Saturday, May 08, 2004

Naked Twister?

I confess; I turned on the TV again. This time I watched CNBC's Dennis Miller. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Here is how Weekly Standard editor Jonathan V. Last described Iraqi prison tortures;

I hope these guys are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law ... but at the same time, let's not get too crazy and call them Nazi-like. ... Worse happens in frat houses across America ... bad pictures with some guys playing naked Twister. It's bad, but we don't want to get too crazy.
The "naked twister" comment got a good laugh from the audience.

I couldn't believe that this is the spin the neocons are trying to put on this. A little bit of checking affirms that, amazingly, this is exactly the defense being made for these atrocities.

From FOX's Hannity and Colms, in an interview of Tony Robinson, former U.S. Army sergeant and interrogation instructor;
Robinson: Well, one thing that needs to be understood, is that there's also an impact on the torturer. ... Now, I use the word torture, but that's not what's happening in these pictures.

Hannity: What is it?

Robinson: I've seen - I've seen worse than this at - frat hazing is worse than this.

Hannity: So in other words, this is not a big deal? What should the punishment be if these guys in fact are found guilty of whatever is going on over there, whatever is going on?

Robinson: Well, it's not torture. If it was, they'd be accused of torture. They're accused of maltreatment. I'm not making excuses for them.
From Rush;
Caller: It was like a college fraternity prank that stacked up naked men...

Rush: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?
Naked Twister? Frat hazing? Blowing off steam? Is this the best defense they can come up with? It would seem an obvious point, but possibly we need to keep in mind one important point; these are not a bunch of willing frat boys, these are POWs in a country we are occupying!

I wish this kind of commentary (and there is more of the same out there, btw) could be dismissed as more hot air from the spin doctors. But I suspect that this is how both the President and his Secretary of Defense see this situation. From Donald Rumsfeld;

My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture... I don't know if the - it is correct to say what you just said, that torture has taken place, or that there's been a conviction for torture. And therefore I'm not going to address the torture word.
That's enough to cause one to wonder if the Secretary has yet to read the Taguba Report, which included the following actions by the US military:
Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;
Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;
Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;
Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;
Forcing naked male detainees to wear women's underwear;
Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;
Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;
Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture;
Writing "I am a Rapest" (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked;
Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee's neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture;
A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee;
Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee;
Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.
Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;
Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol;
Pouring cold water on naked detainees;
Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair;
Threatening male detainees with rape;
Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell;
Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick.
We are told there is more to come.

Frat house pranks? Abuse, but not torture? A weak defense for the tip of the iceberg being revealed.

We need to admit what we have done here, make the necessary changes, and remove the leaders responsible, so we can get on to other necessary investigations concerning civilian deaths and the assassination of wounded Iraqis. But first, let's figure out how to get out of Iraq.

One final note; I continue to speak on the behavior of the US military first of all because I am a Christian; one who follows Jesus Christ, who said "The Gentiles lord their authority over one another, but not so with you!" Oppressive violence can never be called "Christian," no matter how far one stretches the definition. I am also a veteran, who served during Vietnam. If called, I would serve again. I love this nation, and that is why I am outraged by the behavior of this administration. It is my Christian duty, and my patriotic duty, to speak out.


UPDATE Daily Kos notes one of the latest spins to watch for; the abuses were in response to the murder of the mercenaries in Fallujah. Note that the abuses were going on way before that atrocity. The two events are not linked, unless we entertain the possibility that the outrage by the people of Fallujah was fueled by the abuses they knew were going on in Abu Ghraib.

Ask not what Iraqis did to you in Fallujah.
Ask what you did to the Iraqis before Fallujah.

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