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Author Topic: Iraqi Torture Apologists
David Ricardo
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I really hate to bring this up, but I have been pretty disappointed by the Iraqi torture apologists whom I have seen in various online forums.

For example, I was scrolling through the AI-Jane forums only to find that apologists over there were trying to cast doubts on the nature/existence/seriousness of the Iraqi torture in the Al Ghuraib prison. Aside from just that, they also cast aspersions on whether it was even "torture."

Here are some of their posts:

quote:
mv: Furthermore, the torture applied was psychological, not physical.

I'm not yet ready to condemn these guys.

(denial of the sodomy rape and fatal beatings -- obviously physical torture -- that occurred)

quote:
How many were aware about this happening and said nothing?

mv: This all, assuming that the story and the pictures are genuine. The entire thing may still be a fake. Someone should recheck the images against the 70s horror movies about the concentration camps (there were several made mosly in Italy); it is not impossible to take a frame and repaint the uniforms.

(attempt to discount the story as Photoshop fakery)

quote:
John L: Perhaps I am wrong here, but the blurred pictures showing sex scenes appear too contrived for me. It looks like something you would get from a porn film, and it may very well be. Also, the one showing "beaten to death", where does this come from? And why the blurring? Photographic equipment today is just too good for pictures to be this bad. Perhaps the blurring is on purpose, so as not to be able to see who happened to be in those uniforms.
(casting of doubt by citing blurring as proof of fakery)

quote:
Quoted from David Irving by mv:
A NUMBER of things stands out about this story, namely things it omits to say. The photos were in the hands of the Pentagon for over a month, and would have remained a secret if CBS television had not got hold them too.
So far as we know, none of those responsible, about a dozen officers and men, has actually been arrested or charged (despite what this AP story says) or placed on court-martial in those weeks or even now, merely "suspended".
On British television last night, April 30, the father of one of the army torturers, "Chip", who seemed a decent enough man from West Virginia, talked about the case.
He said that his son was ignorant of military law, had never been told it was wrong to do these things, and had been instructed to carry out these acts by "civilian contractors" employed by the CIA. His son had merely been following their orders.
What's the betting that the US Army heirarchy looks after its own again, à la My Lai?

THIS is another instance of the difficulties of fighting a good old-fashioned brute-force war in the age of television coverage.
Instances of prisoner torture and humiliation like this were a common- place in all the wars of the twentieth century, as any Real Historian can confirm. The Americans excelled in their torture of the prisoners held at the old Dachau concentration camp in Bavaria in 1946/7.
The Simpson Commission of Inquiry established that over one hundred witnesses in the Malmedy Trial had had their genitals destroyed by kicks from US Army interrogators (who were not US-born, I might add), in order to obtain the required testimony, which led to convictions and death sentences on a score of German officers, most of whose sentences were subsequently commuted in consequence (unless they had already been executed).
I have always maintained that if CNN's television cameras had covered Hamburg in July 1943, then Dresden would never have been permitted to happen in February 1945.
How the Pentagon must curse John Logie Baird and his American counterpart, whose name I forget.

(attempt to paint CBS as the real culprit for being "unpatriotic" enough to break this Iraqi torture story)

Just so everyone clearly knows what actually happened, via the 53-page official military investigation report given to the New Yorker:

quote:
Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.
Quoted from: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040510fa_fact

The aforementioned toture is what some apologists are (not the above apologists) "poo-pooing" as nothing more than "stupid frat-boy hazing pranks." Puh-leeze.

It is bad enough that our soldiers go around sodomy raping Iraq prisoners -- I just do not think we should add insult to injury by having Iraqi torture apologists blindly defending those soldiers. I really wish these guys would stop being such stubborn apologists for torture. It was bad enough when there were hippie left-wing nuts posing as Saddam Hussein apologists for his mass graves before the Iraqi invasion.

P.S. I chose to bring up examples from people that you would know from that forum, so you can see that otherwise "reasonable" people are being Iraqi torture apologists. I feel that merely quoting examples from some crazy wingnut forum like Little Green Footballs would not have made the same point.

Edit: Please disregard my interpretation of the David Irving quote. I was just pretty impassioned, and I totally made a fool of myself by completely misinterpreting the Daving Irving quote.

[ May 01, 2004, 11:12 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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mv
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Generally, it is considered to be an extremely bad style of posting to provide isolated quotations from a discussion without providing a link to the discussion itself.

