May 03, 2004

Excerpts from the Taguba Report

Major General Taguba, in the report that General Myers has not read on his investigation that George W. Bush does not know has been conducted. If anybody has a full copy, I'll read it:

Los Angeles Times: Excerpts From Prison Inquiry: Military Intelligence (MI) interrogators and other U.S. Government Agency interrogators actively requested that MP guards set physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of witnesses…. stated in his sworn statement... "I witnessed prisoners in the MI hold section, wing 1A, being made to do various things that I would question morally…. Also the wing belongs to MI, and it appeared MI personnel approved of the abuse." Sgt. Davis also stated that he had heard MI insinuate to the guards to abuse the inmates. When asked what MI said, he stated: "Loosen this guy up for us. Make sure he has a bad night. Make sure he gets the treatment." … Finally, Sgt. Davis stated: "The MI staffs to my understanding have been giving … compliments … like, 'Good job, they're breaking down real fast. They answer every question. They're giving out good information, finally, and keep up the good work.' Stuff like that."...

U.S. civilian contract personnel (Titan Corporation, CACI, etc….), third-country nationals and local contractors do not appear to be properly supervised within the detention facility at Abu Ghraib. During our on-site inspection, they wandered about with too much unsupervised free access in the detainee area….

The various detention facilities operated by the 800th MP Brigade have routinely held persons brought to them by other government agencies (OGAs) without accounting for them, knowing their identities, or even the reason for their detention.... On at least one occasion, the 320th MP Battalion at Abu Ghraib held a handful of "ghost detainees" (6-8) for OGAs that they moved around within the facility to hide them from a visiting International Committee of the Red Cross survey team. This maneuver was deceptive, contrary to Army Doctrine and in violation of international law….

During the course of this investigation I conducted a lengthy interview with [Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, commander of the Army Reserve's 800th Military Police Brigade], that lasted over four hours, and is included verbatim in the investigation annexes. Brig. Gen. Karpinski was extremely emotional during much of her testimony. What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among its soldiers…. Karpinski … blames much of the abuse that occurred in Abu Ghraib on MI personnel and stated that MI personnel had given the MPs "ideas" that led to detainee abuse….

Due to the nature and scope of this investigation, I acquired the assistance of Col. Henry Nelson, a U.S. Air Force psychiatrist, to analyze the investigation materials…. He determined that there was evidence that the horrific abuses suffered by the detainees at Abu Ghraib were wanton acts of select soldiers in an unsupervised and dangerous setting….

Several Army soldiers have committed egregious acts and grave breaches of international law at Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, Iraq. Furthermore, key senior leaders in the 800th MP Brigade and the 205th MI Brigade failed to comply with established regulations, policies and command directives in preventing detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib and at Camp Bucca [from] August 2003 to February 2004….

It looks to me as though MI and the CIA said "Make sure the MPs soften them up!" that the MPs thought "How can we soften them up as much as possible without leaving marks?" that General Karpinski did not know, did not want to know, and did not try to supervise what was going on in the MI cellblocks (perhaps because "interfering with the ability of MI and the CIA to do their work" would have been an immediate career limiting move), and that General Taguba wants very much to define the problem as "wanton acts of select soldiers" who were not properly supervised (rather than, say, as acts that were supervised by people outside the normal army chain of command).


UPDATE: Another piece of the Taguda Report:

The New York Times: The report said the "ambiguous command relationship" in the prison was made worse by orders that seemed to give military intelligence officials broad authority. The orders from occupation commanders in Iraq effectively made a military intelligence officer, rather than a military police officer, responsible for the military police units, the report said. This arrangement was not supported by General Karpinski, the report added, and "is not doctrinally sound."...

The report identifies Col. Thomas M. Pappas, commander of the 205th military intelligence brigade, Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, the former director of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center and Liaison Officer to the 205th Military intelligence Brigade, Steven Stephanowicz, an Army contract employee from CACI, and John Israel, a contractor and civilian interpreter with CACI, as the people suspected of being "either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib." The report concluded that Mr. Stephanowicz made a false statement to the investigation team regarding the "locations of his interrogations, the activities during his interrogations, and his knowledge of abuses." It recommended that he be dismissed.

Mr. Stephanowicz appears to have still been at Abu Ghraib in late April. The army appears to have paid as much attention to General Taguda's report as it paid to General Karpinski's protests over effectively putting her soldiers under the command of Colonel Pappas.

Where are Colonel Pappas and Lt. Col. Jordan these days, anyway?


Excerpts of the Army's investigative report on alleged abuses at U.S. military prisons in Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, Iraq. It was requested by the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, and written by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba:

*

Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade; Secret/No Foreign Dissemination

*

Several potential suspects rendered full and complete confessions regarding their personal involvement and the involvement of fellow soldiers in this abuse. Several potential suspects invoked their rights under Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution….

Between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility, numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force…. The allegations of abuse were substantiated by detailed witness statements and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence….



*

I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:

•  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 box [of meals ready to eat], 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 [military police] 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.



In addition, several detainees also described the following acts of abuse, which under the circumstances, I find credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses:

•  Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees.

•  Threatening detainees with a charged 9-millimeter 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 broomstick.

*



Military Intelligence (MI) interrogators and other U.S. Government Agency interrogators actively requested that MP guards set physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of witnesses….

Sgt. Javal S. Davis, 372nd MP Company, stated in his sworn statement as follows: "I witnessed prisoners in the MI hold section, wing 1A, being made to do various things that I would question morally…. Also the wing belongs to MI, and it appeared MI personnel approved of the abuse." Sgt. Davis also stated that he had heard MI insinuate to the guards to abuse the inmates. When asked what MI said, he stated: "Loosen this guy up for us. Make sure he has a bad night. Make sure he gets the treatment." … Finally, Sgt. Davis stated: "The MI staffs to my understanding have been giving … compliments … like, 'Good job, they're breaking down real fast. They answer every question. They're giving out good information, finally, and keep up the good work.' Stuff like that."

