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What is being done in our name

(NOTE: A hearty welcome to Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, and Mudville Gazette readers! And thanks to Prof. Reynolds, Michelle, and Greyhawk for linking.)

In a comment on a previous post, Bojack pointed out an upcoming event that's practically guaranteed to set off the next wave of anti-U.S. outrage and media attacks: the court-ordered release of the Abu Ghraib videotapes.

The Washington Post reports:

A judge has ordered the government to release four videos from Abu Ghraib prison and dozens of photographs from the same collection as photos that touched off the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal a year ago.

The federal judge issued the order late Wednesday requiring the Army to release the material to the American Civil Liberties Union to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

The ACLU said the material would show that the abuse was "more than the actions of a few rogue soldiers."

Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the 144 pictures and videos can be turned over in redacted form to protect the victims' identities. He gave the Army one month to release them.

...So far, 36,000 pages of documents and the reports of 130 investigations, mostly from the FBI and Army, have been turned over to the ACLU. The group is seeking documents from the CIA and the Department of Defense as well.

..."These images may be ugly and shocking ... (but) the American public deserves to know what is being done in our name," said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU.
We know what went on at Abu Ghraib. We've seen the photos. We've heard the stories. We've punished the offenders. Yet somehow, after all that, after "36,000 pages of documents and the reports of 130 investigations", the ACLU thinks four tapes and some extra photos are going to really clear things up.

Videos of prisoner abuse are unlikely to tell us anything we don't already know about Abu Ghraib. They are, however, virtually certain to further inflame anti-American sentiment around the world. Nevertheless, Mr. Romero of the ACLU has a valid and undeniable point: Americans deserve to know what the men and women of our armed forces are doing in our name overseas. Everything they're doing.

Our troops' misdeeds at Abu Ghraib have been given ample coverage in the media, and are about to receive even more, thanks to the ACLU. Our troops' hardships and setbacks have been the subject of award-winning photojournalism, courtesy of the Associated Press and the Pulitzer Prize Board. Yet our troops' triumphs — not just in combat, but in the ordinary good deeds they do every single day — are scarcely mentioned in the media. Perhaps they're not considered "newsworthy." Nevertheless, as the ACLU points out, Americans deserve to know about them.

Fortunately, I found a media source with photos of our troops that haven't been widely published elsewhere — the U.S. Army. All of the following twenty photos come from among the hundreds in the vast image gallery on its website. (Links open in a smaller window):
Obviously, I've carefully selected these twenty photos, from the Army's own careful selection of photos, to make a point. In that respect, I suppose I've behaved no differently than the Associated Press did when it submitted twenty of its own photos for Pulitzer Prize consideration.

The photos I picked don't tell the whole story of what's going on in Iraq. But they do tell part of it. And it's a part that bears keeping in mind the next time America's military is smeared by the mainstream media.

FOLLOW-UP:
Arthur Chrenkoff has a photo illustrating part of the Australian and Japanese effort.

ANOTHER FOLLOW-UP:
Andrew Sullivan agrees that it's important to recognize the good things our troops are doing, but also feels Americans don't yet fully grasp the horrors of Abu Ghraib and other American detention facilities.

YET ANOTHER FOLLOW-UP:
Uranari links to more pictures of Japan's Self Defense Forces at work in Iraq.

AND ONE MORE FOLLOW-UP:
Detroit News political blogger Libby Spencer writes, "I'd bet that Saddam and Hitler went around their countries, smiling at children and passing out candy too."

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yet another thing I love about Americans is that a lot of them, perhaps even most, believe that truth, full disclosure and transparency are essential to maintaining the moral, intellectual and political health of any society. Nothing could be more quintessentially American than the belief that the truth will out: ALL OF IT, the good, the bad and the ugly. This has made the country great and is one of the hallmarks of its strengths and a beacon of hope that lures people from around the world who cherish freedom and a government that tells the truth, even when it hurts.
In a lot of countries, the government doesn't allow the media to broadcast video or print photos that may hurt its reputation. Most of the countries that do this are weak politically and oppressive culturally as well. I hope America never becomes a place where the government prevents the press from reporting things that may hurt its reputation. 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

If the government prevented the press from reporting things that may hurt the reputation of the US the press would have nothing to print. If you take anti-americanism away from the press they would have nothing left. It is their core belief.

 

Posted by tracelan

Anonymous said...

I applaud the effort to link to such an interesting collection of photos.

Regarding Abu Ghraib, you write: "We know what went on at Abu Ghraib. We've seen the photos. We've heard the stories. We've punished the offenders."

We punished some low level enlisted people. It seems to me they didn't deserve to be punished if they were following orders of intelligence gathering experts.

I stick to what I wrote a year ago . 

Posted by Half Sigma

Anonymous said...

The higher-ups may or may not deserve to be punished along with their subordinates. But I suspect we already have the evidence we need to make such a decision, even without the additional tapes and photos the ACLU wants made public.  

Posted by GaijinBiker

Anonymous said...

Bunk forgets that there is also an information war going on, and this is a fire in that war. Sure openness is good, but face it: you already know exactly what's on all that crap. All it's going to do is continue the pornographic obsession over what boils down to a bad frat prank with beatings.

Maybe the photos should be released in a legal "ongoing investigation" sense, maybe not, IANAL. But it's not for "transparency and fairness", it's for bashing the troopies and the war effort.

What our o-bozozoku (okay, maybe not, but it's a fun word) is saying is that the skewed information flow is affecting perception of reality--if all you see is idiots pointing at nekkid prisoners, that's all you consider. 

Posted by chap

Anonymous said...

Ditto the beliefs that we must remain transparant and accountable. Embeded journalists were a good move, as is open documentation of the prisons and all of our actions abroad. The revelation of these tapes is in many ways reminiscent of the recent revelation of Deep Throat - some think he was a traitor for revealing the coverup, as in this issue some think revealing photos are terrorist fodder. I believe it is imperative that a government be able to act in secrecy in many areas, but never when that secrecy is designed to hide criminal acts.  

Posted by Ed Manley

Anonymous said...

Great pictures - great post. I'm linking.  

Posted by The Anchoress

Anonymous said...

Is anyone investigating why the ACLU is shredding documents? Are they afraid they might be exposed for the America haters they are?

Let them make these pictures available and let's see if the msm is foolish enough to exploit them. We, the people, have it had it with those who wish to see this country fail and see a return to the leftwing death grip they had on the pre-blogosphere world. 

Posted by erp

Anonymous said...

Anon, if experts higher up gave orders to abuse prisoners (and I mean to really abuse them, not taunt them and perform stupid stunts) then they should also be punished. OTOH, if they gave perfectly reasonable orders that were willfully misinterpreted by a few stupid soldiers then the issue is closed.

But surely any such evidence would be contained in the reams of documents the millitary has already released or other such records yet to be seen. Right?

It certainly will not be found in these photos, not unless there's a snapshot of Bush, Blair, and Rumsfeld giving a thumbs-up as they personally stack a prisoner-pyramid. There's no purpose in releasing or publishing the pictures, except to try and embarrass Bush and give the press an reason to rehash the same tired, unsubstantiated accusations and poorly reasoned anti-war arguments yet again. Right now they're just angry at being scolded over making stuff up, and like petulant children they will do anything that'll get them back at the bad ol' administration. 

Posted by Bryan Costin

Anonymous said...

The ACLU is objectively at war with the United States. There is no utility, moral or otherwise, in promulgating these materials. This is not a therapy session and there is no such thing as the WHOLE TRUTH. If such is necessary why shouldn't we also broadcast interviews with the detainees, re-enactments and dramatizations of these horrid horrid abuses - the photo's and tapes can't show everything you know. It's time we extend to GWOT to our domestic adversaries and show them what the alternative to American benevolence really is. 

Posted by mau mau

Anonymous said...

It's not news if things happen that you EXPECT to happen. It is news when bad things happen. That's the way the world works. I used to be in an area that had a Quaker paper that only printed, "the good news" and never printed the bad. The problem? Particularly illustruative was when they ran stories about bunnies and kittens, but didn't run anything about 9/11. Not everything in Iraq is good news. I know, I watch non-US news which is better (on both sides of the issue) than US press, but most of it ISN'T good. Arguably, coverage by NPR and the BBC are better, but again, it's still not good. I refuse to drink the Kool-aid which comes from only one source (ie. the only people arguing things are going well are the people in this administration and those that never leave the green zone).

Nevertheless, you're going to fault the ACLU from obtaining information that is rightfully available under the FOIA? Sorry, that's just stupid. We're in a Republic, the government shouldn't be able to cover stuff up. I'm sorry if you think this is bad, but I tend to think transparency is a good thing. 

