I believe low ranking enlistees are trained to follow orders and not act on their own. I am a former Naval Officer and that’s the way I experienced it during my 2 tours of duty. From the misguided pride on their faces, the photos are trophies of orders carried out well. Any adult American in our society today who finds these images "shocking" for any other reason is a hypocrite. Every officer in that chain of command who doesn’t have proof that they tried to stop the abuse, should be court marshaled. Look ma, no chain of command! Just these poor American soldiers. Suckers.
I am an ex-soldier and a vet of Desert storm. I would like to point out that the MP’s trying to defend themselves by saying that they were ordered to carry out the abuse is baseless. You are taught in basic training about what is and is not an illegal order and that if you follow an illegal order that you are liable. This can be verified in the soldier’s common task manual.
Obviously this is not the first war in which organized torture has been used. When I was working in the peace movement around El Salvador in the 1980s, it was common knowledge that torture techniques were being taught to American military advisers at the College of the Americas, who were sharing them with the Salvadoran death squads and picking up some pointers in return. You should IMMEDIATELY go to Google, enter "School of the Americas" torture, and take a look at the websites that come up one of which has what purports to be a copy of the C.I.A. torture manual. …
I am wondering why you didn’t put on your site the photos of the Iraqi women raped by US soldiers. I even didn’t see these photos on TV or in any newspaper, but they are circulating on the web, a friend sent them to me. They are so shocking, people must see the reality of what happened.
Eric Garris replies:
Hey! HAHAHAHAHA! I see y’all don’t want the world to know those prisoners were previously killing people? These monsters were the meanest of the prisoners at the Abu Ghraib. What about the burned bodies that were dragged through the streets of Falluja? Hmm, how about the World Trade Center? Anyhoo, don’t be hatin’. I can see hate in your words. What happened to the love?
Eric Garris replies:
According to a Red Cross report, 90% of them were arrested by mistake.
I find it interesting that Nick Berg’s father, Michael, has been publicly condemning the U.S. government. He said his son may have made a safe return home had he not been detained by Iraqi police, who, by the way, are supposedly under the supervision of coalition forces, and questioned by the FBI who wanted to know his purpose for being in Iraq. Mr. Berg claimed his son was held by Iraqis and the US without benefit of counsel or communication and many efforts by the Berg family to find out their son’s condition from the US government failed. Also interesting is how our government indulged in a little "victim blaming" by emphasizing that Nick Berg was warned to leave Iraq, but chose to stay.
Rather than being the counter to the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal this Bush administration may hope this would be, in my opinion further investigation into Nick Berg’s capture and death may add to the scandal.
I have tried many times to get a solid understanding of the principles you profess. I have visited websites and spoken with people who see things the way you do. I, however see things quite the opposite and joined the military because of my beliefs. I am open to the opposite view but run into the same problem every time. I always hear, "War is not the answer," "Let peace prevail," etc.; HOWEVER, the arguments always criticize what is being done but only offer vague fantasies as alternatives. If someone out there is willing to pick up a gun and bend others to their will, how does man stop them? Never in history has pacifism or isolationism solved a problem, it only makes it worse when one does decide to get involved.
I do not mean that whenever we are opposed or threatened we should default to the sword, but the antiwar arguments always seem to criticize rather than provide practical solutions. I would love it if peace reigned and we all hugged, but do you honestly believe that the Hitlers, Stalins, Maos, Saddams, Slobodans, etc. will cease to be born? Although sometimes military action can create our opponents, the worst cases in history were born and fought to achieve what they saw as destiny.
So, I guess my question which I hope you will answer is: If war is so bad how else do we survive in a world where someone is always willing to be underhanded if not downright sadistically evil to take what they want from others?
I appreciate your time and do not mean to be inflammatory or insulting.
Sam Koritz replies:
The USA can survive in a violent world through self-defense. (Antiwar.com’s mission does not include the advocacy of strict pacifism.) A policy of self-defense is sometimes termed "isolationism," and you wrote that, "Never in history has … isolationism solved a problem." You later list five examples of such problems: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Saddam, and Slobodan, but your examples refute your thesis.
Neither Serbia nor Iraq had the ability to project power across the Atlantic Ocean, so they weren’t problems that threatened the US’s survival. The US’s solutions to your other three problems included at least elements of isolationism:
The US military did not attack Germany until Germany’s Axis partner bombed Hawaii and after Germany declared war on the US. The US military did not attack Stalin’s USSR, the US aided the USSR during W.W.II. The US did not invade Mao’s China, Pres. Truman fired the popular Gen. MacArthur to avoid war with China.