This denies your readers any chance to see if your interpretation has any connection to the reality. (On AI-Jane, we do not consider this style of quoting acceptable, but Ornery has different rules).

Here is the actual link to the discussion:

The discussion on AI Jane

I prefer not to discuss the correctness of quotes from me and John L: anyone interested can follow the link and see what we really were saying.

The interpretation of the quote from David Irving, however, is a total lunacy. David Irving happens to have extremely right wing views, some may say neo-nazi, and he is strongly against the war in Iraq. Nowhere in his comments does he condemn CBS; there is no condemnation of CBS anywhere else on the AI Jane thread and saying
quote:

attempt to paint CBS as the real culprit for being "unpatriotic" enough to break this Iraqi torture story

gives credit only to your fantasy, not the ability to read and quote.

Again, you are welcome to review the entire AI-Jane thread.

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David Ricardo
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Upon re-reading that quote carefully, I admit that I misread the David Irving quote. My apologies for that.

I was caught off guard when I read this part:

quote:
I have always maintained that if CNN's television cameras had covered Hamburg in July 1943, then Dresden would never have been permitted to happen in February 1945.
How the Pentagon must curse John Logie Baird and his American counterpart, whose name I forget.

Of course, I now see that I misread the quotation. Again I apologize for that.

With my misinterpretation of the David Irving quote aside, surely you are not still denying that we did engage in pretty sadistic physical and psychological torture of Iraqis?

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Enumclaw
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Despite disagreeing vehemently with mv's initial comments on the situation, I'll stand up for him here and say that trying to mix Ornery with AI-Jane doesn't make much sense; David's quotes are taken out of context by sheer fact that the entire thread isn't posted; and that ultimately, if you wanna discuss it, you should simply do so here.

I've said on AI-Jane that I think the members of the Infamous Ornery 8 (IO8) should have stayed here, rather than start the new forum, but that's neither here nor there.

I just think, David, if you have a good point (and I think you DO have a good point to make) that you should simply state it.

If the AI-Jane members are reading and wanna discuss it here, they can do so; if you wanna discuss their words with them, the proper place for that isn't here, but is where they're saying it- there.

That said...

Yes, it amazes me that there's people excusing that kind of behavior. I see the pictures as being incredibly anti-American; I think they'll only build the anger that exists; I think it takes away from our moral high ground; and I think to excuse the things we see and the stuff we're reading in the reports is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Many people don't know that the Russians pretty much raped and pillaged their way back across Eastern Europe during the latter stages of WWII as they drove the German Army back into Germany.

Sure, the Germans had practiced plenty of horrendous things of their own, but the Russian army took rape as a reward of war to a new level.

The German populace was, for the most part, hoping and praying that they were going to be "liberated" by the Americans and British forces coming from the west. Rather than raping every decent-looking woman (and many of the others) they saw, they were handing out candy, giving medical care, food, rebuilding water systems, you name it.

America had, as a result, a moral high ground and a respect from the people that we'd just conquered that is impossible to buy- you only earn it by actions.

Well, we're giving that up in Iraq.

War is horrible. No matter what, in a ground war of any scale, there's going to be horrendous things happening. Non-combatants are going to get caught in the crossfire and be wounded or killed.

We can try and minimize this as much as possible; if "war" can have "rules", that's what they're for (and indeed, even vehemently opposed nations generally have agreed to try and fight war "by the rules").

But when the bullets aren't flying, when you're dealing with the aftermath, there's a way to behave that's moral and good, and there's a way that isn't.

In my opinion, there's even ways to break someone down for purposes of interrogation that're "legit" and reasonably above-board.

But the intent of it shouldn't be for plain old degradation, and that's what these images show me. They don't look like they're doing it to save lives; they look like they're doing it because they think it's funny to abuse the prisoners, and that they get their kicks doing so.

It's wrong, period. If we don't have the confidence in our own ideals to live by them, we're doomed to lose in the long run.

We can beat them *without* this kind of thing.

Fortunately, for the most part, I believe our armed forces aren't like this; I think that we (the US and UK) are on the whole good, moral people, and that we will ultimately prove to be so.

In the meanwhile, though, we're going to really pay for the short-sighted actions these nitwits running these jails undertook.

Paul

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mv
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quote:

Of course, I now see that I misread the quotation. Again I apologize for that.

You misread and misunderstood most of the thread.