Posted by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

It's instructive to remember that many of these same people who want the widest possible distribution of those videos also oppose showing videos of people jumping from the WTC because it might incite popular outrage.

This reminds me of the press' eagerness to impugn all conservative Christians when, say, Pat Robertson says something foolish, while at the same time praising as moderates Muslim Americans who are on record as religious intolerance and supporting terrorism.

According to a new Gallup poll, the American public has more confidence in the military than in any other institution, including the press.
 

Posted by pst314

Anonymous said...

While it is imeperitive that the First Amendment be respected fully, and that we have a free press, one also has to consider what the "free press" and groups like the ACLU and Amnesty HRW etc are doing. Are they really asking foir the documents so that higher principles like freedom, an open govt, strictures against torture are respected, or such groups going after the documents, so that they can publish those with the intent to incite treason at home, and anti-American sentiments abroad? Whiel being a true believer in civil liberties, I question the motives of the ACLU, the Federal Judge, Amnesty, and the mainstream media. Becasue, it is quite evident, that they are more motivated by their hatred against Prez Bush and his administration, than in really ferreting out the truth , inspired by higher moral and ethical values. Now, if, hypothetically, Hillary Clinton were the President, do you think that the media and leftleaning groups like the ACLU or Amnesty would be falling over themselves to do what they are doing now? I highly doubt it. 

Posted by Ronin

Anonymous said...

Half Sigma writes:

"We punished some low level enlisted people. It seems to me they didn't deserve to be punished if they were following orders of intelligence gathering experts."

He is writing from a position of incomplete information if he believes that is the case. While the media has focused exclusively on the low-ranking geeks of one reserve unit and on the execrable Janis Karpinski (who the Army's desperation for "diversity" promotions made a general despite having been caught shoplifting while a colonel!), they have often tried to display these miscreants as victims. Poor Karpinski -- she's just getting picked on cause she's a strong woman.

If she were a strong woman, her unit would not be a mess. She insults no one more than the many women who serve honorably and decently in many challenging roles.

Now, I dare say the pseudonymous Half S, like his co-believers in the popular press, has not spent a lot of time in the military. That's OK, it's not for everybody. But let me let you all in on a secret: there are a lot of people in the chain of command between a general and a PFC. Where were all these people? Well, if you read the Taguba report, or the Army press release that was issued on the felicitous occasion of Karpinki's demotion, you'd know that the answer was: messing up beyond belief.

The press release on Karpinski also covers the punishment or imminent punishment of some 29 other officers. The AP's story on that was a thin rewrite of the Army release, but it eliminated most of the information on other punishments, and what it left in, it consigned to the last grafs -- the parts of a wire story most likely to be cut.

That's why most people know all about Lynndie England, Chuck Graner, and Janis Karpinski (who ought, in a decent world, to be in Leavenworth with the first two jerks), but never heard of battalion commanders that seldom visited their battalions, or a company commander that had a collection of nude photos of his female soldiers -- made by rigging their showers.

A unit rots from the head. Napoleon said that there are no bad regiments, only bad colonels. Normal military practice would have been for all those intermediate people to be frequently observed and supervised and spot-checked by leaders, but when the general doesn't give a damn about anything but career ticket-punching, you can bet that things will be slack in the comnpanies and platoons (smaller units that depend on the leadership of junior officers and sergeants).

Some of the other officers punished included two intelligence officers, COL Tom Pappas and LTC Steve Jordan, and two civilian interrgators. This info has been provided to the press, for all they've done with it. But when someone makes noises about the poor enlisted victims of Abu Ghraib, he's either lying or way too misinformed to be making such bold assertions.

It reminds of Marx in "Capital" -- all the footnotes of all his abuses come from the "Report of the Royal Commissoin to End Child Labour" and similar things, and he was too in love with his preconception to see the system working to fix the abuses he thought were intrinsic to it.

I'd also like to remind everybody that all the information in these abuse cases has come from internal Army investigations. The vaunted press has done nothing but republish (in a slanted way) what diligent military investigators, most of whom are appalled at the command climate in that MP brigade and many MI units, have done. The AP is in a hotel bar in the Green ZOne, paying terrorists for stories.

Finally: "It seems to me they didn't deserve to be punished if they were following orders..." what a complete crock. Every basic trainee has a class -- in my day, it included a videotape with role-playing -- where he or she is taught what to do if given an immoral order. Anybody who tries the Nuremburg Defense in a military court is going to get nowhere -- every one of those officers or NCOs on the board knows that the soldier has been instructed in no uncertain terms to reject illegal or immoral orders. This entire case broke because a soldier who was confronted with immoral behavior did the right thing -- reported it through proper channels. All that has come about has followed from that one act, and that first-term junior enlisted man did exactly as one would expect a civilized man in uniform to do.

Let's not lose sight of two facts, finally. (1) the miscondust of various members of the 800th MP Brigade, from top to bottom, is a relatively small thing compared to the brutal and nihilistic behavior of some of the folks they have locked up, and (2) despite that, we must punish such misconduct, because we must hold ourselves to a higher standard.  

Posted by Kevin R.C. O'Brien

Anonymous said...

I used to think that the MSM/Libs were playing some inside game of who can make public, the worst of the worst. Constantly outdoing each other. But if that was the game then the target would not always be America. So what is the point? What master or ideology do they serve? It has to be intentional and intentionally malicious. America is not perfect. That's a given. There is some bad but there is an overwhelming amount of good. But for the MSM/Libs to restrict themself to only the slime is sick. Maybe slime is their area of comfort. If they lower America they might be able to elevate themselves in their own view. Sick!  

Posted by vile nylons

Anonymous said...

In wartime, responsible citizens must consider the moral effects that some information will have. Even if something is true, it doesn't automatically mean that revealing it is best course.

Releasing these tapes and documents would be defensible if there was any reason to believe that doing so would provide new information   but there is no evidence this is the case. Since all the information we have about the abuses comes investigations carried out by the military itself, it seem highly unlikely that releasing the documents will provide any information the military has not already acted on.

The pictures and video images will definitely not provide any information. Instead, these tapes will have only an emotional impact which anti-democratic forces will exploit. Releasing these images will serve no purpose other than to make the war last longer and to kill more people.

I really wish the ACLU, Amnesty International and other formally responsible organizations would think before they act. In their zeal to wound their internal political opponents, they will cause the deaths of many innocent bystanders.



 

Posted by Shannon Love

Anonymous said...

See, the ACLU just knows  that if they get these videos, we'll see the scenes with Rumsfeld prancing around in a thong, making devil's horns behind Lyndie Enggland's head... 

Posted by richard mcenroe

Anonymous said...

Why don't you send these pix to as many newspapers as you can find links for, daring the journos to run any one of them?
It would be a lesson for the journos that, 1, this stuff is out there, 2, lots of people can see it, and, 3, they look really bad by spiking this stuff. 

Posted by Richard Aubrey

Anonymous said...

Could someone explain to me just why the ACLU filed to have these photos and videos released. I went up to their web site, but couldn't find any information regarding the American whose civil liberties are being abused.  

Posted by Sears Poncho

Anonymous said...

Mark Twain once wrote, "Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." The weather, of course, is a force of nature, but the attitude of the mainstream media towards the soldiers fighting in this war isn't. Americans can  complain about this, and should, as loudly and as frequently as possible.

How many of you have written the ombudsman of your local newspaper, threatening a boycott of their paper if they don't stop showing such a one-sided view of the war in Iraq? How many of you have tried to communicate directly to journalists and challenge their hack journalism? How many of you will be motivated to write the ACLU about this?

The blogosphere is great, but it's ultimately nothing more than an echo chamber. Posts like this will be applauded, but in a few weeks, it'll slide down the memory hole and be forgotten in favor of the latest Red State vs. Blue State skirmish in the so-called Culture War -- which will then slide down the memory hole, and so on.

Not a day should go by that the mainstream media isn't challenged by everyday Americans. Every day, the mandarins of the media --especially those who control the purse strings-- should open up their email clients or their mailboxes and find dozens, if not hundreds, of polite and informative criticial letters. Many will ignore this criticism, but not all of them will.

Fox News (All Jacko all the time!) and other right-leaning news outlets should not be exempt from this, either. Their reporting on Iraq and world affairs is usually just as inept as CNN's. It's time to let them know, too.

How much time would it take to send off ten or fifteen emails a day to various news outlets, journalists, and executives? You could do that on your lunch break, or while you're forwarding the latest bits of internet trivia to your co-workers. If just five thousand people would take the time to do this, that would be 50,000 pieces of mail sent out every day. The money men would realize that there's a market for something other than the latest scandal, whether it's Jacko or Abu Ghraib. (And I'm betting more than 5,000 people could be persuaded to do this.)

