The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos (warning: graphic images)
We in the Antiwar crowd need to hit the warmongers and profiteers where it hurts in the pocketbook. CACI International Inc. (NYSE: CAI) with a market capitalization of $1.2 billion and Titan Corporation (NYSE: TTN) market capitalization $1.57 billion, have both been implicated in participating in the acts of torture in Iraq. One federal class action lawsuit brought by one victim of the torture in a US District court on behalf of all torture victims in Iraq would bust the bank on both companies and make one lucky plaintiffs attorney very, very rich. While the US Government may be immune from this type of lawsuit, private companies clearly are not.
Are you kidding me, with those pictures I think even I could win the case.
~ Vijay Venkataraman, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I am a native of Romania and an anticommunist refugee since 1982. My generation literally worshiped the USA. I am really appalled seeing the horrors in the USA penitentiary system (prisoners of war included). What we see is systemic. But the real danger is that the USA becomes in the conscience of the world the "bad." I am a historian and I know that it takes some time until a collective image is built. But there is a very short time until feelings change into actions. I hope that a change will happen and at a minimum I hope that the moronic administration of GWB will be thrown in the dustbin of history.
It seems to me that the soldiers accused of torturing detainees at Abu Ghraib could be excused for thinking that their prisoners were non-persons, without rights or even identities, deserving of nothing but whatever their captors happened to feel like meting out to them. After all, isn’t that pretty much how their Commander in Chief characterizes all those "enemy combatants" he’s been holding in the cages of Guantanamo and elsewhere?
~ Steve Smith, Chapel Hill, NC
What I find horrendous is the fact that the person they put in charge of this prison is a prison guard in his REAL life. Who in the world would put this type of person in charge of a prison. If he was so intelligent in his job he would have been a warden, right? I’m a former C.O. in an Ohio prison and as a whistleblower I was ultimately fired for my reporting of beatings.
Abuse is typical in our prisons no matter what the public wants to think. Wonder if these soldiers in Iraq ever thought their families would see these "beautiful" pictures. For them to make an excuse for this behavior as they weren’t given "directions" who needs directions to be fair, just and humane?
By the non-response that I’m seeing on the editorial pages I feel that the majority of Americans feel that these guys got what they deserved or it’s a joke these are comments of guards at our prisons here in Ohio. …
And how does this compare to 9/11 with people jumping out of 110 story buildings because jumping out was better than the inferno inside? Or how about 4 workers, burned, dragged through the streets, then hung from a bridge while the crowd watched, laughed and cheered? This is not nice, but let’s put it in perspective too! Yes, this treatment was humiliating, some torture, does it compare? Maybe its time we start fighting fire with fire. We sure aren’t getting anywhere trying to be good Samaritans (except for a few-which I don’t agree with, but what is the answer?).
Eric Garris replies:
It doesn’t compare, so why do you make the comparison? Are you saying that the bombing of the WTC by Saudis and Pakistanis justifies the torture or murder of innocent Iraqis?
Or are you saying that we must adopt the principles and values of our enemy in order to defeat them?
DO YOU REALLY THINK THESE L.A.M.F.S THAT WE CAPTURE WILL GIVE INFORMATION UP WILLINGLY ON WHO AND HOW THEY PLAN TO AMBUSH OUR PEOPLE AND OTHER ARABS THERE, AND WHERE WEAPONS ARE HIDDEN? WHAT PLANET ARE YOU LIVING ON? MAYBE A COOKIE AND A CUP OF COFFEE WOULD MAKE THEM TALK? HAVE A SAFE, FREE DAY!
I don’t see why everybody is surprised by the actions of the US troops at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
I am a Muslim, and I have lived for many years in the US So I would like to point out the obvious, though Americans refuse to admit it. In general, Americans are a violent people. In general, they are immoral and lack compassion. Anywhere in the world, if you fall, someone will help to pick you up. Here, if you fall, they will laugh and step on you. There are exceptions, but the general population is like that.