For example, you somehow managed to interpret our calls to ensure that the images are genuine as a claim that they are fakes. The only claim was that we should find out, and preferrably fast, if they are genuine.

And worst yet, you are putting interpretation even in your questions:

quote:

surely you are not still denying that we did engage in pretty sadistic physical and psychological torture of Iraqis?

Very poor style again, a cheap trap. Just like the infamous
quote:

Did you stop beating your wife?

question.

The question you ask, incidently, is sufficiently answered on the thread you neglected to link,

The discussion on AI Jane

Answering your question directly: I would not go with we here. If some sick individuals did do it indeed, you are welcome to join them with a we, but I shall respectfully decline this honor. Here is a quotation from the thread you unfortunately neglected to copy here:

quote:

If the pictures are fakes, we better hurry up with the full investigation to show that they could not be real. If the pictures are real, we better hurry up with the investigation and punish the ones who are responsible as severily as a real terrorist would be punished -- because they guys who did it inflicted possibly more damage that Mohammed Atta did on 9/11.
--mv

Yet again, selective quoting, without providing a link, is a very poor style of reporting.
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David Ricardo
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You did not answer my "yes" or "no" question.

Just say "yes" or "no."

Are you denying that we physically and psychologically tortured Iraqi prisoners?

It is a simple "yes" or "no" question. Don't try to dodge it.

BTW, it is disingenuous to question whether the photos are true or not when the culprits involved already admit that they committed those acts. Even right now, some of those soldiers are trying to claim that "they were never taught the Geneva Conventions" and "we are becoming scapegoats" and "our chain of command did not help us" and "those acts were only frat-boy hazing jokes."

So, stop caveating yourself like a trial lawyer and answer the question.

[ May 01, 2004, 11:45 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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mv
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quote:

Don't try to dodge it.

David, dear, I'm not dodging it. I'm rejecting it, and I thought i've explained why clearly enough above.

Let me help you a little -- you do seem to have some problems with reading -- and phrase the question so it can be answered. This is what you should have asked:

quote:

Are you denying that some individuals within US army physically and psychologically tortured Iraqi prisoners?

to this question I'll gladly answer: I don't know. Neither do you. Neither does anyone else on this forum or AI-Jane.

This needs to be investigated, as fast as possible, and as openly as possible.

Then you will get your answer.

End of my comments on this thread.

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David Ricardo
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So, the culprits already admit that the photos were genuine, but some of them are trying to plead that they "were not trained" or "did not know the Geneva Conventions."

None of them are denying that they did what they did. They all admit to it.

They already admit to being guilty of committing the acts in those photographs. It is only a question of whether their JAG lawyers can argue that those acts were not criminal acts. (basically, quibbling over what the definition of is, is)

The New Yorker already has a copy of the complete 53-page military investigation report.

And you cop out of answering the "yes" or "no" question directly. That makes no sense.

[ May 01, 2004, 11:50 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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mv
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Well, I guess it is not the end yet. One more comment: look at the time stamp of my post above: 11:44.

Look at the time stamp of the post above that: 11:45.

What we got here is an essential alteration of the context of the post, based on the response.

Another example of a very poor posting style, unfortunately acceptable on Ornery.

Paul, this is the reason why AI-Jane exists.

David, please forgive me, but I'm really uninterested in any further discussion with you. Please learn to read, write, quote, and ask questions, and we can try this again.

Ciao.

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Leto
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You know, this is the biggest funny thing about the "AI-Jane" (can't get more derivative) phenomenon: there's bound to be nothing but things said on one that are directly related to the other (forum), said so that they can escape the moderation queue.

And before Tom begins assuming, this is exactly what I actively discourage, because there is no need for that kind of drama. All you have to do is say what you want to say from the beginning, and you don't have to hide it in pseudo-intellectualism and jumping to other forums to say what you really mean. The entire origin of the (AI-Jane) forum is to compete directly with Ornery, which is stupid, unnecessary drama in and of itself. Recipe for disaster and teenage hijinks.

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David Ricardo
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Murdok and/or Enumclaw: Please give the following links to umhasan (the free Iraqi woman) on the AI-Jane forum on the International Politics thread about "US general suspended over abuse":

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040510fa_fact

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1206725,00.html

http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2862334

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/ny-bc-ny--iraq-pris onerabus0430apr30,0,3027574.story?coll=ny-ap-regional-wire

Tell her that the soldiers involved already have admitted that the photos are real and genuine. Also indicate that the New Yorker piece uses the official 53-page military investigation report as its source.