That's why good news from Iraq doesn't make it into the mainstream media, especially the top five urban markets and the national networks.

Americans should be demanding responsible journalism at the grassroots level, instead of saying, "Right on!" to a blog post like this. 

Posted by A Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

There is another excellent source of photos at the Navy Newstand .
The people who think the military and the government are EEEEEVIL are going to continue to poke at any mistake or screw-up they find in the hope it will lead them upwards to the "conspiracy" they know in their hearts is there. What they forget is that most of this stuff is not part of any conspiracy and they just end up losing their credibility. I think we should all start calling all the MSM reporters "Geraldos." Seems more appropriate. 

Posted by 74

Anonymous said...

Just the fact that the ACLU is salivating at the mouth over this is sickening. I don't understand where this has anything to do with American Civil Liberties. But still these Bush-hating organizations are hell bent on doing all they can do to push the negativity.
So I wrote the ACLU and voiced my concerns. I suggest all Americans demand an explaination from this tax exempt organization that's supposed to look out for American civil liberties.

Mr. Romero,
Just a few quick questions, that you probably won't answer, then I'll be on my way.

1. Are you aware that the recent "Newsweek" incident caused several deaths, some American? And that was without photos.

2. Do you think that the release of more abuse photos from Abu Ghraib will put more lives in danger, mainly American lives?

3. And if so, don't you think we should wait until this war is over before we cause more American hatred across the Muslim world thus causing more kidnappings and beheadings?

4. Why is the ACLU not publicly denouncing the cruelty of the beheadings and bridge burnings of Americans and others.

You were quoted as saying...about the Abu Ghraib abuses...
"These images may be ugly and shocking ... (but) the American public deserves to know what is being done in our name," said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU.

5. Do you think "the American public deserves to know what is being done" to Americans overseas? You do represent American civil liberties right?

6. Why is the ACLU not pressing the media to show pictures and videos of abuses to Americans by the terrorists? Is it because they're "ugly and shocking" photos and videos?

7. Is it not fair to show BOTH sides of abuse?

8. Did someone pay or lobby the ACLU to sue for the release the Abu Ghraib photos or did you do this on your own?

9. If you did this (question # 8) on your own, then what is stopping you from filing a lawsuit for the release of video and photo evidence of Muslim and terrorist abuses against Americans overseas?

10. Why is the AMERICAN Civil Liberties Union not completely appalled by the abuses against Americans?

Thank you for your time, and I hope that you will wait to release these photos when you get them. I agree that the American public deserves to know what's going on, but as you know we live in a multi-media world and these photos will be plastered all over the Muslim world with the words "kill America" or something similar. That, will cause MORE deaths of Americans and anyone trying to help America in the war on terror. So I beg you not to put Americans in more danger than they are already in. I want our troops to come home to, but I don't think the release of these photos to the public at this time will have any positive effect whatsoever.

Sincerely,
Chris Kellam
(Concerned American 

Posted by Chris K

Anonymous said...

I am going to contact the ACLU and tell them they do not speak for me. I don't need them deciding what is and is not my right to see.

I think they are hoping they can get some people killed and that in turn will hurt Bush.

What other purpose could there be? Most of the misdeeds and crimes were done by a relatively small group of people on one night. And it was the military that initiated the investigation and charged the individuals. I do think there was a break down in discipline in that part of the facility but I also think there is no reason to believe it came from higher up. For one thing, if the army had actually been in control the situation those idiots would not have been taking pictures with camera phones.


I just hope that if Amnesty gets the folks at Gitmo turned loose and they kill people and if the ACLU gets more people killed with the release of these pictures that these self anointed spokespeople for the down trodden get the credit due them for the damage they caused.

I also want to see the pictures from 9/11. I want to see the Arabs dancing in the streets when the toweres fell. I want to see the beheadings. I want to hear and see video of hatemongering that goes in mosques all over the world every Friday.

I mean let's be fair about this.

 

Posted by Terrye

Anonymous said...

The embattled right-thinking right-wing warrior for truth mantra that comes up on this list no longer surprises me, but you folks have to get over it. No one party has all the answers. No one group should have all the power. No one idea dominates in this country. My parents came from a place (Nazi Europe) where one party was The Truth. They didn't come to America for this.

Abu Ghraib was not alone; there are many places in which excessive brutality was used to extract information that has been of no use. "Those who did it have been punished," you write, but that's simply false. Don't blame the ACLU. Shooting the messenger is well and good, but it won't change the message. Plus, it will only shield you from the truth. And some honesty (homosexual rapes, etc., were previously alleged - I hope to god it's not true) would bring us a long way. To blame the sin, you must find it and the sinner first.

Why are you GOP/Christianist apologists such hypocrites on this one? Evil was done. Find it. Fix it. Don't claim it's fixed until it really is.  

Posted by rithiko

Anonymous said...

Rithiko,

Nobody here is saying that the Abu Ghraib scandal shouldn't  have been covered.

Abu Ghraib was an atrocity, and I say that as a member of the United States Army. If the vile actions committed in some of our detainment facilities represented the sum total of what was going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would tear off my uniform, burn it, and go AWOL.

Now, you may not have noticed this, but Abu Ghraib isn't the whole story of our current wars. Media outfits with a left-leaning slant have tried to push this as the story, but it's not. American personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan are also sinking wells, building schools and clinics, repairing water purification equipment, putting radio and television stations back on the air --and handing them over to the citizens of their countries-- and re-building the blasted infrastructures of Iraq and Afghanistan.

They're also going into some very dangerous places to kill and capture vile thugs who believe that slitting the throats of aid workers, journalists, and their other opponents is their religious obligation. People who believe that planting bombs outside of employment centers to kill Iraqi fathers is not only acceptable, but necessary. And we hear about those incidents, but we don't hear much about the regular citizens of Iraq who are murdered on an individual basis every day because they won't cooperate with the theocratic or fascist mafiosos who're active in their neighborhoods.

The news media has covered Abu Ghraib at great length. For over a month, it was the only story from the Middle East that got any coverage at all. An extensive government investigation was launched, the guilty parties were hauled in in front of courts martial, and the images of the brutality that was once common there were plastered on the front page of almost every newspaper and shown on the cable news networks constantly.

Why keep going there, over and over and over again? Is there anyone of voting age in the United States who doesn't know that atrocities took place at Abu Ghraib?

 

Posted by A Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

These tapes and pictures have already been viewed by prosecutors and defense and used as evidence in court proceedings. There is no government coverup. The issue is whether the ACLU is exercising prudent judgment by obtaining and ostensibly releasing these materials. There will be no new charges or convictions *in a court of law* by virtue of their release. However we all know that they will be used to, yet again, inflame public opinion amongst the easily influenced in America and abroad. I have no doubt that people - Americans and others - will die needlessly and for no gain to the world as a result of the release of these materials. This is tantamount to screaming "FIRE" in a crowded theater. The ACLU knows full well the ramifications of their actions in this matter. Will they be held accountable?  

Posted by F15C

Anonymous said...

I'll be linking this post; it's a damn good read!

Surely the ACLU is being backed by someone in the mainstream media who wants to improve on the bottom line ($$$). The ACLU will obviously gain prestige among the hate mongers who have no love of country. 

Posted by gecko

Anonymous said...

The real travesty in this judge ordered release of more photos is the legal basis for the ruling. The judge is ruling strictly on the basis of statutory law (the Freedom of Information Act), without giving any consideration to the president’s independent war powers for deciding what needs to be kept secret as a matter of military necessity. Congress’ judgment about what is a matter of military necessity cannot trump the president’s in time of war, but the judge does not even analyze this contest between the powers of Congress and the executive. He simply rules on FOIA and pretends that competing presidential powers do not exist. My post here . 

Posted by Alec Rawls

Anonymous said...

I would hate to think of the dire ramifications if the ACLU and today's JSM (Jihad Supporting Media) had been covering WWII.

Several weeks before D-Day, Allied Forces staged a practice landing off the coast of England. Of course, very hush hush. It was also a major disaster with upwards of 1000 or more soldiers dead.

Had the media of 1944 behaved like the JSM of today, this almost forgotten tragedy would surely have leaked out with bold cries on the front pages of the NYT:

"Allied Invasion Certain to be a Disaster!" and "America Cannot (and therefore must not) Win Against Nazism!!"

And, of course, D-Day would never have succeeded or even taken place; and Hitler's 3rd Reich would surely be ruling Europe still.

We are facing as evil a foe in Islamofascism today as our nation did in 1944. Yet with the JSM's biased reporting and opinion solidly stacked against our success, can we really hope to succeed?

Thus the true importance of the Blogs, as they can truly reflect and even influence public opinion of those who truly DO want the Free World to defeat Islamofascism. 

