Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Don't you just hate it when ugly truth fucks with your cognitive dissonance?

A few months ago, in the early days of this blog, I drove away our one "libertarian" commenter by insisting that our government had clearly ordered torture. (Okay, Neda also drove her away by calling her fat and ugly.) [UPDATE (correction): Neda quite rightly points out that she never called the woman fat.]

In the course of a long and ultimately pointless exchange in comments, I argued:

It seems to me that in the face of similar abuse taking place in different units at widely spaced locations around the globe (unprecedented abuse, mind you) you can choose to believe one of two things:
1. There is something severely wrong with today's military that is causing soldiers from different units in different locations to burst spontaneously into expressions of psychological torture, sexual humiliation, and outright brutality.
2. These practices are being foisted on a traditionally unwilling military by a small group of mostly civilian leaders through a combination of suggested and outright approval.

I choose to believe the second despite the single counterexample you point to, for a number of reasons:
a) It seems to me far more respectful of the military.
b) We know that Donald Rumsfeld has personally approved the use of these kinds of techniques (including, specifically, tying people in bags).
c) We know that our leaders are not shy to use torture when they see fit, as they are sending our prisoners to countries that use it happily and openly.

Left Behinds has also covered torture here, here, and here.

Well, to add one more count to our nation's indictment:

New Army documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union today reveal that Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez ordered interrogators to "go to the outer limits" to get information from detainees. The documents also show that senior government officials were aware of abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke.
Among the documents released today by the ACLU is a May 19, 2004 Defense Intelligence Agency document implicating Sanchez in potentially abusive interrogation techniques. In the document, an officer in charge of a team of interrogators stated that there was a 35-page order spelling out the rules of engagement that interrogators were supposed to follow, and that they were encouraged to "go to the outer limits to get information from the detainees by people who wanted the information." When asked to whom the officer was referring, the officer answered "LTG Sanchez." The officer stated that the expectation coming from "Headquarters" was to break the detainees.
The ACLU said the document makes clear that while President Bush and other officials assured the world that what occurred at Abu Ghraib was the work of "a few bad apples," the government knew that abuse was happening in numerous facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of the 62 cases being investigated at the time, at least 26 involved detainee deaths. Some of the cases had already gone through a court-martial proceeding. The abuses went beyond Abu Ghraib, and touched Camp Cropper, Camp Bucca and other detention centers in Mosul, Samarra, Baghdad, Tikrit, as well as Orgun-E in Afghanistan.

Tags:politics, torture, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib


  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger Neda Cole said…

    This is something I never understand - the people behind such scandals know full well when barefacedly denying any knowledge of these sorts of things that these documents a) exist and b) will be released into the public domain a relatively short amount of time later. Why then make a complete tit of yourself by denying it so vehemently in the first place? I get that politics requires spin but there's spin and then there's plain bullshit non?

    And, for the record, I never called Butchie fat and I didn't call her ugly until I was really at the end of my tether and she had posted that horrendous photograph of herself (apparently for our benefit) in which she resembled a hung over has-been drag queen. I hold my hands up however to calling her ignorant, naive, partisan, incapable of putting together a sensible argument, lacking in intelligence, and a hypocrite. I stand by all of these insults. Come count me.

  • At 5:21 AM, Blogger Neda Cole said…

    Have you guys seen this story? 15 year old Iraqi boy, suspected looter, beaten and drowned by 4 British soldiers. The part that really gets me is that one of them starts undoing his shirt to save the boy he and his buddies have sent to his death and then thinks "Mmm...naaaah".

  • At 11:18 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Hey, you can't make the delicious omelette of Iraq without killing a few kids. Right?

  • At 12:29 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…


    It's really such a shame that the genuine decision-makers (i.e., Bushie, Rummy, Blair) are never held accountable for that kind of atrocity.


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