5.21.2005

the other war

"Even as the young Afghan man was dying before them, his American jailers continued to torment him."

When I first read this story, I assumed you all saw it, too, and didn't need my take. And it was so sickening, I caught myself looking the other way. But after taking a few deep breaths, I feel an obligation to post it, just in case someone stumbles on it for the first time on this blog.

The story I'm referring to is the details of the deaths of the Afghan prisoners, by torture at the hands of the US military, in the Bagram prison. And how the military tried to cover up those deaths.
In some instances, testimony shows, it was directed or carried out by interrogators to extract information. In others, it was punishment meted out by military police guards. Sometimes, the torment seems to have been driven by little more than boredom or cruelty, or both.
The army even admits that "most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar [one of the men tortured to death] was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time." New York Times story here.

How do the neocons and fascists - the O'Reillys and Coulters of the world - defend this? Maybe it's the one bad apple defense. Maybe it's breaking eggs to make omelets. Or perhaps it's the media's fault, for reporting it.

The tortured prisoners lost their dignity, then their lives. Their tormentors lost their dignity, and their souls.

I would never compare what a murderer and his victim suffer. No matter how much the perpetrator one day regrets his actions, the hammer hurts less than the nail. I'll only conjecture that the American torturers may run from their demons for the rest of lives, and no amount of alcohol or drugs will let them run fast enough.

And what of the people who put them there, who created a climate that allowed such horror? What of those defenders of freedom? What will happen to them?

20 comments:

Doggerelle said...

What makes you think that these "perps" of an inhumanity we thought had gone the way of smallpox even consider, much less formulate, a defense or even an explanation? Does anyone who counts (to them) even ASK? Does it seem to you that the devolution of regime accountability has moved from outright lies, to hype, to double-speak, to vague muttering about irrelevancies to silence?

G said...

I'm trying to figure out if your comment is an attempt at sarcasm, or if you actually mean the questions you are asking.

In that respect I ask you: where were you when Rummy sat before the Senate during the height of the Iraqi prison torture scandal?

His testimony there answers yes and yes to both of your questions.

L-girl said...

DQ, I'm not sure what you mean.

I'm not saying the torturers are thinking or feeling any one thing or another at this point.

But I believe that when people stoop to the lowest form of human behavior (and it is human - history shows us that), they degrade themselves along with their victims. I think they'll suffer for it.

I'm not saying they shouldn't suffer or don't deserve to. I'm just saying they will.

As for "gone the way of smallpox", sadly, horribly, torture has not done that. Far from it. Torture is alive and well (so to speak) all over the globe.

G said...

Been listening to Beatles B-sides all morning. Keep thinking someone should sing this to Georgie. Think it's the Jr's head is hard as rock part that strikes a chord with me. That and Nadia's got me thinking lyrics this AM now too.
--

Bad Boy

A bad little kid
moved into my neighborhood
He won't do nothing right
just a sitting got to look so good
He don't wanna go to school
and learn to read and write
Just sits around the house and plays
that rock and roll music all night
Well he put thumb tacks on teacher's chair
put chewing gum in little girl's hair
Now Junior behave yourself

Buys every rock and roll book
on the magazine stand
Every dime that he gets
oh he's off to the jukebox man
Well he worries that teacher
till at night she's aready to poop
From rocking and a rolling
spinning in a hula-hoop
Well his rock and roll has gotta stop
Junior's head is hard as rock
Now Junior behave yourself, ow

Gonna tell ya mamma
you'd better do what she said
Get to the barber shop
and get that hair cut off your head
You shoot the canary
and you fed it to the neighbor's cat
You have the cocker spaniel
a bathing mother's laundromat
Well ya mamma said it's gotta stop
Junior's head is hard as a rock
Now, Junior be have yourself!

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

"How do the neocons and fascists - the O'Reillys and Coulters of the world - defend this? "

Oh, that's easy. They have a catch-all phrase for situations like this. "It's a whole different world now after 9/11". I think O'Reilly must use this phrase at least once a show.

Thus everything is permitted beacuse "it's a different world now.".

