn't say it was a holiday camp, but these people aren't innocent souls either. They were captured either actively fighting American troups or plotting against them. I could give a crap if they miss their families and friends.

Steve said...

I'm not offended by them bearing anger toward America. They hated us before and a couple of years in the Gulag probably didn't improve their opinions. It is offensive when some of us automatically assume whatever comes from these people's mouths is fact and that even if some of it did happen that it's not possible that it was the work of screwed up individuals rather than sanctioned by the administration. Pick up the paper and see how the human race treats our own loved ones. The morgues and hospitals are full of our children, wives, parents and friends.

Anonymous said...

I believe there have been investigations and courts martials regarding these issues. To say that abuse goes unchallenged by the chain of command is absurd. To say that there are journalists and Americans that are more quick to think the worst of our own troops and believe their detractors seems reasonable. The majority of the detainees are people who would kill you, me and our families with glee. How THEY have become the victims is very unsettling. This has nothing to do with us holding ourselves to a higher standard. It has everything to do with balance and common sense. Remember, the soldiers at Gitmo are our neighbors, friends and family...and this is war not a law enforcement action. Get real. Why we give so much credence to a group called Amnesty International is ludicrous. They just want everyone to be happy-happy. What if their headquarters had been located in the WTC? Probably turn the other cheek, you say?

Steve said...

The following quote is from today from Donald Rumsfeld and the last sentence from an AP reporter so treat as each of our prejudices guide us.

"Yes, there have been instances where detainees have been mistreated while in U.S. custody, sometimes grievously, but consider these facts," Rumsfeld said Wednesday. "To date there have been approximately 370 criminal investigations into the charges of misconduct involving detainees" since Sept. 11, 2001. He did not mention it, but about 130 military personnel have been punished as a result of those investigations.

ACG said...

Anonymous, if these detainees really would kill "you, me and our famliies with glee," why do we keep releasing them?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you find one that has been released and invite him for a sleepover?
Seriously, I believe that they have been released because their usefulness for intelligence purposes has been exhausted. I believe that they are referred to as "detainees" not POW's. Are you saying we should detain them indefinitely?

ACG said...

What I'm saying is that if they really were that dangerous, we probably would be detaining them further and/or finding actual, gosh, dunno, charges to raise against them. The fact that we keep releasing them indicates to me that maybe they've picked up more unlucky cab drivers than actual insurgents.

And I know you were attempting snark here, but find one that has been released and invite him for a sleepover? That's just a dumb thing to say. Go home, study up on the snark and come back when you've got something better than finding a detainee and having a sleepover.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you really don't have much, if any respect, for our men in uniform! You would have us believe that they are keeping a bunch unfortunate cab drivers interred for some time at Gitmo? And you wonder why some would consider those like you to be anti-American? Why don't you just go home and stay there.
I suggest that we start handing them over to the Iraqi and Afghani forces. I'm sure they'll be given better treatment thank Gitmo hospitality.

ACG said...

Two points: am home. In America. And glad to be there. I think I will, in fact, stay.

Second point, you know absolutely nothing about my relationship with our men (and women) in uniform. And while I have no doubt that most of the detainees at Gitmo are/were, in fact, dangerous, I also know that a goodly percentage of detainees at Abu Ghraib were later decided to be innocent of anything more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Personally, I'd love to see Iraqi and Afghan forces taking more responsibility for detainees, but until then, the fact is that everyone in US custody should expect that their basic human rights should be dignified, whether they deserve it or not, because we're the freaking United States already.

You think I'm anti-American because I choose to hold my country to a higher standard? Fine. You do things your way, with your "at least we're not as bad as Saddam" standard, and I'll do them mine. And while you're at it, you can at least have balls enough to identify yourself, "Anonymous."

Anonymous said...

I love this "higher standard" busllshit. What's wrong with holding them to THEIR standards? Just curious. Okay, I'll bite. Let's given the same as we give our own. How about piping some cable TV into their cells. A couple of episodes of Las Vegas or Sex in the City will do them wonders. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment!

As far as your relationships with our men (and women) in uniform, I don't care who you're sleeping with.

Since you claim to know, what percentage of the Abu Grhaib prisoners are innocent cab drivers?

My name is Tony. You can call me "sir".

ACG said...

Per a report by the ICRC, "Certain CF military intelligence officers told the ICRC that in their estimate between 70% and 90% of the persons deprived of their liberty in Iraq had been arrested by mistake." Not all cab drivers, to be sure, but certainly not worthy of waterboarding and lightstick sodomy (if anyone is).

And I'll call you "sir" when you earn my respect.

Anonymous said...

You can call me anything for a little lightstick sodomy. Ooooh baby!