Thanks for doing this. She seems quite concerned about the truth of what is happening, and these links should give her a comprehensive view of what is really happening with the torture of Iraqis.

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Leto
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quote:
Another example of a very poor posting style, unfortunately acceptable on Ornery.

Paul, this is the reason why AI-Jane exists.

HA! See what I mean? "This is our lunch table! You can't be cool, so go sit at the other lunch table!"
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David Ricardo
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Leto: Don't bother with it. I was not trying to put down their forum -- let them have their forum.

I was just using their example as just one data point of the larger denial/apologist phenomenon regarding the Iraqi torture scandal. The larger denial/apologist phenomenom is what worries and disappoints me.

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David Ricardo
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To get a clear idea of the denial/apologist mentality, check out this Free Republic thread:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1127996/posts

There also seems to be an overly excesive fixation with: sodomy, homophobic comments, homoeroticism and a whether the woman in the pictures is a lesbian.

Not to paint with a broad brush, but I get the feeling that neoconservatives have a lot of problems with homophobic homoeroticism.

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FIJC
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quote:
"Not to paint with a broad brush, but I get the feeling that neoconservatives have a lot of problems with homophobic homoeroticism."
I am not sure where you get this theory from. Although FR has its problems (what website with around 100,000 registered members doesn't?), the majority of Freepers are more Republican than neoconservative. Only a small section of posters really seem to have an educated grasp of neoconservatism and Straussian philosophy. A lot of the members seem aware that there is currently a widening rift between the Paleo and Neo con factions, but that is only because a large number of Paleo con posters were banned in the last year or so.

(edited for grammar)

[ May 02, 2004, 02:01 AM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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David Ricardo
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I am not a neoconservative, so I do not really care whether or not they are obssessed with homophobic homoeroticism. They just seemed to have an unhealthy fixation with homosexuality in that torture thread though.

Nevertheless, the main point is that I see rampant denial/apologist mentality from all sorts of Republican/right-wing/neoconservative forums right now...it's a little disturbing.

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FIJC
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It is hard for many of us to fathom how anyone fighting on our side could commit such horrible and completely evil acts. I think it is typical and normal for many to first disbelieve or attempt to explain seemingly unfathomable and completely evil acts such as this. Of course they do not want to initially believe these accusations, but reality will eventually sink in for many of these people.
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David Ricardo
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BTW Enumclaw, I know exactly what you are talking about with regard to Russia against Germany in WWII.

A old German-American told me his stories about how German fathers would beat up their daughters before the Russians came, so the Russians would be less likely to rape those "ugly" girls.

"War is hell," as William Tecumseh Sherman said. I do not really see the point of denying it or apologizing for it when it happens.

This is also why I utterly reject the role of ideals in international relations. You get in all sorts of trouble when you bring morals into your foreign policy. In Iraq, we tried to justify ourselves on the moral high ground, and that moral high ground just collapsed right under our feet.

Sticking solely with protecting American national interests has not failed the United States in the past, and I do not see why we have to "experiment" with this idealistic democracy-spreading hippie "Project for a New American Century" stuff. Good old-fashioned "America puts America first" foreign policy works fine.

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WmLambert
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David Ricardo, you keep asserting that "the Images are factual."

Which ones? There are some pictures making the rounds that are obvious fakes and some that may have credibility. You don't presume to tell us that terrorists aren't making as much political hay from this as they can, are you? I've looked at all of the links you've provided, and can find nothing that is certified as coming from official U.S, sources. The bulk are from Albasrah.com and how they got there for dessemination is an interesting question in itself.

You seem inextricably mixed up between what are possibly faked images and what is investigations of possible Iraqi torture in the Al Ghuraib prison.

It is my opnion that many images are fake. That doesn't imply that all are. It is my opnion that terrorists are using the controversy to further their cause. What is the proper position for an average U.S. citizen to hold? Does one condemn the U.S. military for having problems which it is actively trying to fix? ...for being the target of disinformation?

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David Ricardo
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Read the New Yorker article seriously please. It explains how the New Yorker got the fifty-three page miltary report written by General Taguba back in February.