Mr. Adel L. Nakhla, a U.S. civilian contract translator, [said], "They made them do strange exercises by sliding on their stomach, jump up and down, throw water on them and made them some wet, called them all kinds of names such as 'gays,' do they like to make love to guys, then they handcuffed their hands together and their legs with shackles and started to stack them on top of each other." …



*

The 320th MP Battalion and the 372nd MP Company had received no training in detention/internee operations. I also find that very little instruction or training was provided to MP personnel on the applicable rules of the Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war … [and] few, if any, copies of the Geneva Conventions were ever made available to MP personnel or detainees….

Operational journals at the various compounds and the 320th Battalion [site] contained numerous unprofessional entries and flippant comments, which highlighted the lack of discipline within the unit. There was no indication that the journals were ever reviewed by anyone in their chain of command….

Basic Army Doctrine was not widely referenced or utilized to develop the accountability practices throughout the 800th MP Brigade's subordinate units. Daily processing, accountability and detainee care appear to have been made up as the operations developed with reliance on, and guidance from, junior members of the unit who had civilian corrections experience….

The Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca detention facilities are significantly over their intended maximum capacity, while the guard force is undermanned and under-resourced. This imbalance has contributed to the poor living conditions, escapes and accountability lapses at the various facilities. The overcrowding of the facilities also limits the ability to identify and segregate leaders in the detainee population who may be organizing escapes and riots within the facility.

The screening, processing, and release of detainees who should not be in custody takes too long and contributes to the overcrowding and unrest in the detention facilities….



*

The Iraqi guards at Abu Ghraib demonstrate questionable work ethics and loyalties, and are a potentially dangerous contingent…. These guards have furnished the Iraqi criminal inmates with contraband, weapons and information. Additionally, they have facilitated the escape of at least one detainee….

In general, U.S. civilian contract personnel (Titan Corporation, CACI, etc….), third-country nationals and local contractors do not appear to be properly supervised within the detention facility at Abu Ghraib. During our on-site inspection, they wandered about with too much unsupervised free access in the detainee area…. Several interviewees insisted that the MP and MI Soldiers at Abu Ghraib received regular training on the basics of detainee operations; however, they have been unable to produce any verifying documentation, sign-in rosters or soldiers who can recall the content of this training.

The various detention facilities operated by the 800th MP Brigade have routinely held persons brought to them by other government agencies (OGAs) without accounting for them, knowing their identities, or even the reason for their detention. The Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center at Abu Ghraib called these detainees "ghost detainees." On at least one occasion, the 320th MP Battalion at Abu Ghraib held a handful of "ghost detainees" (6-8) for OGAs that they moved around within the facility to hide them from a visiting International Committee of the Red Cross survey team. This maneuver was deceptive, contrary to Army Doctrine and in violation of international law….

*



In addition to being severely undermanned, the quality of life for soldiers assigned to Abu Ghraib was extremely poor…. There were numerous mortar attacks, random rifle and [rocket-propelled grenade] attacks, and a serious threat to soldiers and detainees in the facility…. Finally, because of past associations and familiarity of soldiers within the brigade, it appears that friendship often took precedence over appropriate leader and subordinate relationships.

*

During the course of this investigation I conducted a lengthy interview with [Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, commander of the Army Reserve's 800th Military Police Brigade], that lasted over four hours, and is included verbatim in the investigation annexes. Brig. Gen. Karpinski was extremely emotional during much of her testimony. What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among its soldiers…. Karpinski … blames much of the abuse that occurred in Abu Ghraib on MI personnel and stated that MI personnel had given the MPs "ideas" that led to detainee abuse….

Psychological factors, such as the difference in culture, the soldiers' quality of life, the real presence of mortal danger over an extended time period, and the failure of commanders to recognize these pressures contributed to the … atmosphere that existed at Abu Ghraib….



*

Due to the nature and scope of this investigation, I acquired the assistance of Col. Henry Nelson, a U.S. Air Force psychiatrist, to analyze the investigation materials…. He determined that there was evidence that the horrific abuses suffered by the detainees at Abu Ghraib were wanton acts of select soldiers in an unsupervised and dangerous setting….



Several Army soldiers have committed egregious acts and grave breaches of international law at Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, Iraq. Furthermore, key senior leaders in the 800th MP Brigade and the 205th MI Brigade failed to comply with established regulations, policies and command directives in preventing detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib and at Camp Bucca [from] August 2003 to February 2004….

Posted by DeLong at May 3, 2004 09:08 AM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

The probably even worse thing is that there was obviously no follow up on Gen. Tabugas report.
CACI says they were not contacted by the army about it and the man Stephanwitcz who Ttabuga insists to be fired is still working in Iraq
Billmon has more
http://billmon.org/archives/001442.html

Posted by: bernhard on May 3, 2004 09:17 AM

____

A comma after "has not read" would make your first sentence more intelligible.

Posted by: fyreflye on May 3, 2004 09:20 AM

____

I think you've accidentally double-posted this item, Professor.

The scary thing is that some of the most culpable actors (private contractors) may be outside of the US criminal, military justice, and international criminal systems.

The only recourse is internal company action--- imagine their chagrin as they have their parking space re-assigned and are ordered to plan the 'White Elephant' Christmas party!

Posted by: Norbizness on May 3, 2004 09:44 AM

____

Norbizness writes:
>
> The scary thing is that some of the most culpable actors
> (private contractors) may be outside of the US criminal,
> military justice, and international criminal systems.