Posted by Auzerais

F15C said...

rithiko said: "Abu Ghraib was not alone; there are many places in which excessive brutality was used to extract information that has been of no use."

You have proof? I assume you have something more than mere 'assertions'. Show us proof. Look up the word if you have to. These tapes are not proof of what you assert. You seem so very certain of what you state - why? Do you now have, or have you ever had, proof? Tell us how much time, money, and energy should be exerted to verify or disprove assertions by enemy combatants trained to take advantage of Americans by making untrue, but highly effective, assertions of torture and abuse? There are other matters to consider that demand time, money, and energy as well as the attention of the nation.

I don't hear you or the ACLU asking for more effort toward prosecuting those who saw heads off of innocent non-combatant prisoners do I? Nor do I hear you crying for more disclosure and prosecutions of those who kidnapped and gutted a young Iraqi policeman, replaced his entrails with explosives, then called his family giving directions on where to find him and upon their arrival as they rushed to his side detonated the explosives?

No, your priorities are clear.

rithiko said...

Do I have proof? You say I have just assertions? Nah, I have the government documents.

Look, people, if you actually RTFD (read the f$%*ing documents) then you'll find that Amnest, Human Rights Watch, and ACLU care deeply about what's being done to Americans AND by Americans. At least they are consistent. You folks are not.

Jihad Supporting Media? What rock did you crawl out form under?

Any day you folks choose to join the reality-based world, we'll be happy to have you. Until then, you can rail against evidence all you want. But, I suppose you guys are the one who think it was the media that lost us the Vietnam war. Come on, grow up, get over it, and let's hope for REAL success.

Oh, and please, shoot the messenger. You have a knack for it.

Anonymous said...

Here's the problem: No information then there's no news. Maybe that's what this post was about: wanting the media to only cover missing white girls.

You cannot simultaneously expect any "real news" while making it impossible to get the information which MIGHT give you a place to start. So the ACLU wants to know the details of what's going on in Gitmo. No big surprise there--they tend to be fairly consistent about wanting to know what the US gov't is doing everywhere.

Would you rather have groups making claims based on no or faulty information? How about going to war on something like that, oh oops, wrong group. Bastards! 

Posted by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

I teach in a high school in Washington State, and have kids in my classes whose brothers and sisters are in Iraq and Afghanistan right now. We suffered our first Alumni killed in action in November of 2004.
Do these fools at the ACLU and other seditious organizations (and that includes the MSM)realize how much they are endangering the lives of our military people over there by broadbanding things like Abu Ghraib and so-called Q'uran abuse?? Do they care??
Do those questions really need to be pondered for an answer??

Well ponder these:

Do they know what it's like to let a 17 year old kid cry on your shoulder because her brothers unit came under fire (shown the day it happened on CNN) and suffered casualties and she hasn't heard from him? They don't care, it doesn't fit their agenda...unless this kids sister is anti-war, which she isn't...she wears her USMC T-Shirt proudly to school...and her brother came home safe and sound Thank God (woops...will I get sued for saying that?)

Do they care about the people who jumped out of the burning WTC on 9/11? Nope, they were American Capitalists....

Do they care about how the Church of the Nazarene was defiled by the Palestinians when they occupied it a few years ago? Even going so far as defecating on the spot where Christ was believed to be born? and using pages of antique bibles as TP? That wasn't widely shown, because it was only a Christian Holy Place after all....

Do they give a rip about the civil liberties of Nick Berg and the other hostages who had their heads sawed off on Al Jazeera TV? Nope....because Al Zarqawi (god I hope the rumors of his death are true, and I hope he suffered greatly)must have some grievance that justifies these actions.

My solutions?

1...Knock out the satellite transmission for Al Jazeera.

2...Freeze funding of the UN and ACLU and all other organizations that endanger our service people with their propaganda and hate. Oh, I'm not suggesting that we curtail their 1st amendment rights, just let them do it on their own dime.

3...Get mean, we are way too concerned about the sensitivities of the Islamo-Fascists and the Arab street. If Bin Laden or Al Zarqawi want to kill innocents, or use those holy holy mosques as fortresses and sniper dens, then warn them that we will obliterate their home village or town or mosque in reprisal. NO more Mr. Sensitive....

4...Stop the Q'uran abuse by removing them from Gitmo and other holding centers.

These idiots in the ACLU and in Europe and the far left wing don't realize it, but they are making themselves prime candidates for the new Al Jazeera reality show
"Who wants to be a Headless Hostage"

there are times when I hope they pass the audition.







 

Posted by jaybear

Anonymous said...

Jaybear,

The tactic that you're suggesting, blowing up towns and villages as revenge for terrorist attacks, didn't work for the Nazis in the Balkans, and it won't work for us in the Middle East.

It just doesn't make any sense. Did the murder of thousands of civilians in New York on September 11th make Americans more or less likely to take on the perpetrators? Killing people's family members like that usually makes them more likely to fight, not less likely to.

And, if you (and others) think that the mainstream media truly is seditious, then you should really give the matter a little more thought. Media mandarins aren't seditious, they're just misguided by journalism professors who tell them that they're supposed to be activists speaking truth to power and bringing down governments, and moneymen who believe that Americans love a good scandal. CNN focuses on Abu Ghraib and Fox News focuses on Michael Jackson -- they're two sides of the same coin.

When was the last time you've seen a Right-leaning blogger complain about all of the airtime that Fox News devotes to sensationalistic news stories and scandals?

The media moguls give us exactly what we want, or exactly what they think we want -- overall news viewership and readership is down markedly from even a decade ago. It's celebrities, scandals, and general silliness, no matter where you turn.

Personally, I don't think that the news media is seditious, I think that it's just time for Americans to let those in the news media know that this isn't really what they want, although I fear that I may be wrong in that assessment... 

Posted by A Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

good use of talking points there rithiko.

Firstly the ACLU is very partisan in it's efforts. Anyone familiar w/ its recent history knows that there has been a significant degree of internal controversy concerning the ACLU's direction ( see Hentoff http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/hentoff092099.asp ). This controversy stems from the organization's evolution from a focus on the defense of civil rights to the explicit advocacy of apriori restrictions on speech, association, and expressive conduct ( see Aguilar ). They've basically fallen sway to elements of the authoritarian left.

you state: Look, people, if you actually RTFD (read the f$%*ing documents) then you'll find that Amnest, Human Rights Watch, and ACLU care deeply about what's being done to Americans AND by Americans.

The FD don't actually address their emotions, you might be projecting.

Look R. this issue isn't about lifestyle choices, or the emotive content of public statements, it goes to the ability of the country to survive as a liberal democracy. Incessant hyperbolic criticism isn't in fact moral, intentions cannot be moral, only consequences. 

Posted by max

Viki Anderson said...

In wartime, responsible citizens must consider the moral effects that some information will have. Even if something is true, it doesn't automatically mean that revealing it is best course. — pst314

I am sure that responsible citizens in Poland and Germany were thinking the same thing about the atrocities at the Death Camps..."Even if something is true, it doesn't automatically mean that revealing it is best course."

Transparency is best no matter where the chips fall. I would rather make a decision on all the information than a bad decision on only the information that was given me, like whether or not we should go to war in the first place. 

Posted by Viki Anderson

Anonymous said...

Another thing I love about America is that many, perhaps even most, people are smart enough to analyze what the news media presents.
Americans love freedom, which is why they understand that it is important to consider WHO gets to decide what gets printed in the media. On that question, many, probably most, Americans know that the people, not the government, get to decide what photos and videos are worth showing, and which are not.
Most Americans are smart enough to undertand that the news media is primarily a business. They prefer a thriving marketplace of ideas, where an educated citizenry is free to choose from the widest, deepest possible array of information. That is part of the genius of the American way: Freedom of choice. I celebrate it. Yeah!
We Americans are strong, we're smart and we love freedom. People who fear freedom and want the government to decide what the media reports are no match for the commitment, tenacity and moral strength of Americans who understandt eh real power of freedom, free thinking and a free press. 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

Viki,

Your claim that the "responsible citizens in Germany and Poland" considered investigations into genocide contrary to national security is incorrect, laughable, and offensive.

To many in what are now Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Austria, and other European nations, eliminating the Jewish threat was a matter of national security. That's the whole point. That's why, after surrendering their country to the Fascists, the French rounded up 70,000 Jews and handed them over to Hitler, all the while knowing what was in store for them. It's why the Italians, due to pressure from Germany, turned over their Jews to the Nazis as well. It's why thousands of German civilians attacked Jews personally, and a para-military force hunted down Jews and killed them -- and sent pictures of themselves standing proudly with their rifles next to the bodies of the slain.