They are a people who condone what Israel does to Palestine, even though the whole world, does not. They are a people that invaded another country, and before that invasion killed millions of it’s citizens by sanctions. Any other country that would do these things, whose people really only find enjoyment in sex and violence, would be the epitome of "Evil." Only no one goes to sleep at night knowing that he did evil, everyone forgives himself and gives himself a good excuse for what he did. And that is what the American people, in general, do.
So, the torture, the killing, the inhumanity that is either done by Americans directly or condoned by them, is expected of people who, in comparison with most human kind past or present, lack morals, ethics, and compassion. Don’t kid yourselves about the torture in the prison. Americans have done far worse before, and will continue to.
What the hell were you thinking in linking to a gay porn blog in your latest article? I see no journalistic value in this linkage. In fact, you’ve delegitimized your moral high ground by linking to such smut. I am a long time reader of Antiwar.com and often link to articles from your site. On occasion you offend my sensibilities and I’m generally willing to take the bitter with the sweet, but this is just beyond stupid. I don’t know what kind of readership you’re intending to build, but paleoconservatives such as myself find this kind of linkage reprehensible. Please remove the link.
~ Jon Luker, Polemics.us
Justin Raimondo replies:
The link, like all links I make in my columns, was purely informational. If you recall the context, I was wondering whether image of the U.S. soldier in Iraq was more like John Holmes in "Freaky Leather Boys" than John Wayne in "Flying Leathernecks" and this required a link to information about John Holmes, the late porn star of a certain fame. And the page I linked to contained nothing overtly sexual, unless, of course, one is easily aroused ….
I‘ve admired Justin Raimondo’s work for some time now, but "Depravity as Liberation" ratchets up that admiration to new heights. J.R. doesn’t merely tell it like it is. He does it with clarity, authentic moral ferocity and above all, PANACHE. These are qualities that need to be treasured, especially in the current atmosphere of insane NeoCON Newspeak. Justin Raimondo: Hitman for the Truth Brigade and Asskicker Supreme. Long live Antiwar.Com.
Justin Raimondo is right to condemn any atrocities or violations of human rights and basic human civilized behavior by US Soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison. We all should. Every rationale the supporters of the war have given us has crumbled into dust. They said Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States and it wasn’t. They said Saddam had WMDs and he didn’t or least not what they thought he had. They said they wanted to spread democracy but they close down newspapers and they said they wanted to liberate the people from an oppressive government and yet have become oppressors themselves.
However I am one that believes that rotten apples to do spoil the whole barrel. That large institutions like the military do contain their rouge elements that have to be dealt with an punished for bad behavior that reflects poorly upon on the institution as whole. Punishment must be swift and merciless for those who participated in these atrocities at Abu Ghraib lest the whole military suffers their horrible actions.
However, what happen at Abu Ghraib is not just an isolated event. It is a part of sickness that is infecting the military and that is the war itself. War brutalizes, especially guerilla war. It’s hard to maintain one’s humanity and civility in what is an uncivilized act. The longer this kind of war goes on the worse the atrocities will get on both sides until the whole nation of Iraq is bathed in blood and gore. It doesn’t matter who’s involved. A farm boy for a small town may go off to war as an innocent. When he (and now she sadly) comes back, they are profoundly altered by what they’ve seen or what they may or may not have done. There’s no going back.
The same thing happened in Vietnam. Lt. Calley wasn’t the only bad boy as we have later found out (some war criminals actually can go on to be US Senators and University Presidents like Bob Kerrey), he just had the misfortune of being caught. Yet his and other atrocities committed in Vietnam poisoned the military’s relationship with the rest of the country and set the stage for its ultimate decline throughout the 1970s into dangerous levels. The same could happen here if we stay in Iraq any longer. Already the Army itself is stretched thin, nine division out of 10 tied down because of this war. The last thing they need is a crisis of the spirit and their humanity.
Ultimately the United States got out of Vietnam in order to save the institution of the military itself. The longer this occupation in Iraq goes on the chances go up that more atrocities will be committed, more men and women will become brutalized, morale declines, combat readiness suffers and the military finds itself unable to deal with real threats like Al Qaeda.