I'm actually not scared that these people are outside of justice; if there is a big enough call for justice, anybody could be shipped off to the Hague.

What absolutely chills me the most about this event, though, is the fact that we in essence contracted out at least our torture supervision job just about as glibly as we contracted out procurement, food services, and the receconstruction of Iraqi infrastructure.

So many things make the mind reel here. For starters, I can't imagine what the "pay for performance" criteria must have been here. Did CACI get more money if the prisoners whimpered, or did they have to blurt out stuff to make the money flow? Were truthful confessions worth more than convenient ones? How exactly was the contract overseen? And lest these questions all seem glib, I should point out that, for some reason, the bureaucratic back end of a prison camp and its torture effort does always seem to be curiously well-documented.

So, I think we must see those documents, and as quickly as possible. Whoever is ultimately responsible has to be named, and whoever is named must be questioned. We really need to find out exactly what happened, no matter how embarassing, or I do not believe that the US will be able to have the effective support of our allies for years to come.

Posted by: Jonathan King on May 3, 2004 10:14 AM

____

And while the amature soldiers are being told "good job, you're really getting to them," they have no way of knowing whether that is true. The standard line from professional interrogators is that the rough stuff doesn't work, but who knows? It is hardly in a professional interrogator's interest to tell the soft-hearted public (the soft-hearted half of the public?) that the only thing keeping them from wiring up their prisoners is their own scuples and human rights inspectors.

So maybe all this bad behavior isn't even producing any objective benefits. If it is, then we have been handed a load of bull about the ineffectiveness of torture in interrogation, almost certainly so we'll be willing to leave all this to the pros.

The obvious solution is a heavy program of inspection. If torture doesn't work, then no harm done. If torture does work, then inspection is likely the only thing that will prevent its happening.

Posted by: K Harris on May 3, 2004 10:18 AM

____

I think we are all now beginning to learn how the 'good Germans' could have acquiesced in all the horrible things they did in World War II. Career-limiting protest' is something only the brave or extraordinarily committed do. Few of us are that brave or that committed. The exerpts from Wilson's book indicate that several reporters to whom the occupation of Valery Plame was outed are (or were) afraid to come clean on the leakers because of what they thought might happen to them. One reporter spoke of having to carry a mortgage and fees for two kids in private school. This is real life. I remember how it was at the very start of the Civil Rights Movement. We were students and didn't have all that much to lose; but our parents did.

Fewer and fewr of us remember how it was like under Joe McCarthy. We are half way there. Everybody has a sensible reason for not acting, a hostage to fortune or a skeleton in the closet. Authoritarian regimes don't have to apply a lot of overt force; a little blackmail goes a long way.

Posted by: knut wicksell on May 3, 2004 11:15 AM

____

These abuses are terrible for the war! But let's keep things in perspective...

There's a certain hypocrisy going on

Posted by: justin @ RSR on May 3, 2004 11:21 AM

____

Various apologists are trying to limit the damage from this apalling set of events. Volokh: the "Arab street" is just as bad so we shouldn't get too upset (He claims he's appalled, of course, but then why move so quickly to the apologias?.) Bush: (smirking, at least in the CNN still that ran behind reporting of how mad he was): "Terrible, terrible" (but only AFTER the New Yorker blew his cover). The Army brass (many of whom probably do really disapprove, and who probably are pretty unhappy with their turf being handed over to private security firms associated with Halliburton): "We are shocked..." but only acting publicly now that someone else has blown the story.

A genuinely moral administration (OK, probably an oxymoron...but this one DOES make the claim!) would have preemptively and publicly denounced these actions AND the policies that allowed them to happen, and would have energetically apologized as soon as the Taguba report was written or such incidents came to their attention. After all, only stupid American politicians now try to deny or cover things up when they are caught: the only effective strategy is to confront the error, apologize and move on.

But of course, since no one has been able to get any Bushie to merely acknowledge poor judgement about anything (except for when they criticize the president, cf. DiIulio and Bremer), it would be in the realm of pure fantasy to expect them either (a) to be genuinely shocked at being the instigators of sexual humiliation and torture, (b) admit that they have any responsibility for what happens when they are in charge, (c) apologize forthrightly, or (d) take any steps to prevent it from happening again.

Posted by: PQuincy on May 3, 2004 11:36 AM

____

Well, well, my lefty friends. It’s time for you to listen to a grown up on matters of war and peace.

1 – Wartime is different from peacetime.
2 – Morality in wartime is different from morality in peacetime.
3 – War is savage and must be fought savagely if you want to win.
4 - Being nice to undefeated enemies always backfires because a committed enemy will correctly see your niceness as weakness; and this ALWAYS RESULTS in more death and destruction to your countrymen and civilians.
5 – Humiliation is a legitimate tactic in war and can actually save lives.
6 – Trying not to get your enemy mad at you is hopeless and foolish.
7 – Niceness and respect is only appropriate AFTER VICTORY. The USA has been magnanimous in victory since the twentieth century began.

The sad fact is that all this fuss over the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners will weaken our war effort and cost many extra lives. In fact, Democrat policy since Korea has weakened our nation and cost millions of lives. Democrats haven’t won a war since WW2 because they try to not get our enemies mad at us and thus they’ve caused the enslavement and death of millions of Eastern Europeans at Potsdam; the enslavement and death of millions of North Koreans; the enslavement and death of millions of Vietnamese, Khmer people and Laotians.

For these clear cut reasons, it is crucial that you guys be kept out of power.