Well, I stand corrected. The International Red Cross has confirmed our worse fears. Our troops are a bunch of sadistic bastards! One and all! I am so ashamed of our military. What a terrible bunch of goons! How can we show our faces at the UN, now? Uhh, I shouldn't use the UN as an example, should I (remember the sex for favors thingy in Africa)? How are we going to show our faces at the Vatican?

mortimer duke said...

acg, since you've raised the issue and we like to assess blame here, who is to blame? Who should we hang in the public square today?
Sounds like a ringing indictment against our soldiers.
Bill, what do you think? Rummy? George, for sure.

ACG said...

I don't think that anyone necessarily needs to be hung in the public square, and I don't think that our troops should be held solely accountable. One would assume that basic values teach you not to do things like that, but I understand that your thinking can get a little skewed in combat situations. I also understand, though, that many of those dare-I-call-them-interrogation-techniques were actually taught, formally or informally, to the people who used them. I also think (again, from the outside) that the folks in authority - and yeah, I do include Donald Rumsfeld here - aren't doing anyone any favors by denying that it's happening and defending the actions. Defending the troops is the very least that he can do, but defending their actions sends the message that that sort of thing is okay. And no one is ever going to stop doing it if in public they're hearing "torture is bad, mmkay?" and in private they're being told to hit him again with that thar electrical cord.

Steve said...

As far as I've seen, and obviously my vision isn't ubiquitous, Rumsfeld has not been defending any action where credible evidence of wrongdoing has been present. Amnesty International has based their entire report upon hearsay and is using it as a club to get access to Gitmo. Basically what they have said is "It may not be true, but until you let us come see for ourselves, we'll keep saying it". They've also admitted that the Gulag comment was used to essentially shame the US into giving them access.

I'd also like to see the source of your understanding that the techniques mentioned where being taught. They only sources I've seen is people who are being prosecuted or disciplined for bad behaviour.

Steve said...

And just to be clear, I am not advocating the US act in an inhumane manner just because the other side does. I agree with acg that it is wrong just because it is wrong and we're better than that. But I also refuse to rush to judgement and cast a wide net of blame. We should ask the hard questions ourselves and press for answers and press for justice when wrongdoing is found.

Kevin said...

Just a few of my humble thoughts:
A) The prisoners at Gitmo, like any other prisoners held in American custody, are innocent until proven guilty. Period. No exceptions.
B) I hear a lot of talk of "Well the soldiers who performed these acts are being punished"...what I don't hear is what is being done to prevent prisoner abuse from occurring again in the future.
C) ...and for the Prez and VP to both say they are offended at the reports and they find them "absurd"?...True leaders would say something along the lines of "These reports are truely alarming and investigations are under way to validate their accuracy." Of course, a true leader also would have gotten up from reading to a bunch of 1st graders when our country was under attact. (That's right, I'm beating that dead horse like it's a prisoner at Abu Grhaib.)

Steve said...

Kevin,
A) Wrong. We are at war. War has a whole other set of rules that are internationally recognized. If you are a POW or Enemy Combatant, choose your naming convention, you are presumed guilty and released upon treaty or when the captor feels like in the absence of one.
B) Agree. Funny that no one seems to be asking that question. Since most all the allegations seem to be from 2003 and before, I hope that drastic steps have been taken. Media though seems focused on what happened versus corrective measures.
C) The Prez and VP said they were offended by the gulag characterization and found that absurd, which it is. Not the reports of abuse

Steve said...

Since you chose to close with a tired chestnut, I will as well.

A true leader would have taken some time out from giving Monica the stoggie treatment to deal with Osama the numerous opportunities he had to do so.

ACG said...

As I understand it, Clinton was "giving Monica the stogie treatment" and doing business at the same time. Oprah calls it multi-tasking.

Steve said...

and when you say "doing business" do you mean that in the biblical sense or in some other less prurient way? Thank you for not crapping on my argument with a reference to my obvious misspelling of stogie. However, bringing Oprah in was totally uncalled for and a breach of common courtesy. Where has civility gone???

Steve said...

This is what offends me. Under headline: JAILERS SPLASHED KORAN WITH URINE - PENTAGON

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050603/ts_nm/security_guantanamo_koran_dc

mortimer duke said...

acg, the problem I have with people like you who look for the worst from our soldiers is that you look for the worst in our soldiers. There is no better example of this than, "I also understand, though, that many of those dare-I-call-them-interrogation-techniques were actually taught, formally or informally, to the people who used them." What is your "understanding" based on? I doubt that interrogators are "taught" how do abuse the Geneva convention. Regarding the GC, we have extended GC rights to those in Gitmo even though we didn't have to. They are non-uniformed combatants fighting for a hostile cab company and as such are not eligible for GC rights. But because we hold ourselves to a "higher standard" we have extended them GC rights. Try giving our guys/gals a little beneift of the doubt from time to time.

ACG said...