People in the military must speak out, chain of command be damned! Retired or active duty, it doesn’t matter. The war must be stopped. An exit strategy from Iraq must be found. The military must be saved from the abuse and degradation brought on it by the neoleftists.
~ Sean Scallon, Arkansaw, Wisconsin
Predictably, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is attributing the Abu Ghraib torture scandal to a "just a handful" of US troops and that "categorically… there is no evidence of systematic abuse" in the US detention operations in the region. However, growing evidence suggests just the opposite is true. According to Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski who oversaw Abu Ghraib:
A month before the alleged abuses occurred… a team of military intelligence officers from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, came to Abu Ghraib last year. "Their main and specific mission was to get the interrogators give them new techniques to get more information from detainees," she said.
Guantanamo Bay has long been alleged to torture its detainees by human rights groups. The fact that the team of military intelligence officers alleged to have encouraged and/or ordered the abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib originate from the Guantanamo Bay facility suggest torture may be a common modus operandi of US intelligence units responsible for interrogations of military detainees not just at Abu Ghraib, but all over the world. It might also be part of reason why the Bush administration is so adamantly in favor of military tribunals for terrorism suspects. …
"If the Supreme Court allows this indefinite detention, American liberties are in great peril, and the terrorists will have succeeded in getting our own government to put them there. This way lies tyranny. And war always paves the way for that kind of expansion of arbitrary power."
So what else is new? Perhaps you are not aware, or have forgotten, what happened to German-Americans during World War II.
Unfortunately, Americans of all ages have not been taught the complete internment story. For example, during World War II almost one million, 300,000 German American and 600,000 Italian American, were required to register (be fingerprinted, photographed and ID’d), and were then classified and named "Alien Enemies." In addition with this registration certain civil liberties were taken from these persons. For example, they were not permitted to fly; they were not permitted to have arms, cameras, and short-wave radio receivers in their possession; their movement was restricted to within the boundaries of their neighborhoods; and they were required to report change of residence and/or employment to the Department of Justice.
Furthermore almost 11,000 German-Americans and 4,000 Italian-Americans were interned. Many German-Americans remained incarcerated for more than three years after the war in Europe had ended that was six years of internment no due process, no attorney, no cross examination, no charges.
The complete story needs to be told.
You and your readers can learn more about this episode at http://www.foitimes.com.
~ Arthur D. Jacobs, Major, USAF Retired
Alan Bock replies:
Thanks for reminding us. Much has been written about the internment of Japanese-Americans (I work for the only West Coast newspaper that opposed it at the time, although not having been alive at the time I can only bask in reflected glory and try to remember when deciding how aggressively to criticize officialdom), but the treatment of Italian-Americans and German-Americans has received hardly any attention at all. My father volunteered and served in the Navy in WW II, but my grandfather, with the distinctly German name of Bock (and Adolph to boot, although in WW I the name hadn’t yet acquired the malodorous association it would later) and born to an off-the-boater, was not allowed to enlist in WW I and had to live through quite a bit of anti-German bigotry and nonsense (banning Beethoven and all that). It wasn’t as bad in San Diego as in some cities, but it was real enough. My grandmother used to tell us some of the stories and convey the lessons she thought we should learn: never, ever, treat people so shabbily or judge them on the basis of the ethnicity, national origin skin color or other superficial characteristic.
Suddenly the liberal press is concerned about interning civilians as a Governmental Policy.
I was interned for the duration of World War Two plus two additional years. I was 17 when arrested and interned by FDR, Truman, and Attorneys General Biddle & Clark.
Repeatedly, we 15,000 Europeans who were interned tried to correct the record that only Japanese were interned. We wrote newspapers, called on Senators and Congressmen. One even pursued legal action up to the Supreme Court and the lower court with Mikva and Ginsburg on the bench.
In Crystal City Texas, I was interned WITH JAPANESE and European-Latins from 12 such countries. EVERY JAPANESE was compensated $20,000 for losses regardless how short they were interned. We lost our home to foreclosure after it was pillaged and looted, I seek no reparation.