Adrian

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on May 3, 2004 12:13 PM

____

Speaking as a righty Republican, I largely agree with your seven points however:

The sad fact is that the treatment of the prisoners has itself harmed our war effort, aided our enemies war effort and will cost many extra lives. Our people should not have done this. Those who did it must be punished. We would not tolerate such treatment of our own people taken prisoner, we should not treat others this way. This behavior is just plain wrong.

Posted by: Steven Rogers on May 3, 2004 12:36 PM

____

> Wartime is different from peacetime.

Yeah. Among other things, there are international codes of conduct in wartime, and states that violate them become world pariahs. It's probably easier to downplay an abuse in peacetime as merely the actions of rogue individuals.

Posted by: Paul Callahan on May 3, 2004 12:46 PM

____

It is good that the abuse is out in the open because now it can be fixed. Before the photos were released, everyone would have tried to hide what went on because the release would have been very very bad news. Now that it is out in the open, we should be pretty free to get it right this time and have the facilities completely open to Red Cross or other humanitarian organization. In fact this should be a requirement by the military and they should assign a compliance officer whose duty it is to listen to the independent oversight commission and to report any and all allegations. That compliance officer's performance evaluation should depend on comprehensive reporting. Prison supervision personnel should be free to seek clarification from the compliance officer as to what is/ is not allowed. Such a system would clean up 99.9% of abuse.

For Mr. Bush, pictures of Abu Ghraib may resemble the hazings he must have supervised as a Frat Boy President. For Bush to suggest that the activities there were "unAmerican" or "not the way things are done in America" is to overlook a culture of hazing that permeates high school athletics, American street gangs and college fraternaties. Even with U administration oversight, Frat Boy hazings kill pledges every year. Maybe Bush does not remember his Frat days?

http://hazing.hanknuwer.com/hazingmain.html
http://www.pressrepublican.com/News/special/spec_hazing1.htm
http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/09/23/sorority.death/

Hazing is so prevalent, it is a lawyer specialty:
http://www.smcalaw.com/hazing/defpage1.htm

Perhaps a good introduction to the American justice system would be for Iraqi victims to sue the US contractors in American courts? Pro bono anyone?

WIthout close adult supervision, these situations quickly degenerate into Lord of the Flies. Why should we be shocked? Why should we say it is not part of American culture? Why do we have to work so hard to fight this kind of abuse against fellow Americans. No wonder Americans will shrug this off. Many Americans have themselves participtated in such rituals as perps, pledges or both. And this is in the US where there is some degree of accountability. Imagine a military prison that lacks accountability and worse, the guards are being egged on by the spooks? Apparently, the people in charge did not have a good enough imagination? Or maybe they did not imagine that people would be stupid enough to document the abuse in pictures?

Posted by: bakho on May 3, 2004 12:58 PM

____

Adrian, can you really be such a fool?

This is a political war - we actually won the combat over a year ago, remember? The only hope we have for winning the political struggle is by keeping Iraqi opinion on our side. Your advice seems to be that we should just make enemies of as many of them as possible, as quickly as possible.

Of course, having done that, we can return to the simpler joys of combat with a will, eh?

Posted by: Dave L on May 3, 2004 12:59 PM

____

Adrian, we're dying to hear that grownup point of view. Send it on by with all due speed!

Brad, could you please remove Adrian? He contributes nothing except a sort of unintentional black humor.

Adrian, the difficulty derives from the idea that we're liberating the Iraqis and gain some support in the Muslim world instead of having to fight the whole billion of them.

Posted by: Zizka on May 3, 2004 01:01 PM

____

although made queasy by the current photos and allegations, i believe that most americans knew or should have known that this is how American "intelligence" gathering from prisoners work. they must know that it does not consist of asking nicely for confidential information. "please tell us where the WMD are, " just doesn't work.

the hypocripsy of the left and the right is pretending to be outraged by what they have just "learned." to the average iraqi right now, there is no difference between Abu Ghurayb under Saddam and Abu Ghurayb under the Americans.

There are so many different threads in this story it is impossible to address them all in a single piece.

1. untrained reservists who "enlisted" as a way to climb the social ladder.

2. reservists who thought they would be "weekend warriors" a la George Bush"s National Guard Service.

3. the distaste all civilized people have torture.

4. the herd mentality which allows our "men and women" to become inured to the brutality of their actions, including, sodomizing prisoners, pissing on prisoners and other general humiliation.

bush wanted war. this is war. it is hypocritical to think war can be conducted according to rules. the purpose is to kill your enemy. beat them into submission. we will win the war if only our stomachs are strong enough and our bladders stay full.

Posted by: Garth on May 3, 2004 01:11 PM

____

It amazes me that anyoone could think that going easy on the perpetrators would help the war effort. These photographs have completely, utterly screwed us. In my view, an occupation of an Arab country was never likely to succeed. Now that al Jazeera is showing pictures of Arabs being forced to simulate sex or a female inmate actually being raped, there really is no hope. Muslims always suspected the West of being a society of libertines and perverts. Now their suspicions have been confirmed. There's no way we can govern the Iraqis now.

Posted by: Amitava Mazumdar on May 3, 2004 01:25 PM

____

Sheesh. I'm really driving some of you compassionate progressives crazy, I guess. All I want is a little debate wherein we actually try to understand why the other thinks the way he does.

Some posters have obliged, but too many can't get beyond their grade school insults.

FYI, I'm a moderately successful businessman who served his country when called upon and reached the grade of E-5 in the Navy. I was educated at MIT in Materials Science though I only completed 2 1/2 years.

I'm extremely happily married and have a beautiful, brilliant and dangerous 9 year old daughter, a 36 year old PhD in Bio Son, a 2 1/2 year old grandson and, praise the lord, another grandchild on the way.

Pretty normal, don't you think?