Again, nobody here has said that investigations into abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere shouldn't be conducted, or that the American public should be kept in the dark. In fact, it's hard to say that the public has  been kept in the dark when the Abu Ghraib photos have been shown repeatedly in newspapers, on the internet, and on television, and there has been a loud national debate on the issue.

(And, keep in mind that the Army's investigation started before the story broke. And, in all of the recent allegations of abuse, the information has been leaked or otherwise gleaned from government investigations!) 

Posted by A Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

A Concerned Citizen brings up a very good point. The government, more specifically the U.S. military, had been investigating abuses at Abu Ghraib for more than a year before the photographic evidence was made public by a free-thinking, truth-loving American soldier.
The military had more than a year to act against these abuses, but it did nothing. No hearings, no trials, no punishment, FOR MORE THAN A YEAR. The "people in charge,'' took no action, even though it was clear that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were horrific and extremely unAmerican.

America is a very strong country, probably the strongest the world has ever known. We have the strongest political system, the strongest economy and, unassailably, the strongest military.

One key source of strength is that we understand the power of free-thought, free-inquiry and the marketplace of ideas.

Americans know that while criticism of their actions may do grave harm to a particular political faction, it strengthens the nation as a whole.

A lot of other countries believe that strength lies in ideological loyalty and unity. Take China. The government, and a lot of Chinese people, perhaps even most, believe that the system cannot tolerate criticism. These Chinese equate criticism of the government with disloyalty. Their news media and education system are based on this view, in stark contrast with the American idea. I think the American idea of free thought and freedom of the press is a much better idea.

As a number of posters have pointed out here, the Islamo-fascists see America's free press as a sign of its weakness. They believe that the vociferousness of debate in the U.S. about the war in Iraq is a sign that they are winning. They are dead wrong.

Freedom of thought and freedom of the press are by no means free of costs. Fortunately, a lot of Americans believe that they are worth the cost. In the case of Abu Ghraib, most Americans are willing to endure the damage to the Bush administration's reputation the phhotos may bring because they understand that in the long-run America must remain a beacon of freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of the press.
The Islamofascists and right-wing Americans who think strength comes from everyone chanting the same slogan will never win because they don't understand the real power of freedom. 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

"The government, more specifically the U.S. military, had been investigating abuses at Abu Ghraib for more than a year before the photographic evidence was made public by a free-thinking, truth-loving American soldier.
The military had more than a year to act against these abuses, but it did nothing. No hearings, no trials, no punishment, FOR MORE THAN A YEAR. The "people in charge,'' took no action, even though it was clear that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were horrific and extremely unAmerican.
 

I will assume that that statement was made in ignorance, and merely point out that:

¤ The abuses mostly happened in the time period Oct-Dec 2003
¤ Spc. Darby reported the abuses that he had seen on 13 January 2004
¤ The U.S. command in Baghdad issued a press release stating the (at that time) allegations on 16 January 2004. Said press release was largely ignored by the mainline media
¤ Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez ordered the investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade on 19 January 2004.
¤ Maj. Gen Antonio Taguba was appointed to head the investigation on 31 January 2004. On 3 March 2004 he reported to Gen. David McKiernan.
¤ On 30 March 2004 six soldiers are charged with criminal offenses
¤ On 28 April 2004, "60 Minutes II" air graphic photos from Abu Ghraib

So the statement that BunkerBuster  made is not only wrong, but almost exactly backwards. The military sprang into action almost immediately, investigating and making charges, dismissing troops and reprimanding others. For over three months, the mainline media not only ignored the story, but ignored the military's frank admission that there was a story, until "60 Minutes II" ran the photos to scoop other media outlets. 

Posted by John "Akatsukami" Braue

Anonymous said...

Recently, the MSM has begun suffering its lowest readership and viewership ever. So I agree that Americans prefer a marketplace of ideas, and not a biased propaganda organ.

Ironically, it is the government which has earned more trust and credibility than our free press. The people of this country are fortunate to have a resource like the internet to debunk enemy propaganda with a simple google search. 

Posted by Josh

F15C said...

rithko said: "Do I have proof? You say I have just assertions? Nah, I have the government documents."

Well ok then. That certainly clears that matter up now doesn't it. You have (drum roll please) THE GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS!

(For some reason I feel like this is a Monty Python skit, "Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition" becomes: Nobody Expects The Government Documents!)

However, I am still waiting for *proof* of the wild-eyed assertions you made. You did not look up the word as I suggested now did you? Just how do you expect to provide proof if you don't even understand what "proof" is? Try looking it up, because proof is certainly not what you are providing.

Its interesting because you seem to be sooooo absolutely sure about your assertions that it should be a complete no brainer to simply show demonstrable, verifiable proof.

Come on man, I know you can do it.

F15C said...

Viki Anderson said:

"I am sure that responsible citizens in Poland and Germany were thinking the same thing about the atrocities at the Death Camps..."Even if something is true, it doesn't automatically mean that revealing it is best course."

Transparency is best no matter where the chips fall."

Can you cite your source for your information on how citizens of Germany and Poland felt? That is a new one on me. Frankly, it sounds like you made it up to buttress the argument that you didn't make.

Regarding transparency, you miss the point entirely. I want my government keeping secrets from me (and the rest of the citizenry that do not have a "need to know") that if disclosed could cause great harm to Americans or citizens of any other nation.

For our government to work, we the citizens must have some degree of trust in our fellow citizens that we elect to office, and those serving under them. I am not naive, and do not trust most politicians farther than I can throw them.

But, there are good American citizens in all branches of government including the military that perform their jobs with honor and respect for our laws and values. I trust those people to do the right thing for my family, friends, and me.

You are free to disagree, but the process I mention happens millions of times daily. If the government has run everything by the citizenry, then we are cease being a democratic republic. And we cease functioning.

Anonymous said...

Bunkerbuster,

The Abu Ghraib photographs came to light as a result of the investigation and the criminal charges that the Army brought against Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick II. Nobody denies this, especially not the key players -- Frederick's uncle, former Air Force master sergeant Bill Lawson, and former Marine lieutenant colonel Roger Charles.

John's right: the Army had put out a press release about the investigation months before Charles contacted CBS producer Mary Mapes. A press release that was ignored by the freedom-and-truth lovin' mainstream media. 

Posted by A Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

Concerned Citizen makes a very good point. Far from jumping at the chance to accuse the U.S. military of torture, the mainstream press IGNORED a report saying such torture may have taken place. I suspect they found evidence that the U.S. tortures people to be too routine to be newsworthy.
Why didn't the military's press release say the allegations included sexual sadism, fatal torture and that there was photographic and video evidence? I do think the mainstream has a strong pro-military bias, but I don't think they would have ignored those little pieces of truth.

On the timing of the U.S. military investigation of the matter, I stand corrected. Perhaps it was more like half a year than a year before the military took action against the alleged perpetrators. We may never know when the abuses actually started or whether all the abuses have been reported. (Gaijinbiker says we already know what happened at Abu Ghraib, but that's demonstrably false. Even among the convicted military personnel there are conflicting stories about what took place. Moreover, we know the military has tried to cover up information--for example, its initial press release did not include the photo evidence or mention the sexual nature of some of the torture. Given that evidence, no one can sincerely take the military at its word on this issue.)
Nor is the subject limited to Abu Ghraib. According to a 2,000 page Army report on torture at Bagram Air Force Base in Aghanistan, a villager named Dilawar was tortured to death. The U.S. Army did not instigate this investigation until AFTER the New York Times reported allegations of murder at the base.
The report is horrifying in its description of how Dilawar, who was picked up during a ``sweep'' of his village after a bomb attack, was slowly, excruciatingly murdered. According to the report, the interrogators had no evidence whatsoever that Dilawar was involved in any attacks.
Lieutenant General Daniel McNeill, U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, initially claimed that Dilawar was never abused and died of natural causes. The investigation took place only after a March 4, 2003 article in the NY Times reported that an autopsy found that Dilawar died from blunt force injuries that turned everything below his waist to pulp.
The Abu Ghraid evidence is only part of the picture here, but there is no reason.
F15C writes: `` I want my government keeping secrets from me (and the rest of the citizenry that do not have a "need to know") that if disclosed could cause great harm to Americans or citizens of any other nation.''

Some secrets, like advance military plans, are worth keeping. But the Abu Ghraib photos don't fall into that category. Great harm has come to the American people partly because the abuse at Abu Ghraib was not exposed soon enough, or fully enough. Had the press given more scrutiny to the lack of control and poor planning of the invasion of Iraq, perhaps the abuses at Abu Ghraib would have been prevented.
I won't say people who don't trust their fellow Americans to know the truth are "America haters,'' but I will say that they misunderstand the nature, origins and power of freedom of thought and speech. Worse, they misunderstand what makes America great: it isn't raw military power or the ability to control the press: it's freedom!!!!
 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

"Transparency is best no matter how the chips fall."