As for practical solutions, it’s true, the neo-imperialists are running the government and we dissidents often offer negative solutions. Like the friend of someone who enjoys Russian roulette, our advice is usually little more than, stop doing that! My own recipe (not speaking for the website here) would emphasize nonaggression and the rule of law: overseas military bases would be closed, military aid would end (along with its kickbacks, corruption, security compromises, and revolving door), and the US would no longer guarantee the security of any foreign power. The suppressed evidence about 9/11 would be released and the negligent or guilty would be fired and/or arrested. The Constitution (and no more) would be enforced, or amended: US troops would stay put unless Congress declared war, and the US government would honor its treaties including the UN Charter’s ban on inter-state aggression.
The one area where I think "isolationism" might not be adequate is in the elimination real wmd’s (I’d probably include only nuclear weapons in that category at this time). The US and the other nuclear powers should agree to decrease their nuclear weapons by a certain percentage per year, down to zero. The known nuclear powers except for Israel, India and Pakistan (all US allies) are already (hypocritically) committed by treaty to do so, but with no time requirement. The US and Russia should immediately remove the warheads from the "thousands of missiles aimed at each others major cities on hair-trigger alert." Over the past decade, the US has sent billions of dollars to Russia (and to the bank accounts of Russian officials); time to call in some favors and end a threat to civilization at the same time. To sweeten the deal for the Russians the US could promise to close all US military bases in Eurasia that aren’t necessary for the hunting down of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and promise to close the rest in, say, three years.
For more, see this.
In all this hoopla where we have released the names of two "contractors" and a colonel and a LTC, why are there no junior officers listed? Are we supposed to believe that the staff sergeant reported to, not his platoon sergeant not his master sergeant not his lieutenants, captains or major but directly to this LTC? In what fantasy land is everybody living, or is this the only military organization in existence without any senior NCO’s and company grade officers? My guess is that either the old time NCO’S and the junior officers have collected and squirreled away a stack of documentation that would crucify the ranks above them if somebody brings up their names or the military deliberately constructed this unique rank structure so that these "civilian contractors" would deflect most of the heat from rising into their ranks. It is events like these that make me glad my son dropped out of college ROTC four years ago. The US Army Senior Officer Corps today is a disgrace to our flag. …
You had me up to the end. America’s goal is not to break or to destroy Islam. It is to bring it into the 21st century, where it can interrelate with the rest of the world. Afterwards, yes we will exploit the middle-east. OOPS! We already are! Have been for almost a century.
The only way the people of the middle-east will get out from the fingers of the tyrants that oppress them (local and foreign) is to get rid of their de facto governments and stop listening to their power-hungry blinded religious leaders. They are stuck in a time and culture similar to Europe before the great awakening. They must rid themselves of their Popes which convince them to go die, and then face the reality of the 21st century. A converging world.
Sascha Matuszak replies:
Islam is in the 21st century and it does interrelate with the rest of the world unfortunately those relations are based upon the exploitation you spoke of, the despots who benefit, the clerics who react to said exploitation and a healthy dose of misinformation concerning Muslim life.
A brief glance at Jacob Hornberger’s screed will inform anyone cognizant of even the remotest facts about the war in Iraq of his enormous lack of knowledge and willingness to engage in smear attacks without relation to facts. To cite one example, Hornberger mindlessly proclaims "Once it became clear that Saddam and his associates had been telling the truth about not possessing any more WMDs."
Maybe you can explain that to the Jordanians who recently seized 20 tons of chemicals trucked in by confessed al-Qaeda members who brought the stuff from Syria. The chemicals included VX, Sarin and 70 others. Jordan officials said that had the terrorists released a "toxic cloud" 80,000 would have died. John Luftus a former Army officer, served as a Justice Department prosecutor said "We captured Iraqi members of al-Qaeda, who’ve been trained in Iraq, planned for the mission in Iraq, and now they’re in Jordan with nerve gas. That’s not the kind of thing you buy in a grocery store. You have to obtain it someplace." "There’s no doubt these guys confessed on Jordanian television that they received the training for this mission in Iraq…" "Syria does have the ability to produce certain kinds of nerve gasses, but in small quantities. The large stockpiles were known to be in Iraq." "It’s embarrassing to the (press). They’ve staked their reputations that this stuff wasn’t there, and now all of a sudden we have al-Qaeda agents from Iraq showing up with weapons of mass destruction."