Adrian the regular guy

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on May 3, 2004 01:36 PM

____

I note the comments of lickspittle above, who knows as much about the Geneva Convention as the rest of us do about pleasuring ourselves to pictures of Bush and Cheney ("Ooo", lickspittle chortles, "Bush and Cheney together. Yowzer."). That is to say- absolutely nothing.

There are many categories of prisoners other than uniformed members of armed forces who are covered by the terms of the Geneva Convention. Foremost among these (and from all reports a large number in Iraq) is that of former members of a defeated army who the occupying force feel it necessary to detain, after their defeat.

The Geneva Conventions were entered into, aside from the self-evident humanitarian and moral reasons, as a means to guarantee the humane treatment of our own soldiers. Since chickenhawks like lickspittle and Cheney and Bush spent a lot of effort staying as far away from combat as possible (while letting better examples of human genetics die in their place), they are not really interested in the treatment of our soldiers if captured.

Why do illiterate Republican trolls hate our military so much?

Posted by: solar on May 3, 2004 01:42 PM

____

It doesn't take much more than the Golden Rule to understand why torture is wrong. If you're a utilitarian, it's also ineffective; the information
obtained through torture is notoriously unreliable.

I think what we're seeing here is a graphic example of the consequences of heading into a war on the basis of lies. The basic lie that Bush used was that there was some mysterious implied connection between AQ and Iraq. If you believe this, then the folks you're capturing in Iraq might be plotting mass murder in the US and "any means necessary" can be used against them.

However, if you're sweeping up common criminals, people who are just angry because a family member got killed or humiliated, or innocent people sent to the brig by informants settling a personal grudge - you are then torturing people with no information to give. And the names they give you in a desperate attempt to end the pain will have nothing to do with terror, and the names those people give you will repeat the cycle. I now understand why we no longer control some major cities in Iraq, and why the rebels apparently have substantial popular support. In the **US army report** quoted by Hersh, they estimated that something like 60% of the folks in detention had done NOTHING. That means that they were innocent, they were tortured, and at least some of them were killed while being tortured.

In the face of a disaster like this, it is illuminating to see the justifications given by Bush partisans. Whenever I see Adrian post here, I will remember him as someone who thinks that sadism and torture are acceptable things as long as they happen to the inhabitants of occupied countries. It's just another opportunity to mock the liberals on the other team. What a good German he would have been...

Marc

Posted by: Marc on May 3, 2004 02:07 PM

____

[apologies for taking the bait from the troll, but i think there is an opportunity here for instruction (or illustration, at the very least).]

The troll writes...

>Well, well, my lefty friends. It’s time for you to listen to a grown up on matters of war and peace.
>
>1 – Wartime is different from peacetime.
>2 – Morality in wartime is different from morality in peacetime.
>3 – War is savage and must be fought savagely if you want to win.
>4 - Being nice to undefeated enemies always backfires because a committed enemy will correctly see your niceness as weakness; and this ALWAYS RESULTS in more death and destruction to your countrymen and civilians.
>5 – Humiliation is a legitimate tactic in war and can actually save lives.
>6 – Trying not to get your enemy mad at you is hopeless and foolish.
>7 – Niceness and respect is only appropriate AFTER VICTORY. The USA has been magnanimous in victory since the twentieth century began.

Okay. So what are you prepared to do to "win" the war? Do you want to claim Fallujah as a victory for your side? If not, what do you think needs to be done to turn it into a victory for your side? Be specific. Don't just tell us what should be done. This is an economics blog comment forum, so you ought to expect that we want to know what resources you think are necessary, where you're going to get them, how you're going to pay for them, and how your risk management portfolio is balanced.

You're a grownup. That should be easy for a grownup to do.

And do try to remember that some of us actually understand what kind of force ratios are required to win in urban terrain combat environments. Allocation of resources in the presence of scarcity. Amateurs worry about strategy and tactics. Professionals are concerned with logistics.

Be a professional. Show us your plan for Victory.

Posted by: s9 on May 3, 2004 02:09 PM

____

how do you think our military intelligence is getting information from captured prisoners?

Posted by: Garth on May 3, 2004 02:53 PM

____

I'm sorry everyone, I find myself responding to this discussion also.

Mr. Spidle writes:

>Well, well, my lefty friends. It’s time for you to listen to a grown up on matters of war and peace.
>
>1 – Wartime is different from peacetime.

Certainly. In this case, our Commander in Chief has publicly declared that the war is over ("Mission Accomplished"), and thus, this is not wartime, this is peacetime. Peacetime is different from wartime, also.

>2 – Morality in wartime is different from morality in peacetime.

Again, certainly. Again, the President has said that this is peacetime, not wartime.

>3 – War is savage and must be fought savagely if you want to win.

This is generally true, but it is also true that each war is different. What is most effective in one war will not necessarily be most effective in another.

>4 - Being nice to undefeated enemies always backfires because a committed enemy will correctly see your niceness as weakness; and this ALWAYS RESULTS in more death and destruction to your countrymen and civilians.

Again, certainly. Except that the Iraqi's in this prison are not "undefeated enemies", they are the fathers, sons, and brothers of the citizens of a nation over 700 Americans have died to liberate, and whose hearts and minds we are now failing to win.

>5 – Humiliation is a legitimate tactic in war and can actually save lives.

Certainly. This is not an example of its effective use, though. When Saddam's statue came down, we were welcomed by many Iraqi's and feared by the rest of the Muslim world. These pictures have inflamed the hatreds of hundreds of millions of Muslims, Iraqi and otherwise, to the point that their fear may be curdling into exactly the kind of hopeless personal rage that becomes terrorism. In this instance, humiliation has put the entire Western world at noticeably greater risk.