Mortimer - here, here, and here. And I have a problem with people like you who look for the worst in our troops. What would you say is a better example of giving our troops the benefit of the doubt: saying that they did these things because they were led by their superiors to believe that they were legitimate interrogation techniques, or saying that they did them because they, as individuals, were depraved and liked to make people suffer? You need to have a little faith in the humanity of our men and women in uniform.

mortimer duke said...

acg,
Thank you for reinforcing the thought that our troops are all sadistic goons as pointed out before. And that their behavior has gone unpunished. By the way, General Karpinski is now Colonel Karpinski.

Be sure you let your troops know how you feel about them. Walk up and slap one today!

I hear that the next step is to use these incidents to start a Bush impeachment movement.

I hate to spoil the moment but let's not overlook this: www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110006782
and this:
www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005430

ACG said...

So Mortimer says that our troops are individually depraved and not victims of poor leadership. Any other votes? Anyone?

And if I were the troop-slapping type, I'd have my pick, but they're my friends and we don't go around hitting each other. See, I actually like and respect them.

Mortier Duke said...

Ahh, it's a "leadership" issue. Nice try. The old it's not the soldiers, it's our hated civilian leadership. The old Jane Fonda strategy anew. What a dupe. Don't you know that you are, in a sense, giving aid and comfort to our enemies. They translate your criticism as hate for your country. They love it! Do your "friends" in the military know you're saying this about their fellow soldiers?

I believe that the leader at Abu Grhaib was GENERAL Karpinski, who is now COLONEL Karpinski. Please educate yourself on the UCMJ. No soldier is to execute an unlawful order. An unlawful order would include a GC violation.

Amnesty Int'l is running away from their description of Gitmo as a "gulag". They say they have good reason to believe that detainees are being mistreated because of former detainees' complaints. The al qaida cab company handbook directs that if captured to complain about abusive treatment. Nevertheless, AI is pissed because the US won't let them monitor Gitmo.

Saw some "journalist" from the Washington Post on TV tonight talking about all the homicides perpetrated by our soldiers. She said there were "hundreds" of cases. When pressed to give her source, she couldn't. Sounded good though. What a puke.

Admit it, acg, you lefties want to hang Rummy and Bush with this and the facts be damned.
When are you going to raise the "Downing Street Memo" BS?

ACG said...

Yeah, my friends know, and while some of them disagree (for reasons entirely other than you've listed), and some of them agree, they respect me for my opinions and the reasons behind them.

I don't want to hang Bush for this because I'm guessing he had - and still has - no idea of what was going on. Besides, he's sure to find a dozen other reasons to hang himself. As for Rumsfeld, there's no way he didn't know what has been and is going on and has only started getting his knickers in a twist since the news cameras started rolling, so yeah, I think he should be held way more liable for this than he has.

ACG said...

Let me save you a little bit of time, Mortimer - you're not going to guilt me into glossing over that kind of inhuman behavior by invoking the names of our men and women in uniform. It's a nice technique, certainly, and it might work on other folks, but not on me. I talk with these people on a daily basis. We barbecue on weekends. We exchange Christmas cards. Your opinion of me, my devotion to the troops, my patriotism means next to nothing to me; theirs means a lot more. So if you'd like to attack my argument on its merits, go ahead, but you can go ahead and give up on the whole, stale "She hates our troops! She hates our troops!" deal.

bill from jc said...

If morty is so quick to use our brave men and women in uniform to validate whatever position he takes, I suggest that he march down to the recruiting office and join them. The army is looking for you Morty!

morty said...

What makes you think that I have not marched down to the recruiting office already? Maybe I'm pissed because you don't know what you're talking about and I do - from personal experience.

What is obvious is that you all are so blinded by your hate for Rummy and Bush, you play right into the arms of the terrorists' propaganda machine. Maybe 40 years from now you'll be selling your book and telling everyone how young and wrong you were to turn the enemy into victims.

You demonstrate no balance or proportion to your attacks. You're more concerned about our complying with a "higher standard" than the horrific acts of the al qaida cab company. I'll just bet that there are more references to Abu Grhaib than terrorist beheadings in the New York Times and the Al Jazeera Constitution (AJC in Atlanta).

You would call those like me wingnuts but you revere Dean? My concern is that people like you will continue to dominate the democrat party and give us another offering like Kerry in November. That will leave us, again, to choose between the best of two bad options.

Now, when are you going to start that "Downing Street Memo" screed?

bill from jc said...

Can anyone figure out what Morty is blathering on about? A smidgen of coherence would be nice Morty.
Take a deep breath and collect your thoughts before you fly off into irrelevant unrelated stream of unconciousness oxified rants. It will raise the level of discourse, I promise! You might even become popular and find a girl!

Morty said...

Okay, Bill, for you I'll speak slowly and use 12 year-old terminology so you can keep up, dude.

bill from jc said...

Morty, I think they were saying "Dude" back as far as the 1960's, so it's alot older than 12.