Excuse me while I retch into a Koran-swallowing toliet. If transparency is _always_ best, this country wouldn't be here. There was a lot of secrecy during WWII, and that kept millions of people alive. Say Winston Churchill had been a totally transparent kind of guy and decided to broadcast that the Nazis were progressively bombing into less populated areas since they were trying to do it blind? Great, have them redirect. Or, say, what if Roosevelt and his staff has been really transparent folks and told Congress, which had its share of isolationists at the time, that they really were operating a foreign intelligence agency on American soil (an intelligence agency that oversaw D-day and many other hugely important operations)? Roosevelt would have been impeached, the British Security Coordination disbanded, and WWII lost, probably. Or, better yet, maybe we should have told the Soviets straight out how to build an atomic bomb? 'Cause Stalin was our ally and all...

Come ON! Some information simply should not be disclosed because it would cost lives. Transparency that leads to death? What liberty is that protecting? We have the freedom of the press, and the freedom of speech, and have rights to certain information. But the rights of the press should not impede on MY individual rights, and the individual rights of other Americans-- to stay alive, and live in a country that operates suffienctly because it's national security (and national secrets) remain intact. 

Posted by Amy Rinkle

Anonymous said...

Right on Amy. No country should reveal weapons technology and military planning information. If anyone has suggested doing that, do let us know right away, I, for one, would be outraged! 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

Bunkerbuster,

You ascribe motives to the press that are not in evidence. It's more likely that journalists didn't pick up on the press release in January because they're simply incompetent, and most of them no longer do anything like investigative reporting anymore. Abu Ghraib, memogate, and the recent Koran abuse allegations all share one thing in common -- reporters didn't investigate these stories, they had them handed to them by various sources.

Your timeline's still off, however. On January 13th, 2004, Spc. Joseph Darby turned the Abu Ghraib photographs over to the military authorities. Less than a week later, Lieutenant General Sanchez ordered an investigation into the abuses, which was announced in an Army press release.

By the end of February, the first phase of the investigation was completed, and in the beginning of March, Major General Taguba reported his findings to his superior. Less than a month after that, the first criminal charges were filed.

So it wasn't "more like half a year", it took the Army six days  to start the investigation.

Should the Army have released the photographs on the 19th of January? Should the Army have released them on their own at all? This isn't a question of national security, it's a question of the proper procedure in criminal investigations. Investigators almost never release evidence to the public during an investigation, and they only rarely do so afterwards. 

Posted by A Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

Concerned citizen: What I meant by take action was remove alleged perpetrators from duty.

I take your point about releasing the photos during the investigation. And you are dead on about reporters not having the wherewithal to conduct investigations these days. Had the news media been more aggressive and the government been less aggressively secretive, perhaps the lack of post-invasion planning for things like controlling prisons would have been exposed and corrected earlier.

What kind of new Abu Ghraibs are taking place in Iraq at this very moment? It's unlikely we would find out about them. As Concerned Citizen notes, the U.S. media hardly investigates any more and government is increasingly secretive, so we won't know unless by some chance there is a leak of some sort.

As I noted before, the Abu Ghraib tortures and murder need to be seen as part of a bigger pattern playing out at Bagram, Guantanomo and in torture chambers in Saudi Arabia etc. to which the U.S. secretly moves suspects.

Just is important is the pattern Concerned Citizen points out: the media fails to investigate and when it does, those investigations are aggressively thwarted by the Bush administration. 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

A good point to remember, is you seldom hear of the ACLU, or any of these civil liberties organizations, defending the U.S. military or suing for the release of documents, pictures or video relating to Americans being tortured or murdered. Almost always these organizations are out to prove to the world that Americans are the barbarians. When in fact, America is one of the countries in this world that holds itself accountable for it's actions.

And a point was made on this post: "Transparency is best no matter how the chips fall."

So if that attitude is to be used, we should just bring home all the American citizens and military personnel from all over the world because we are putting more American lives in danger by plastering these pictures all over this muti-media world. Newsflash: We are at war.  And don't think for one minute that Al-Jazzera won't make that their #1 story for weeks to come, the un-edited version of course. Throw in guards pissing and stepping on the sacred Koran, or whatever they're saying this week, and you have a nice recruiting tape, straight off the U.S. MSM news channels. And hey, lets face it, if it's on U.S. news stations it must be true, at least that's what could be said to a terrorist-to-be recruit.

And then we have this quote from bunkerbuster:
Freedom of thought and freedom of the press are by no means free of costs. Fortunately, a lot of Americans believe that they are worth the cost. In the case of Abu Ghraib, most Americans are willing to endure the damage to the Bush administration's reputation the phhotos may bring  because they understand that in the long-run America must remain a beacon of freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of the press.
Really? Does that mean that the American people are willing to suffer the consequences, such as their family members overseas getting kidnapped and beheaded on Al-Jazzera? You won't see those videos on American television. Now if it were Americans doing the decapitating, the ACLU would demand the videos be shown to the American public. The part about enduring the damage to the Bush admin. may be true, but the point trying to be made by a lot of people on this post is simply this:
PEOPLE WILL DIE AS A RESULT OF THE RELEASE OF THESE PHOTOS.
If you don't think that's true then look back not even a month ago to the consequences of the "big story" Newsweek broke and the people that died.

This is the problem with the leftist way of thinking:
"Americans know that while criticism of their actions may do grave harm to a particular political faction, it strengthens the nation as a whole."
Left wing liberals just totally overlook the possiblity of anyone dying as a consequence to releasing information like this during wartime.
They think that people like myself and others are worried about a "political faction being harmed." I, for one, could care less what political faction is hurt. But I DO care if anything is going to put our troops and citizens overseas in more danger than they're already in.
 

Posted by Chris K

Anonymous said...

Bunkerbuster,

While it is true that we shouldn't reveal military plans and weapons data, those were the extreme examples I was presenting. There is other information besides just that that probably shouldn't be revealed-- more subtle things that do indeed affect national security. Information is valuable, and information that is valuable to our citizens is information they should have access to. But when that information is more valuable to the enemy, we should take care in how and when it is revealed. Please understand, I believe that the whole truth should come out. But when it should come out is a different matter entirely. There is a time and place for transparency.

On Abu Gahraib, I have this to say. I have no opposition to the tapes being released. What I do not like is the media frenzy that will follow their release, and the constant playing of these tapes. Hackles will again rise around the world-- and people should be angry over Abu Gahraib-- but the thing is that it's old news-- people were angry about it before-- now we have the face the damage of their wrath again for something we did once. Moreover, I said that is is old news. Why are we focusing on this old news that occurs within a democracy where justice can occur?

What about the human rights violations going on right now in Darfur? Saudi Arabia (and I not talking about the US's part, but about what the Saudis do to women and those who oppose the royalty)? China? Russia? Why are we hearing about something that happened months ago WHEN ONE THOUSAND ABU GAHRAIBS are happening right now, underneath our noses? Where's the outrage and the investigations for that? Abu Gahraib happened, and it cannot be taken back. But right now we have the chance to stop some of the most artrocious happenings ever, and we refuse, reveling in the 20/20 hindsight and beating a dead horse when we could be saving lives. That is the outrage that I feel-- that we learned so little from Abu Gahraib that we will drag it on forever and ignore what is happening around us. Shame on the media for not doing their jobs-- covering news that is happening now. 

Posted by Amy

Anonymous said...

It is no surprise that people like Chris K wildly overestimate the power and logic of the Islamofascists. They share a suspicion of freedom and a belief in the primacy of unity, violence and government control.

Luckily, most Americans recognize the folly of censoring the press in an attempt to improve the country's image among Islamofascists.

The American idea is that freedom of speech, freedom of thought and truth empowers people and nations IN THE LONG RUN. This is why Americans will not allow their government to supress the truth about Abu Ghraib. We know that in the long run, an open, freedom-loving, truth-seeking government prevents many more deaths than it causes.

Strictly for the purpose of argument, let's assume Chris K is correct: disclosure of the truth about what happened at Abu Ghraib will cause an increase in beheadings and attacks against U.S. occupation forces. In that case, the question is NOT how can we prevent people from finding the truth about Abu Ghraib. Rather the question is: How can we prevent the kind of torture that went on at Abu Ghraib from happening again. Censorship will enourage, not prevent, future Abu Ghraibs. Censorship will cause more deaths than it prevents and history overflows with examples.