>6 – Trying not to get your enemy mad at you is hopeless and foolish.

First, in this comment you are talking only to a "librul" strawman who exists nowhere but in your mind. No one truly holds the opinion that one can successfully prosecute a war without making one's enemy angry. One can, though, rationally calculate effects against causes, benefits against costs, when considering particular tactics.

Second, again, the Iraqi's are *not* our enemies. This is not a war of conquest. These are people our brave soldiers have died to liberate.

The extent to which it appears (to Iraqi's, to anyone) to be a continuing war of conquest lies entirely at the feet of those conducting it, which includes no one on this weblog. It is that strategic failure which this particular discussion criticizes.

>7 – Niceness and respect is only appropriate AFTER VICTORY. The USA has been magnanimous in victory since the twentieth century began.

According to the public announcements of the President, this *is* after victory. This is peacetime.

If we were acting genuinely magnanimous, in keeping with what our President has publicly said, taking the actions and spending the money implied by his statements, we would not be in this mess, with escalating hatreds, increasing worldwide dangers, and demonstrated failures on every side.

Posted by: joeKelly on May 3, 2004 02:54 PM

____

This may or may not mean much to the non-veterns present, but above and beyond the punishment of guilty, the Army should .. must .. do the following;

Strip the 800th MP Brigade of their colors. They may (they must) carry the national colors but that unit looses their right to carry unit colors. The Chief of Staff, US Army can decide in a decade or so if they've behaved well enough to erase the disgrace.

By regulation, every current and future soldier assigned to the 800th looses the right to wear the 'unit shoulder patch' that shows what unit they belong to. Their peers should know what kind of unit the soldier belongs to.

Let all future soldiers know that disgracing the Regiment is the ultimate sin.

Posted by: brian on May 3, 2004 02:58 PM

____

A late note:

After the tenth time or so, reading the words "spittle" and "lickspittle" makes me quite nauseous. I enjoy reading the often-erudite comments here, but I'd rather not have to go to another site while I finish my dinner.

Posted by: Tom Marney on May 3, 2004 06:14 PM

____

Don't feed the trolls. They are here to deflect discussion away from issues and towards themselves. The issue is how the safeguards against abuse, which are there in the interests of our own soldiers and more to the point in this context, because the Geneva Convention is American Law, came to be ignored. The kids who did these things are just that -- kids. The MI who put them up to it are something worse, because they manipulated the kids. The ones who gave the orders to the MI to 'get the information no matter what the cost' are denizens of the ninth circle of hell. May they rest in unpeace.

What is interesting about this whole business is that the standard military procedures for correcting abuse seem to have been followed through. Taguba seems to be doing an honest job. The others (Meyers) are spinning. The corruption at the top (the very top) hasn't penetrated down many levels into the officer corps. There are too many rules, and too many officers. It would take another Bush victory to totally contaminate that order of government.

We live in a thick fabric of rules, conventions and obligations. It can't be changed overnight. Than god for that.

Posted by: Knut Wicksell on May 3, 2004 06:16 PM

____

When I was in high school, I dated a girl who went into MI after she graduated. One weekend in college, I went to visit her at Fort Ord where she was studying Spanish, and I got a ride there with a couple of soldiers she knew who were studying to be interrogators. I didn't talk much on the way down--just listened to their conversation, as they discussed how they would go about questioning someone. (I believe they were prepping for a test of some sort.)

The thing I will never forget about that conversation is that both soldiers took it as a given that their prisoner would have been beaten before they talked to them. It was not something they thought they would have to ask for; they assumedit was SOP. And the point was so they could play good cop by offering cigarettes or something.

So I can certainly believe that the MPs were acting on the orders of MI. That just seems to be the way MI does their job.

Posted by: Jim Naureckas on May 3, 2004 06:32 PM

____

> Don't feed the trolls.

No. Feed the trolls. Just be careful to give them a nutritious diet, so they can grow up strong and healthy.

If you just give them only the heated reaction they want, you'll corrupt them further. If you ignore them— and we should all have enough experience with this Internet thing by now to know this— they will *not* go away. They will keep banging away until you can't ignore them anymore.

The only sane way to deal with these people is to draw them into positions where they cannot stand by their own words and still pretend not to be a sociopath. That's the only thing that shuts them the fsck up. (At least, it shuts up the ones who haven't figured out how to spin out new pseudonyms for their trolling. To deal effectively with the remainder, you need authentication protocols. When Brad's comment forums get clogged that badly, then he should be able to hire the ten-year-old to install a more advanced comment system.)

Posted by: s9 on May 3, 2004 06:47 PM

____

Adrian Spidle: "It’s time for you to listen to a grown up ...", and: "All I want is a little debate wherein we actually try to understand why the other thinks the way he does."

OK, I'll bite. Can you explain how these two statements relate to each other?

Regarding the subject matter, watch out that your kids at an older age don't get busted for possession or other suspected misdeeds, and make acquaintance with some such MP in their peacetime function as prison guard or interrogator somewhat short on their performance quota. It is easy and cheap to wax from an ostensibly safe position.

Posted by: cm on May 3, 2004 09:41 PM

____

Damn, this is right out of the Stanford Prisoner experiment.

Poorly prepared, young guards? Check.
Prisoners dehumanized? Check.
Lax to nonexistent rules with minimal oversight? Check.
Stressful environement, long working hours? Check.

Posted by: mac on May 3, 2004 10:38 PM

____

Forgive me, while I feed the troll.

Presumably Adrian and Garth are not Christians, in fact not believers at all. For no Christian, and no believer in God, could defend the American torturers of Abu Ghraib. They and their defenders, unless they truly beg forgiveness, are condemned to hell. Rationalizations do not influence God's judgement. Nor do 'grown up' arguments.