L-girl said...

Oh of course. Silly me. I forgot about the whole different world, making it permissible to do whatever you want to whomever you want at any time, with no consequences, because once upon a time your country (which you weren't defending properly) was attacked.

Funny how this whole different world is a one-way street.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

My husband keeps telling me that I forget that I live in California. That most of the world kepts blinders on to these types of actions, and that my feelings for Bush are not shared by the country. I so want him to be wrong, but more and more I see him to be correct in his assessment.

How could so many millions of Americans re-elected that man?

L-girl said...

How could so many millions of Americans re-elected that man?

Excellent question, Barbara.

My opinion:

Partly because they were lied to and deceived, including by omission. I realize there are many people who, if they knew the truth, would still have voted for him. But millions of W's supporters don't know what he really stands for.

Also, he almost certainly did not win a fair election. Which brings us back to the question asked by d.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

"Oh of course. Silly me. I forgot about the whole different world, making it permissible to do whatever you want to whomever you want at any time, with no consequences, because once upon a time your country (which you weren't defending properly) was attacked."

Now, now, if you disagree with Bush's methods, that obviously means that you support terrorism and that you're an anti-American traitor.

Remember, terrorists hate you for your freedom, and if you have another opinion you're a liberal trying to destroy America.

In the "life imitating art" department, it's bizarre watching science fictoin films about a democratic Republic turning into an Empire as it seems to be happening in real life outside the theatres.

L-girl said...

"Now, now, if you disagree with Bush's methods, that obviously means that you support terrorism and that you're an anti-American traitor."

That's what the nasty commenters keep telling me! I guess they're right after all!

"In the "life imitating art" department, it's bizarre watching science fictoin films about a democratic Republic turning into an Empire as it seems to be happening in real life outside the theatres."

Yes, I've been reading about that. I'm actually going to venture into a movie theatre to see it (highly unusual for me). I was really into the first three Star Wars movies, but was so disappointed by the first prequel, I gave up on the whole franchise. (The relentless merchandising really gets me down, too.)

But this new one really sounds worth seeing, plus the political subtext - I can't resist.

RobfromAlberta said...

I saw it yesterday. Best exchange:

Anakin Skywalker: "If you aren't with me, you are my enemy."

Obi-Wan Kenobi: "Only a Sith deals in absolutes."

Worst exchange:

The rest of the damned movie.

L-girl said...

Really??? Another clunker?! Oh no!

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Was it that bad?

Oh well, I'm going to go see it anyway. It's the only one I haven't seen, and it'll bug me if I'm missing one piece of the story.

RobfromAlberta said...

Unfortunately yes. I had heard some good reviews of it so I was expecting more. I suppose if I had kept my expectations to low, it would have been less disappointing.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

"Partly because they were lied to and deceived, including by omission. I realize there are many people who, if they knew the truth, would still have voted for him. But millions of W's supporters don't know what he really stands for."

I hate to say it, but they aren't even interested in listening to the truth. There's no shortage of information on how and why Bush started this war, and it's right out there for all to see. The truth is standing naked in the middle of an intersection screaming its lungs out, but nobody's listening.

L-girl said...

Another case of hype ruining a good time. I hate that.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

And yes Rob, I know you'ld say the same thing about Ontarians and the Liberal party. :)

L-girl said...

"...but they aren't even interested in listening to the truth. There's no shortage of information on how and why Bush started this war, and it's right out there for all to see."

I sometimes agree with this POV, and other times feel more sympathetic to ignorant sheeple.

Not everyone has the time and/or intelligence to seek out alternate sources of information. People are too busy working three jobs, or trying not to get evicted, or caring for sick children - and yes, too busy staring blankly at dumb TV shows.

Voters need easier access to truthful information. The US campaign system as it stands now is just another dumb TV show, it has so little to do with reality.

L-girl said...

"And yes Rob, I know you'd say the same thing about Ontarians and the Liberal party. :) "

What, low expectations? Or it's ok if they're abducted? :)

RobfromAlberta said...

Both!

Just kidding, Ontario. We all love you. Nice tower.