Given 15 months after Bush announced the planned invasion of Iraq for Iraqi officials to hide their weapons of mass destruction, only a moron incapable of understanding the definition of the word "hide" would find it remotely difficult to hide the weapons in the vast amount of time allocated. That Syrian officials brag of their open border to all Muslims who wish to travel in or out further increases the probability that weapons were simply moved to Syria until needed later. Of course, to the not so nimble mind of Jack Hornberger we simply bullied the poor honest Saddam Hussein for not doing our bidding. Perhaps we were a tad bit miffed at the fact that he violated his own cease fire agreement, failing to account for only 17 weapons. However, since Jack seems undeterred by facts in his mindless pursuit of demagogic self aggrandizement maybe a future in Internet editorial analysis is just the right place for him. The problem is not that Jack is against the war, it’s that he’s apparently against factual analysis and rational argument.
Jacob Hornberger replies:
Mr. Klingenbeck needs to get the information regarding this conspiracy to the vice president because he’s still operating under the assumption that those much-vaunted weapons of mass destruction, which the U.S. delivered to Saddam in the 1980s, are still going to be found in Iraq. But if Mr. Klingenbeck’s conspiracy is true, then doesn’t that simply confirm that the invasion of Iraq did in fact fail to eradicate those weapons of mass destruction that the government used to terrify so many Americans into supporting its war of aggression?
New Milosevic Biography
Antiwar.com readers might be interested to know that a new biography of Slobodan Milosevic by one Adam LeBor has been published by Yale University Press. Among many of the book’s "oversimplifications" (to quote the author during his recent appearance on BookTV) is the utter misrepresentation of the tone of Milosevic’s famous 1989 speech at Kosovo Field. From Antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo and Nebojsa Malic as well as tenc.net, I am aware of the utterly unfathomable misuse of this speech, which is often mentioned but never quoted in its entirety. Interested readers may wish to check the book out and join me in publicizing its many falsehoods in whatever way they wish.
Nebojsa Malic replies:
I‘ve been aware of LeBor’s marginal work for a while now. Endorsed by Keepers of Official Truth, it’s a volume that recycles the same old myths and lies. Now that you mention the speech, you can find it here: SLOBODAN MILOSEVICS 1989 ST. VITUS DAY SPEECH.
What Page is Kerry On?
Theres no question why Kerry isnt generating any enthusiasm. Hes on the wrong page. Heres a list of this mornings headlines on Reuters (at 11:20AM, EST, May 11):
*Senators Grill Military on Iraq Prison Abuses
*Saddam to Be Handed Over to Iraqis Before Power Transfer
*Iraqis Protest Against Shi’ite Militia in Najaf
*Amnesty Report Fuels Scandal on Abuse of Iraqis
*Poll: Bush Job Rating Dips, Support for War Down
*Bush Shown Iraq Abuse Photos, Again Backs Rumsfeld
*Kerry Says Bush Ignoring Plight of Small Business
Kerry says what? People are not upset with Bush because he is ignoring the plight of small businesses. To see why Kerry generates no enthusiasm stateside or abroad, theres no need to go any further than Kerrys pathetic headline. People are interested in the war in Iraq, the issue of prisoner abuse in Iraq and elsewhere, the continued casualties of U.S. troops. Governor Howard Dean gave the Democratic Party, and even Kerry, a clear reading of what page the people are on. Kerry will blow the opportunity to defeat Bush in the November elections unless he can figure this out. If he cant, he doesnt deserve to be president.
Johnson’s article is very interesting, particularly it’s list of possible reasons for the Second Iraq War. However, he overlooks the role of US fundamentalist Protestantism, and the very common millenialist ideology, Dispensationalism. Whether Bush et al. believe that an Iraqi was will bring Jesus back sooner or not, many of the voters think so. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘president-elected-by-God’ didn’t believe it all.
If not familiar with Dispensationalism, I recommend reading any of Hal Lindsey’s books, particularly The Late Great Planet Earth, or the Left Behind series. This last has sold nearly as well as the Harry Potter books, evidence of the importance of the ideology.
~ Lester Ness, Putian University