For those of a more secular mindset, I submit this: torture is not judged ineffective because it fails to make people talk, it is ineffective because people will say anything and everything under the influence of torture. If I torture fifty people I will find five hundred more suspects, maybe five of those will be the enemy. The effort I spend capturing four hundred and fifty five innocents will distract me from capturing the actual enemy and earn me the enmity of thousands of innocent families. We see this playing out in Iraq.

Posted by: tib on May 4, 2004 12:17 AM

____

OK, we're shocked, shocked that there was torture of civilian captives. Because that is the first evidence we've had in this round of such behavior on the part of the "official" US. Except there was that Canadian fellow shipped off to Jordan for excruciating inquiries. We may not jump to connect the two events, but I'd bet an awful lot of the rest of the world did.

Not that it's any surprise, but the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research did a quicky round up of the change in foreign sentiment toward the US in response to the news of torture, and set off a minor damage-control panic.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64194-2004May3.html

Twenty years from now, some young fellow (lass) will hear from his dad about how our soldiers and hired thugs tortured him, and (s)he will know that we are evil, that we are hypocrits when we speak of human rights and civil liberties, that there is nothing to which we won't stoop to get what we want. My kids will have to deal with the kids of some poor soul who was tortured and humiliated using my tax dollars. Thanks a lot.

Posted by: K Harris on May 4, 2004 06:33 AM

____

Many prisoners in the US system that have been shown by DNA testing to be innocent confessed to crimes they did not commit. This has been attributed to abusive proceedures by police interrogators. There is never an excuse for beating or mistreating prisoners. The information produced by abuse is often of low quality or incorrect. It can create misdirect effort and require much more work without being truly helpful.

Posted by: bakho on May 4, 2004 06:46 AM

____

But the practice still is universal. If it is counterproductive as you claim ( and no argument from me here) then how do we account for it's presence? Is it entertainment? There were a few voices here blogging that the smiling faces in the photos were really the damaging elements. Those were the details that showed how 'bad' this was.
Is the remedy to provide alternate forms of entertainment?
And for those of us softies ( I mean me) who need to be reminded that 'war is war and torture is part of the picture, so get with it': remind yourself of the gross imbalances here. Like the Israeli-Palesine conflict, try to imagine the interogation in the respective torture chambers.
I used to think that if 'war is war' had that kind of force, then why would we have even stooped to ground troops? So I thought there must still be some rules that prevented us from bombing the problem to smithereens. With the Israeli action against the Hamas leadership, I have to admit these rules are eroding.

Posted by: calmo on May 4, 2004 08:09 AM

____

Mr Adiran
You are one naive guy, with the moral insignt of a rabid dog. If you are in anyway representative of "conservative" thought or "republican" supporters, then I believe America has entered into a new dark age where the world can no longer look to the USA for moral leadership.

Adiran writes:
"5 – Humiliation is a legitimate tactic in war and can actually save lives.
6 – Trying not to get your enemy mad at you is hopeless and foolish.
7 – Niceness and respect is only appropriate AFTER VICTORY. The USA has been magnanimous in victory since the twentieth century began. "

This is 100% wrong. Why did the Russians fight so fanatically against the Nazi invaders? Because they knew that torture and death was the reward for surrender. Is this the message you want to send to your ennemies? If you put down your arms we will torture and humiliate you? Invading armies are good to prisoners because it weakens the resolve of your ennemy. Cruelty stiffens resistance. Why did the the German military units surrender willingly on the Western front in WWII? They knew the western allies would not starve them to death. Why did these same German soldiers fight to the death on the Eastern front? Because they knew they would receive what they had dished out. Your logic is militarily unsound. I mean Sun Tzu in the art of war wrote about this.

I think you are confused in that the strategic principle is to ruthelessly destroy a military force that resists you but to be completely managamous to a force that surrenders.

And that is just the military angle.

If you consider that the war in Iraq is now in its political phase. And that the US forces are engaged in molding Iraqi opinion to be "pro" USA. Your "treat em rough" morality is counter-productive. Any Iraqi government will become anti American. It is also the kind of behavior that will get american soldiers kidnapped and tortured. Good work Adrian.

Adrian continues:
"In fact, Democrat policy since Korea has weakened our nation and cost millions of lives. Democrats haven’t won a war since WW2 because they try to not get our enemies mad at us and thus they’ve caused the enslavement and death of millions of Eastern Europeans at Potsdam; the enslavement and death of millions of North Koreans; the enslavement and death of millions of Vietnamese, Khmer people and Laotians."

You are so ignorant. What on earth have you been reading? Its funny actually. This forign policy smear. This Ann Coulter type vomit. If you look at each one of the cases Mr A brings up

Eastern Europe 46
Korea 53
Viet 73-75

In all three cases the United States was in a situation that would have required the use NUCLEAR WEAPONS to achieve Mr A's strategic "moral" goals. Think about it. What would it have taken to:

- stop the soviets in Eastern Europe in 46
- kick China out of Korea in 53
- Stop N Vietnam in 73-75

Adrian there is a movie I think you should see it's called Dr Stangelove.

You are a foreign policy moron and a grade "A" chicken hawk. Your thinking leads to one result: FAILURE.
Give up these foreign policy fantasies of "if only we had been more extreme we would have won". It's baloney. First off, are you ready for 100 000 American war dead to say, "liberate Korea". Second, are you ready to live in a world where the operational use of nuclear weapons is "OK" to win military campaigns? Bravo you have just negated America's conventional military superiority. Third, are you ready to live in a world that considers America to be an amoral tyrant that nukes its ennemies? Bring it on? Well good luck kiddo. Every other world power that has tried to take on the world like that has failed. Often at great cost. Good luck.