The many Muslims who love what America stands for--i.e. the Muslims who matter most--also understand that America's ability to learn from its mistakes by airing them, analyzing them and acting on them is essential to the country's strength and beauty. These Muslims, like most Americans, prefer the risks of freedom to the false security of government control. 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

Amy, you are absolutely right, the tapes should be released. It is the American way. I wonder, though, where you get the idea that the U.S. doesn't cover abuses in other countries?

The U.S. mainstream media has extensive coverage of torture and human rights problems in China, Sudan and elsewhere. I get most of my information from the mainstream media and I am very well aware of the problems in Darfur, Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea and other places.

America's commitment to freedom has also fostered the development of political maturity among many, perhaps most, of its citizens. One difference between children and adults is that adults understand the need to accept responsibility for your own actions, regardless of the actions of others.
Because they are politically mature, most Americans understand that the press focuses on American shortcomings as a way of embracing responsibility for all our actions. Americans are optimistic about their country and serious about improving it by holding it to the highest standards.
Some other countries have failed to promote political maturity. Many, perhaps even most, of their citizens demand instant gratification, are obsessed with revenge and national self-esteem and have no patience with the long-term commitment freedom entails.

I love America because its commitment to freedom fosters political maturity and all the benefits that brings.  

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

Thank you for an important reminder. For the record, I'm a Canadian that actually supports what has happened in Iraq.

We aren't all idiots. 

Posted by Candace

Anonymous said...

"I really wish the ACLU, Amnesty International and other formally responsible organizations would think before they act."

They do. They are thinking about how much damage they can do to our war effort. They chose sides a long time ago, and we're not it.

This is the same mindset that Eason Jordan demonstrated when he accused us of targeting journalists, or CiCi Conelly accused us of murdering over a hundred detainees.

They want  us to lose.

It enfuriates me that I will have missed a year of my family's life, including my daughter's first steps , in order to defend the freedoms of people who actively seek our defeat.  

Posted by odysseus

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, as I stated earlier, the last thing I want to do is censor the press. However, I do think during wartime the media CAN fuel the fire against  our own military, MOST of which are law abiding Americans. And yes information like this should be known to the public, and it is, but do we need to see a photo album of a few Americans abusing prisoners international television?

So the pictures to be released are supposed to be "ugly and shocking..." and THAT is what Americans and the rest of the world "deserves" to see. That may be true, but the "ugly and shocking" photos and videos of Americans being tortured, beheaded, hung and burned from bridges are censored from the American public.

What's the motive for the media to be so bias in their coverage? Is it money? Better ratings with Americans as "the bad guy"? Is it because Americans as a whole might be utterly outraged to actually see, instead of hearing about, the injustices done to their brothers, sisters, moms and dads, or would be more unified in this war on terror? That doesn't make for good ratings in the media world uh?

Not only have we heard about the abuses at Abu Ghraib, we've seen some of the pictures on the six 'o clock news, during dinner time, with kids watching. Is this what we want our kids to see? A one sided coverage of war?

When the soldier killed the terrorist that was "faking dead" and it was caught on tape, the media played it over and over for days. And there was barely any mention of the fact that U.S. soldiers were being killed by terrorists that were faking dead, and that was the reason for the shooting. That video was played all over the world, and the theme for the story was - the U.S. is being inhumane and insensitive.

So, fair is fair. If you're going to be so adamant on showing Americans commiting crimes against others then we should show crimes against Americans also. 

Posted by Chris K

Anonymous said...

There is a logical argument on both sides of this:

Releasing the tapes WILL get westerners killed and boost aQ recruiting while lowering the determination of the the US, UK, et al in WW4/Global-War-on-Jihadis.

Not releasing the tapes will violate our comittment to openness and freedom of the (leftist) press.

Just as minimizing and hiding the 9/11-jumpers and WTC-collapse-video and the various beheading videos violates our comittment to openness and lowering the determination of the the US, UK, et al in WW4/Global-War-on-Jihadis.

The left (peaceniks against war generally and leftists/socialists agsinst GWB no-matter-what) wants military/GWB mistakes played up regardless of the WW4 deaths or consequences. The press agrees. (And does it.)

The rest of us want simple media balance regarding WW4. You lefties want our screwups, fine, then show our good deeds in accurate-to-life proportions and we'll be fine with that ... 99% good deeds to 1% Abu Gharib (mirroring reality) we can deal with. 99% Abu Gharib and obvious Anti-GWB-pre-election propoganda is unreasonable.

The rest of us may dislike the theocrats being given power in DC, but think that that is better than letting peacenik/socialists run things during WW4.

I have a simple multipart solution that satisfies everybody:
1: Show the video to US reporters to describe what they see. Do not release it, just a limited viewing.
2: The US Media should voluntarily start reminding people what WW4 is about. Before any WW4 newscast, show a 1-second image on-screen that reduces to a 10%x10% icon in a corner while the talking heads talk. Show a random selection from the WTC, Nick Berg, miscellaneous beheadings, Saddam's mass graves, the iron-maiden, purple-fingered-voters, afghan-girls-soccer, etc.

And I like the Eliminate-Koran-Abuse idea ... by removing the US-Army-issued-Korans from Gitmo ... how about replacing them with Shakespeare and Hollywood movies?

One more thing: If you leftists make running prison camps (for the duration of WW4) impossible, the US military will stop taking prisoners. Jihadis are not signatories to Geneva and are non-uniformed combatants. We are not required to accept their surrender. When paroled, they return to fighting. They also believe in Taqiyyah (look it up) so only senior (?educated) people are worth capturing alive for the CIA. Before criticizing Guantanamo for long-term detention, realize that the alternative may be death on the battlefield. 

Posted by Other

Anonymous said...

Other and Odysseus miss the point. If you don't want Abu Ghraib images spread across the world, you need to prevent Abu Ghraibs from happening. One of those ways, you'll agree, is to fully investigate and fully report on it.

As for the beheadings, I agree, they should be shown. I wouldn't watch them, because I'm squimish, but I can't look at some of the Abu Ghraib pictures either. The suggestion, however, that these videos would help the U.S. win this war is absurd, as is the claim that somehow they aren't being shown because the media want America to lose.

Most Americans' reaction to the beheading videos is to ask themselves why Americans were kidnapped in the first place. Was it to prevent WMDs from getting to terrorists? Was it revenge for 9/11? Was it to boost the popularity of George W. Bush? They will ask themselves, ever more urgently, whether the war is worth it. People who's anger is stoked by beheading videos are already fully on board with this war--any war, really--so I don't think fannying their flames helps build support for the war.

I love Americans because they know the New York Times is, for the most part, an amazingly good newspaper. That's why mainsteram Americans consider it the premier model of journalism. That's why when other newspaper editors and TV newspeople want to understand a complex story or get a "reality check" on their own coverage, they often use the New York Times coverage as a gauge. That's also why the New York Times can afford to pay its writers and editors some of the highest salaries in the business.
Many Americans also understand that a newspaper isn't a mirror of reality. It's a selection of the most important information the reporters could find in a given period.

For example, Other suggests that newspapers should print 99 percent good news, since 99 percent of the things that happen are good. There are lot of newspapers around the world that do this. North Korean newspapers are like that, a lot of Chinese newspapers are just like that. I suspect newspapers in Saudi Arabia and Iran focus very closely on the government's success stories and only lightly cover its failures.
Americans, in mhy opinion, know better. They are politically mature enough to understand that focusing on your own faults actually strengthens your country in the long run.
Many Americans know that this idea that showing the Abu Ghraib evidence will make the Islamofascists mad and cause them to kill more Americans is nonsense. The Islamofascists are far, far beyond reason. Moreover, as Gaijinbiker and others have pointed out, the basic contours of the war crimes at Abu Ghraib are known by all who are paying attention. The release of additional evidence will not provide new cause for offense, though the Islamofascists need no evidence to substantiate their causes.
Why does the right wing insist on trying to manage America's image among its least-reasonable, most fanatic enemies? Why does it think that covering up the problems is a better approach than doing everything possible to prevent them?



 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

Odysseus writes: ``It enfuriates me that I will have missed a year of my family's life, including my daughter's first steps , in order to defend the freedoms of people who actively seek our defeat.''