I do not even quarrel about my internment during the war, BUT I DO OBJECT TO THE INTERNMENT BETWEEN MAY 1945,VE DAY AND SEPTEMBER 1947 WHEN I WAS FINALLY RELEASED.
Had you, the press, academe, Congress, given the very same consideration as accorded the Japanese, then the present dialog in the Supreme Court could possibly have been averted. But our pleas never resonated, even though there was never a criminal act by any of us. There was no WTC. Pearl Harbor was by Japanese, not Europeans.
Your current handwringing is doomed to fail, because you permitted the internment of over 15,000 Europeans to go unchallenged and unstudied, therefor assenting to the very laws, still extant, that permit not only internment, but the unbridled interrogation, investigation and otherwise harassment of civilians today.
~ Eberhard Fuhr, Palatine, Illinois
Iraq Rationales Getting Weaker (If That Is Possible)
I disagree with one contention. Bock repeats Clarke’s contention that we could not have prevented 9/11. Not true. FBI and CIA HAVE worked together and communicated with each other in the past on specialized task forces, at least. If Bush had really taken al Qaeda seriously, at least after the infamous Aug. 6 PDB, he could have ordered such a task force, specific to al Qaeda operations inside the US, be formed. And it might have worked.
Alan Bock replies:
Maybe, maybe not. I’m for learning as much as possible about events that led up to 9/11, but I doubt if we’ll get a definitive answer one way or another.
Great article, however frightening it is. Wondering where were these voices of reason and peace when the war began? like me, afraid to speak?
Alan Bock replies:
You can read my archives to see where I was, but obviously the few of us who went public with our doubts didn’t have much impact, did we? Not that disappointment should lead us to give up.
If the draft were started I would become the most vocal citizen demanding that every senator’s, congressman’s, government official’s, corporate executive’s child be drafted starting with Bush’s daughters, or my son will be sent to Canada. "Fool us once, shame on you, fool us twice shame on me."
Alan Bock replies:
I wish I could assure you that there’s no reason to worry about a draft, but I’m afraid once the election is over it will be on the front burner.
After reading Alan Bock’s "Iraq Rationales" column, I am again mystified by the eagerness to return to the "peaceful" days of Saddam running Iraq in the name of upholding international law. Whilst we labor to discover a "lawful" way to remove Saddam, he rapes, ruins, and scars his subjects. I sure hope those Iraqis can hold up until we discover a good reason for saving them. Their abuse and murder over three decades apparently is not enough reason for us to march in and defeat Saddam.
We need a good legal opinion that will justify removing an unelected murderous thug. Just hang on for another decade or so because we want to preserve our delicate sensibilities regarding the legalese of removing a savage tyrant. A lot of Iraqi blood may run, a half million or so, but you Iraqis want us to have good legal grounds for removing the guns from the hands of the killers of your fathers, mothers, brothers, sons, and daughters. And besides, a lot of us here in America are antiwar. You can appreciate our position, you know, you, our Iraqi friends. Why should we have to have war interrupt our peaceful daily lives? I mean, do you want us to suffer too? We could be traumatized by reports of your sufferings and those of our troops. Please join with us as partners in the antiwar brotherhood because then we can be at peace and you can see what peace looks like, and maybe, someday have some peace of your own. Good luck.
Alan Bock replies:
Tell you what. You and your friends march in and remove whatever murderous thug dictator offends you. Just don’t force my country to abandon the principle of non-initiation of aggressive wars which underpins the international order, and don’t force me and other taxpayers to pay for your benevolent schemes. Good luck.
I enjoyed reading your article on the situation in Iraq, I thought it was well written and informative. However, I am at a loss as to why you did not expand on your statement,"The war, deeply desired by the Cheney Wolfowitz axis of neos long before 9/11, was virtually inevitable once 9/11 happened."
What are the real motives for this war and who are the beneficiaries, given a favorable outcome, for the US government and its allies. A reporter in Amman Jordan posed a question to Cheney asking him why they are going to war in Iraq, Cheney replied "because it is doable."