Adiran Conludes
"For these clear cut reasons, it is crucial that you guys be kept out of power."
Does anyone reading Mr A's post need anymore reason to vote GWB out of office in 2004. How can you get behind a party with supporters like Mr A?

Amen.

Posted by: Scott McArthur on May 4, 2004 01:28 PM

____

---------quote----------
Eastern Europe 46
Korea 53
Viet 73-75

In all three cases the United States was in a situation that would have required the use NUCLEAR WEAPONS to achieve Mr A's strategic "moral" goals. Think about it.
---------endquote-----------

More historical illiteracy. Stalin backed down when he was finally confronted by Truman--after he'd lost congress in 1946--in places like Iran and Turkey. It was the naivette of Truman and his advisers (many left over from FDR, to be fair)that led to the Communist gains after WWII.

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on May 5, 2004 07:30 AM

____

What could any American president, Democrat or Republican, have done to secure Eastern Europe after World War II? There were over one million Russian soldiers on the ground in Eastern Europe. Confronting Stalin over Iran and Turkey was certainly the right move, but wasn't it only possible because Russia had not occupied those countries?

Posted by: Richard on May 5, 2004 10:50 AM

____

Mr. Sullivan,
As a BA History cum laude McGill 95 you make me chuckle.
Why what you are saying is not considered historical research but McCarthy era slander and partizan smears against Truman admin. You just picked up what certain Republican hacks were saying in the 50s and repeated it as gospel truth.
Too many are too knowledgeble now to fall for that clap trap.

Iran and Turkey (are you sure you don't mean Greece instead of Turkey?) are poor analogues to Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.

So I state again. Adrian Spindle is fantasising when he talks of Democrat Defeatism from 1945 to 1975. What is even funnier is that you believe that these Republican "principled" stands in the 50s and 60s were serious. They were just paper positions to make the Dems look bad, and hopefully win more seats. When the rubber hit the road the 1950s Republicans were not going to send a 2 million man army into Eastern Europe in 46 or Korea/ China in 53. It was bluster, pure partizan bluster.

But it seems some modern minds have trouble telling the difference between fantasy and reality.
Hense the adventure in Iraq? (mis-adventure?)

Is Iraq simply not the product of the sloppy Republican thinking on foreign affairs? (the goldwater wing) A process which began in 1945? with the triumph of Truman and the need to discredit him?

Hummmmm.

Posted by: Scott McArthur on May 5, 2004 02:03 PM

____

Er, Patrick. Truman didn't invade eastern Europe before 1949 because he didn't think he needed to -- he thought our monopoly possession of the Bomb would keep Stalin from going one step further into Europe or being able to translate his control of eastern Europe into any real threat to the US. And he was confident that the Soviet Union would not acquire the Bomb until 1960 at the earliest, because the OSS (soon to become the CIA) kept assuring him of that.

And not a peep from you, I see, on the (obvious) facts that the possession of the Bomb by our enemies DID keep us from going further to win the Korea and Vietnam wars.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 5, 2004 04:30 PM

____

Note, incidentally, the way Patrick (like that Pekingese hysterically worrying the postman's pantleg that I compared him to elsewhere) keeps trying frantically to tug at every irrelevant side issue he can possibly find to cloud the debate, rather than actually commenting on the developing disaster. After all, if he defended Bush's behavior in Iraq or his economic policy at this point, he would be forced to take on George Will, Robert Kagan and a growing number of economic conservatives -- something he clearly isn't willing to do.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 5, 2004 04:43 PM

____

Re Taguba's report: Phil Cater notes that it tries to alibi the torturers on the grounds that they hadn't been given "proper training in the treatment of prisoners" -- which (as Carter and "Sgt. Stryker" have both noted) is, to use Carter's phrase, "BS". (Stryker has been a bit more colorful.)

http://philcarter.blogspot.com/2004_05_01_philcarter_archive.html#108376685122474330

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 5, 2004 05:03 PM

____

Find your www.ALL-FIORICET.COM here, 100% discrete!

Posted by: click here on June 14, 2004 05:03 PM

____

go to WWW.E-CREDIT-CARD-DEBT.COM for great deals!

Posted by: click here on June 15, 2004 11:52 AM

____

Online Casino Directory

Posted by: Online Casinos on June 23, 2004 02:38 AM

____

Now you can Play Poker online any time!

Posted by: poker online on June 25, 2004 01:16 PM

____

wow thats a surprise.......

Posted by: Beatles Tabs on July 14, 2004 06:39 PM

____

online casino

If you've ever been curious about how to play online poker then you'll want to read over the following. We suggest you try an online casino that offers free play in order to practice a bit before placing any real wagers. You can also play blackjack online fo free!

Posted by: online casino on July 30, 2004 09:41 PM

____

nice

Posted by: buy hydrocodone on August 5, 2004 04:36 PM

____

for sure

Posted by: hydrocodone on August 5, 2004 04:38 PM

____

4908 You can buy viagra from this site :http://www.ed.greatnow.com

Posted by: Viagra on August 8, 2004 02:10 AM

____

5656 Why is Texas holdem so darn popular all the sudden?

http://www.texas-holdem.greatnow.com

Posted by: texas holdem online on August 9, 2004 05:59 PM

____

8458 get cialis online from this site http://www.cialis.owns1.com

Posted by: cialis on August 10, 2004 07:20 AM

____

3550 Get your online poker fix at http://www.onlinepoker-dot.com

Posted by: poker on August 15, 2004 12:15 PM

____

2376 black jack is hot hot hot! get your blackjack at http://www.blackjack-dot.com

Posted by: blackjack on August 17, 2004 09:33 AM

____

Post a comment
















__