Get over yourself, Odysseus! You didn't invade Iraq to defend my freedoms. In fact, the invasion has increased the prospects that my freedoms will be curtailed. Just look at what people say on this blog: Some insist that the war is a good reason to censor the media and to let the government, not the people, decide what's news.
Are you suggesting that, without the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. survival as a freedom-loving country would be at risk? If so, please elaborate.
No, you didn't invade Iraq to protect my freedom, you invaded primarily to help assure Bush-Cheney's reelection by distracting attention away from their failure to understand the strengths and weaknesses of Islamofascists.
 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

I know I'll instantly be labeled for this, but let me remind you a few facts:
1) Life is full a "cynical" cost-benefit analyses and decisions, much as many liberals hate the very notion. By allowing peanut butter in stores, for example, we are failing to prevent hundreds of anaphylactic shock death each year for people with severe allergy to peanuts. Should we ban peanut butter?
2) In view of the afore-mentioned analysis, should torture and humiliation be banned? Muslim societies operate primarily on the concepts of honor and shame in the context of a populace that is stunningly ignorant and largely illiterate. A visual demonstration of power there is worth much more than a thousand words (do you think public executions in Iran are a mere coincidence?). When we claim the proverbial high moral ground by treating terrorists humanely, we are claiming it mostly with non-Muslims - with Muslims we are claiming the SHAMEFUL (in their view) perception that we are wimps. By the way, I lived for 3 years in Algeria, and have first hand observations. Illustrative case: In September 1985, four Soviet diplomats in Beirut were kidnapped by members of Hezbollah. One of them, Arkady Katkov, was shot in the head, and the rest were imprisoned. The terrorists wanted the Soviet Union to bring pressure on Syria to stop giving military support to a rival militia group. The situation was similar to that the United States, France, and other countries faced vis-à-vis the same Iranian-backed Shiite militants. But the Soviet response was different. Working with Syria, the KGB tracked down three young relatives of the Hezbollah leader. The Soviets then, so it is said, mutilated one of the men and sent body parts to the terrorists with a promise that the other two in their care would be treated similarly unless their people were released. That evening, the three diplomats, emaciated, unshaven, barefoot, and wearing dirty track suits, appeared at the gates of the Soviet embassy. Problem solved.
3) Non-invasion foreign-policy doctrines were designed for (and worked sometimes) in a world where nuclear threats came from counterparties that were a) non-suicidal, and b) could be negotiated with and threatened back because they did not hide amongst civilians. Please summarize an effective and feasible (forget, for example, border control for all people and goods entering the country - just not economically and logistically feasible) US NON-PREEMPTIVE counterpolicy to an Al-Qaeda armed with nukes. Until you can formulate such a policy, you are ceding the first-move advantage in a game with unacceptably high stakes. It is not very palatable, but you are gambling with other people's lives in order to assuage your own moral qualms about activities that have no place in Utopia, but work very well in the real world. In 1946, the Japanese were every bit as determined to die for their emperor as jihadists are to die for their gurus, and fire-bombing Tokyo did not change that, but nuclear explosions did, and in a matter of days. Assasinations of rogue leaders were never carried out in a large enough scale, but put yourselves in the shoes of say a future Kim Jong Il or Iranian mullah, whose handful of predecessors ended up with a bullet between the eyes by unknown assasins. Would you choose to be fair game, or would you choose any path other than nuclear weapons to raise cash or to solidify your power? If the price of world security and stability is a few radical wacos sent underground, how is that not the best solution, short of a miracle overnight change-of-heart? Sounds outrageous and repugnant, but should the "unthinkable" happen, would not the opponents of that have a pretty bad case of remorse? 

Posted by MOAB

Anonymous said...

It's telling that MOAB admires the Soviet response to Islamofascism. Fortunately, Americans have strongly rejected the simplistic assumptions on which the Soviet view of humanity is constructed.

Moreover, Americans know that the Soviet policy, for all its ruthlessness, failed miserably Afghanistan and is failing spectacularly and at great cost in Chechnya today. Apparently, MOAB missed the history lesson on the war in Afghanistan and maybe, like Bush, he doesn't read the newspaper, so doesn't know what's happening in Chechnya, not to mention Georgia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. How many Beslan massacres does it take for people like MOAB to get a clue?

The American idea is that respect for human rights is not a nicety and not a naive belief in Utopia but an essential source of moral strength, purpose and ideological coherence. The Soviet Union is an excellent example of how ruthlessness in the long term devastates a society and culture. Americans, including liberals, have done the cost benefit analysis and, throughout their history, have concluded that approaches like that of the Soviets are based on short-term, naive assumptions about human nature.

I could go into the evidence showing that torture doesn't work and how thoroughly and consistently torture demoralizes the torturer, but I'm confident that most Americans already understand that very well. They've done the cost benefit analysis and therefore know that torture and Soviet-style ruthlessness failed spectacularly for the Soviet Union and certainly won't work for America.

In advocating torture and Soviet-style aggression, MOAB also fails to make the distinction between Islamofascism and the broader Muslim world. MOAB writes: ``Muslim societies operate primarily on the concepts of honor and shame in the context of a populace that is stunningly ignorant and largely illiterate.''

Bin Laden and his tiny, scattered band of fanatic murderers are neither ignorant, nor illiterate and have shown very little understanding of honor or shame. What drives people like MOAB to claim that Soviet policies are effective and Islamofascists understand honor and shame? Fox News Channel? Home schooling? right-wing blogs?

Surely many of bin Laden's followers are illiterate, but MOABs ridiculous mistake is to claim that they represent Muslim society in general. Bin Laden's devotees are the deepest dregs of Muslim society and, mostly, are outcasts and outlaws. While superficial support for bin Laden has swelled in places like Iraq and Pakistan because of Bush's policies, it is a fatal mistake to think that U.S. policies should be based on crushing the hearts and minds of Islamofascists. As MOAB points out, they are suicidal fanatics, so reason and persuasion, not to mention conventional military deterrence, are beside the point.

The vast majority of Muslims are not suicidal, not unreasonable and not illiterate. This is the real world you won't see on the Fox News Channel. It is a world where the U.S. can and will win hearts and minds by consistently, confidently and thoroughly maintaining respect for human rights, truth and, well, the American way. American ideals and institutions, by their nature, appeal to the TOP of Muslim society and the many millions of freedom-loving, truth-seeking Muslims in Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, India and so on. These are the hearts and minds the matter, not those of the defeated, insular, self-hating Islamofascists.

The Soviet way has failed spectacularly and it's sad that people like MOAB spit in the faces of the brave souls who fought the Soviets by advocating their twisted view of humanity.

MOAB asks me to offer an alternative policy to preemption in a nuclear armed world. Americans are not opposed to pre-emption when it is directly targeted at specific threats, such as preventing the Timothy McVeighs of the world from getting hold of nuclear weapons. Americans had no problem with the hunt for bin Laden and would have no problem with, for example, demanding that Pakistan surrender Amhir Khan and open its nuclear program to international inspections.

But the war in Iraq has nothing to do with preventing Al Qaeda from getting nuclear weapons. The prospects of terrorists getting nukes from Saddam sometime after the many years it would have taken him to build them were extremely remote, especially when North Korea, Pakistan and Russia are far readier sources of the same materials.







 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

Brief response to bunkerbuster:
Please comment on the recent ouburst of outrage throughout the Muslim world over alleged desecration of Korans. Is this the reaction of educated and honorable people? It appears to show almost every characteristic of the opposite: credulity, overreaction, hypocrisy (Korans are routinely destroyed in Saudi Arabia, let alone Bibles - where is the outrage?), generalization, vengefulness (US flags burned and stomped)...

I agree with you on the long-term strategy of promoting human rights and freedom in Muslim societies. But you are dealing with the local modus of thinking today, and it's telling that you don't see honor and shame there - we are not talking Western style honor. It is honorable there to effect brutal revenge on those who have wronged/shamed/dishonored you - actually, it's the only way to restore one's honor, and that is a major recruiting pitch of terrorists. Democracy works when there are important safeguards in society - separation of state and religion, racial/ethnic equality, etc. They are in place in the US today, but to get there we lived through a Civil War, civil rights movement, etc. Throw in WMD's, and the equation changes - a rogue waco can level a city and plunge the world into a recession - is this your idea of cost-benefit analysis? Can you picture the southern plantation owners, or the MOVE members of Philadelphia armed not with rifles, but with missiles?

While you attack my sources of information, you fail to name yours. As I mentioned, I have lived in a Muslim country - Algeria - and observed, among other things, that the average family has 8 children (if you like stats, that distribution is skewed - the few wealthy educated ones have 3 or less, the majority have 10+), and these children live on a 1 local dinar worth of "baguette" (French-style bread) a day. A village may have no hospital of school, but it must have a mosque, unless they can hear the one from a nearby village. The quality of schooling (80% religious education) is pitiful. Where did your average educated and literate Muslim come from, and where was he or she hiding while I was there? Yes, there were notable exceptions, but they were just that - exceptions, and were prevalently military men.

In Turkey and Algeria not long ago fundamentalist Islamic parties were poised to win elections, and the military intervened - would you advocate letting those rule, given their historical tendency to not let go of power without a civil war?

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