Friday, July 22, 2005

Where we stand

The ACLU's access to additional photos and videos from Abu Ghraib has been blocked. Hunter at DailyKos explains what we're missing:
The images, according to those lawmakers who have seen them, paint a picture of torture at Abu Ghraib far, far worse than most Americans have yet been willing to admit. Via the Boston Herald, May 8th, 2004:
Signaling the worst revelations are yet to come, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the additional photos show "acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman." [...]
The unreleased images show American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys, according to NBC News.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the scandal is "going to get worse" and warned that the most "disturbing" revelations haven't yet been made public.

"The American public needs to understand, we're talking about rape and murder here," he said. "We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience; we're talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges."

And from investigative reporter Seymour Hersh:

The women were passing messages saying "Please come and kill me, because of what's happened". Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking.

Note these links are from 2004. We've known about the additional abuse cases for over a year. And yes, the rest of the world already knows.

Update [2005-7-22 20:41:35 by Hunter]: In reference to a number of posts below... To be honest, I don't even care if this effort looks partisan anymore. If being anti-child-sodomy is now considered the partisan position, then I'm going to be the biggest f---ing partisan on the planet, and to Hell with anyone who isn't.

I'm tired of all of it. Just tired. I'm tired because the rest of the world has known this for a year, and we refuse to discuss it in this country. And in truth, we can't discuss it in this country without the (heavily censored) pictures, because without the pictures, the horrible, horrible actual pictures, the loathsome, brick-stupid f---ing news media doesn't see a story. And without the pictures, every bloated, pill-popping, corpse-like Rush Limbaugh clone in America will continue to claim it's all lies, all exaggerated, all phony.

Amen. If child-sodomy is partisan, I'm glad I'm with the party that's against it. Ditto for rape and abusing the dead. If your party is on the other side, maybe you want to write someone a letter. Or vote for the other guy, even if the letter next to his/her name is a D.

Don't forget this from the testimony gathered by General Taguba:

I saw [name blacked out] fucking a kid, his age would be about 15-18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn't covered and I saw [blacked out], who was wearing the military uniform putting his dick in the little kid's ass," Mr Hilas told military investigators. "I couldn't see the face of the kid because his face wasn't in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures." had a review of Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak by Jean Hatzfeld, a book by a journalist in Rwanda. This journalist went to a prison and interviewed 10 people who participated in the slaughter in rural Rwanda.

I'll quote some of their comments:

"Man can get used to killing, if he kills on and on," said Alphonse. Fulgence went one step further: "The more we saw people die, the less we thought about their lives, the less we talked about their deaths. And the more we got used to enjoying it."

But there was another key component to the genocide's ferocity: No one was watching. There is nothing so damning in "Machete Season" as when the men speak of the "whites." One man suggests that the idea of genocide germinated in 1959, when Hutus massacred many Tutsis "without being punished." And in 1994, Hutu extremists gradually realized that the world was averting its eyes from the present atrocities as well. "All the important people turned their backs on our killings," said Elie. "The blue helmets, the Belgians, the white directors, the black presidents, the humanitarian people, and the international cameramen, the priests and the bishops and finally even God ... We were all abandoned by all words of rebuke." Pancrace agreed: "Killing is very discouraging if you yourself must decide to do it ... but if you must obey the orders of the authorities ... if you see that the killing will be total and without disastrous consequences for yourself, you feel soothed and reassured."

When we sent our soldiers off to Iraq, they got orders to do these things. A bunch of kids from the sticks didn't just decide to let loose, they were given a green light by their superiors. And Mark Danner has a pretty good document trail that comes close to proving it.

If we don't want our boys coming back "used to killing," not thinking about other people's lives, "enjoying" murder, we need to do what no one had the courage to do 10 years ago. We need to demand action. We need to make ourselves see what we don't want to.

Abu Ghraib Torture
Too many people see this Baghdad mural of the Statue of Liberty flipping the switch on the Hooded Man from Abu Ghraib and think it represents you and me.

That's not OK.

In a democracy, it's not OK for citizens to sit by and wait for the government to take care of a problem. As they say, if the people lead, the leaders will follow. As long as you haven't complained to your senators, they don't have any interest in digging into this and getting real answers. Brownback and Roberts sit on committees with oversight of Abu Ghraib, and have been content to let the military investigate itself. That won't do, but they think you don't care enough.

Tell them otherwise.

Tell the it's not OK to stomp POWs (a General and a Lt. Colonel) to death.

That's not America.