Here is the excerpt for your convenience:

quote:
A month later, General Karpinski was formally admonished and quietly suspended, and a major investigation into the Army’s prison system, authorized by Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior commander in Iraq, was under way. A fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker, written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and not meant for public release, was completed in late February. Its conclusions about the institutional failures of the Army prison system were devastating. Specifically, Taguba found that between October and December of 2003 there were numerous instances of “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at Abu Ghraib. This systematic and illegal abuse of detainees, Taguba reported, was perpetrated by soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company, and also by members of the American intelligence community. (The 372nd was attached to the 320th M.P. Battalion, which reported to Karpinski’s brigade headquarters.) Taguba’s report listed some of the wrongdoing:
The list of wrongdoing included: dogs used against prisoners, sodomy rape of prisoners, biting of prisoners, etc.

I did not say that all of the images were real, just the 60 Minutes II photos. I already knew that Arab media were circulating certain other "fake" photos besides the genuine 60 Minutes II photos. I just do not see why people are denying that Iraqi prisoners have been sodomy raped when the military itself has officially reported that the prisoners have been sodomy raped.

The only questions are legal questions as to the criminality of those soldiers facing court-martial. That's a legal dance for their JAG lawyers.

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Enumclaw
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quote:
Please give the following links to umhasan (the free Iraqi woman) on the AI-Jane forum on the International Politics thread about "US general suspended over abuse":
No. If you feel it's important, do it yourself.

I think the genesis of this thread was to try and bait AI-Jane users to come here and defend what they said there; as I pointed out, if you wanna take them to task or debate them for their comments there, you need to do it there.

If you were prevented from doing so for some reason, I might help you out, but there's nothing stopping you.

As far as the topic itself, as I said before, it's ridiculous that there's people denying that it even took place.

(The irony of the same people saying, alternately, "if it happens it's deserved and war is hell and no big deal" at one moment, and the next saying "there's no proof this actually happened" is pretty thick.)

In any case, I disagree with the assertion that there cannot be any morals in war; there can be, and people are held accountable for breaking those morals.

Paul

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Yossarian5555555
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I wonder what they would do to Iraqis who tortured americans like these americans tortured the Iraqis?
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Sancselfieme
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When President Bush goes out his way to appologize for the brutal, physical mistreatment of the prisoners, you can sure bet that he would never appologize unless the pictures were verified as real.
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Murdok
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As one of the founding members of AI-Jane, I stand with David here. The photos are indeed real, and not fakes. Even the President has come out against this continuing atrocity.

We are Americans. We are supposed to be setting the standards the rest of the world follows. The actions of these 6 soldiers or MPs, with suggestion the orders came from the intelligence wing, no way reflects the greater whole of the US military. On CNN, Paul Bremer's assistant, Dan Senor, has admitted the photos are real. No higher source is available so I think anyone trying to suggest that the photos are fakes are simply misinformed.

Why would the Arabs want to fake photos when in fact they have plenty from the US and England that are authentic? It makes no sense.

So I would suggest that anyone who doubts the authencity of the photos simply read the CNN transcripts of Dan Seno while being interveiwed by Wolf Blitzer on Sunday's Late Edition. And pay particular attention to his words - careers will end and people will be punished.

There is no exucse for the US behaving this way. None.

No spin or words taken out of context. This is from the horses mouth.

[ May 02, 2004, 12:20 PM: Message edited by: Murdok ]

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Ivan
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I have no idea what's going on with this thread. Am I now required to read a different forum to understand what's going on in this one?

David, if you want to make a post about this topic here, then start a thread about it. If you want to discuss what was said on AI Jane, do it on AI Jane!

It seems only logical to me. And as mv said, don't take quotes out of context (IE the thread they're from, or more importantly, the FORUM they're from) without providing some sort of link.

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David Ricardo
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This thread is about Iraqi torture apologists, not AI-Jane. Pretty simple.
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Ivan
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Then excuse my confusion, since most of the first post consists of quotes from AI Jane.
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jedilaw
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Look, I've scanned AI Jane and decided not to join it. Why should I, as an Ornery regular, need to go reading other threads to understand the context of this debate? Cite to something semi-official, why don't you, or at least something with more pull such as TNR or the Standard. What has Kristol's response been? Safire's? If these guys are apologists, that's one thing. With all due respect to MV, John L, and whomever else on AI-Jane, does the rest of the world give a soggy damn what they said about the torture? No. Since they didn't say it here, why not address it there?

Let's talk about this topic in a context that matters, please.

[ May 02, 2004, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: jedilaw ]

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