I suspect Mr. Bock that you know more about the motives and goals of this current administration than you perhaps wish to say. I just hope that in future articles you will be more forthcoming in your accurate assessment of the situation.
~ NL, a concerned citizen of the world
Alan Bock replies:
I didn’t think I’d been shy, although the subject of the open, indeed, proudly open conspiracy among neoconservatives and others to lay the groundwork for expanding the American empire has been covered fairly thoroughly by others and when that’s the case I tend to try to cover things others haven’t discussed so thoroughly.
Letter writer Jean Christensen is an example of the danger of listening to the average American. In order to make things fair, she suggests that "EVERY FAMILY should share the burden" of losing their kids to fight unconstitutional wars, no matter how much these families may disagree with the policies, no matter how futile or self-defeating the war. If the war is not worth fighting, people won’t volunteer. If the war is worth fighting (even if the worthiness is just a self-deluded perception as in Pat Tillman’s case), people will volunteer.
We’ve made every enemy we have in this world through our idiotic foreign policies, a scenario that was predicted by our founding fathers. The founding fathers also recognized that our freedom is a gift from God, not from the government. We are not "owned" by the government, though they are presently taking what they call an "inventory" of our youth. We have the freedom to live our lives without the feds breaking through our doors, stealing our children, and shipping them off to die "to bring liberty and democracy" to countries that our kids can’t even find on a map.
I volunteered and served 4 honorable years in the USAF. One of the freedoms I worked to protect is the freedom of liberty and choice for my children. If my kids learn anything at all from me, they will NOT be fighting a war for this country.
Jean Christensen from Litchfield, Minnesota submitted an anecdotal story of a girl she knew that naively signed up for the National Guard, not realizing that she would be trained to shoot a machine gun for a reason.
Okay, fine. But, she goes on to say that because this girl isn’t ready for the "nasty real world," my brother and I should be sent to Iraq so that, "In all fairness, we need to spread the misery (universal draft) to all levels of society. The ‘rich’ are the privileged royalty in this country, and it is getting more true all the time."
I’m neither rich nor privileged, and Comrade Christensen should think again before declaring that I be forced to share the "misery" of the mistake that her "impressionable" (forced?) young friend made. …
The Basic Flaw in Neoconservatism
Slight correction: "Constitutional Republic" not just "Republic" Representatives are to vote in accordance with the constitution and not just their "judgment," i.e. they cannot write or pass a law that subverts or disobeys the constitution. Otherwise an excellent article!
I don’t mean to be picky but accuracy is most important when discussing something so misunderstood as our form of government.
Charlie Reese you are the greatest! Whenever I go out and hear the ubiquitous "Have a nice day" from some salesclerk or others, my reply lately has been, "I’ll begin having a nice day when the troops come home!" After having read your article today in Antiwar, I believe I’ll begin adding, "War is a racket! It’s not easy to have a nice day when innocent people are being killed." My fantasy is that maybe I’m beginning a wave of replies that will catch on, in response to those "Have a nice day" folks.
~ Nancy Walker, Avila Beach, Calif.
I could not have said it better myself. Bless you, good man.
~ Marvin Simmons, Northwest Veterans for Peace, Portland, Oregon
I have not been able to get any new postings of antiwar.com, since April 23rd. Has this happened with anyone else? I can’t get ‘Counterpunch’ either, but I do get ‘Commondreams’ Any idea what is up? …I sure do
Eric Garris replies:
Sounds like you need to clear your browser cache. Here are the instructions for Internet Explorer. If you have a different browswer let me know.
Go to any page other than Antiwar.com.
At the top, under "Tools" choose "Internet Options."
In the center of the box (Temporary Internet Files), click on "Delete Files…"
Click "OK." You do not have to check the box "Delete Offline Content."
It may take up to several minutes to clear.
Click "OK" again.
Go to Antiwar.com
If you still have the problem, you may need to boot your computer and repeat the above.