Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Pentagon Forced to Reveal Many Previously Withheld Abu Ghraib Photos (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3   
Author Topic: Pentagon Forced to Reveal Many Previously Withheld Abu Ghraib Photos
David Ricardo
Member
Member # 1678

 - posted      Profile for David Ricardo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/3200479

quote:
WASHINGTON - A federal judge told the Department of Defense on Thursday that it would have to release perhaps dozens of photographs taken by an American soldier during interrogations of detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The New York judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein, said at a hearing that photographs would be the "best evidence" in the public debate about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers.

The hearing, in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, came in a Freedom of Information Act suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union to obtain material about military prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo, Cuba.

In response to the suit, the government has already released more than 36,000 pages of documents that shed sometimes dramatic light on conditions and interrogation practices in U.S. military prisons.

Small number published
The photographs covered by Hellerstein's decision would be the first released under the suit. The judge focused on the 144 photographs that were turned over to Army investigators last year by Spc. Joseph M. Darby, a reservist who was posted at Abu Ghraib.

A small number of the pictures have already been published, including those showing naked detainees piled in a pyramid and simulating sex while their American military captors looked on.

In a closed session in his chambers, Hellerstein looked at a sample of nine of the photographs presented by Sean Lane, an assistant U.S. attorney.

The judge instructed the government to release some of them as they were and to black out faces in others so the prisoners could not be identified, according to an account of the meeting Lane gave to ACLU lawyers.

"There is another dimension to a picture that is of much greater moment and immediacy" than a document, Hellerstein said in court.

Appeal possible

He rejected Lane's argument that releasing the pictures would violate the Geneva Conventions because some prisoners might be identified.

The government could appeal the decision.

Megan Lewis, a lawyer who argued on behalf of the ACLU, said the photographs "could be extremely upsetting and depict conduct that would outrage the American public and be truly horrifying."

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan (on the Chris Matthews Show) reveals that the new Pentagon photos/videos (coming to a newspaper near you after June 30th) that were previously blocked by the Administration will contain graphic images of detainee sodomy and rapes.

[ May 28, 2005, 10:10 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

Posts: 1429 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Stupid stupid stupid.

It's called the moral high ground. We need it.

There wouldn't be so many people who will easily swallow a Koran-flushing story if it weren't for this kind of thing. We need to at least appear to be the good guys.

Still, if I'm looking for a silver lining it's this: our system of competing government agencies, transpareny and free press is effective enough to get this info out to the world. We put our scandals right in our front window. I'm positive Saddam's detainees didn't have that courtesy.

Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Drake
Member
Member # 2128

 - posted      Profile for The Drake   Email The Drake   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If the additional photos reveal soldiers that were not charged, or that the soldiers that were convicted of abuse should have had harsher charges or sentences, I'm going to be very, very upset.

I've checked for the specific mention of sodomy and rape, and I can't find any - even on the blogs that would normally trumpet such information. Does anyone have a hard link about the Matthews show?

(reminds me, I'd better erase my browser history...)

[ May 29, 2005, 03:02 AM: Message edited by: The Drake ]

Posts: 7707 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
FiredrakeRAGE
Member
Member # 1224

 - posted      Profile for FiredrakeRAGE   Email FiredrakeRAGE   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WarrsawPact -

We do need the moral high ground. I would, however, rather err on the side of too much investigation-type-effort (even those efforts with base motivations). While it does matter what the world thinks of us (particularly to US soldiers abroad), I would much rather be hated while living in the land of the free than be loved under a more oppressive government.

While the consequences in this case are unlikely to be significant either way, the small things are often used as a precedent when larger issues arise.

--Firedrake

Posts: 3538 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
noah
Member
Member # 884

 - posted      Profile for noah   Email noah   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Warrsaw - You don't get the moral high ground by hiding all of the bad things you've done. You get the moral high ground by not doing bad things, or at least punishing those who do them.

As for public opinion, I think people would swallow a Koran-flushing story much more readily if they thought that the US hid all of the things it did than if they thought that we admitted to the stuff we've done. That way, we would actually have credibility when we denied the Koran-flushing.

[ May 29, 2005, 09:53 AM: Message edited by: noah ]

Posts: 268 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
David Ricardo
Member
Member # 1678

 - posted      Profile for David Ricardo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
To get a sense of why the Pentagon and Administration were so keen on covering up the vast majority of the Abu Ghraib photos, here is a good take from Matt Welch of Reason magazine:

quote:
The Pentagon's Secret Stash
By Matt Welch
Reason Magazine

April 2005 Edition

Why we'll never see the second round of Abu Ghraib photos.

The images, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress, depict "acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman." After Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) viewed some of them in a classified briefing, he testified that his "stomach gave out." NBC News reported that they show "American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys." Everyone who saw the photographs and videos seemed to shudder openly when contemplating what the reaction would be when they eventually were made public.

But they never were. After the first batch of Abu Ghraib images shocked the world on April 28, 2004, becoming instantly iconic-a hooded prisoner standing atop a box with electrodes attatched to his hands, Pfc. Lynndie England dragging a naked prisoner by a leash, England and Spc. Charles Graner giving a grinning thumbs-up behind a stack of human meat-no substantial second round ever came, either from Abu Ghraib or any of the other locations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay where abuses have been alleged. ABC News broadcast two new photos from the notorious Iraq prison on May 19, The Washington Post printed a half-dozen on May 20 and three more on June 10, and that was it.

"It refutes the glib claim that everything leaks sooner or later," says the Federation of American Scientists' Steven Aftergood, who makes his living finding and publishing little-known government information and fighting against state secrecy. "While there may be classified information in the papers almost every day, there's a lot more classified information that never makes it into the public domain."

It's not for lack of trying, at least from outside the government. Aftergood, for example, sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Defense Department on May 12, asking generally for "photographic and video images of abuses committed against Iraqi prisoners" and specifically for the material contained on three compact discs mentioned by Rumsfeld in his testimony. The Defense Department told him to ask the U.S. Central Command, which sent him back to Defense, which said on second thought try the Army's Freedom of Information Department, which forwarded him to the Army's Crime Records Center, which hasn't yet responded. "It's not as if this is somehow an obscure matter that no one's quite ever heard of," Aftergood notes.

Officials have given two legal reasons for suppressing images of prisoner abuse: "unwarranted invasion of privacy" and the potential impact on law enforcement. The Freedom of Information Act's exemptions 6 and 7 (as these justifications are known, respectively) have been used repeatedly to rebuff the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which since October 2003 has unearthed more than 600 torture-related government documents but zero images.

The privacy objection is easily answered: Why not just obscure any identifying features? The law enforcement question, which has a firmer legal footing, is whether distribution of the images could "deprive a person of a fair trial or an impartial adjudication." Yet even there, the globally publicized photographs of Charles Graner, for instance, were ruled by a military judge to be insufficient grounds to declare his trial unfair. And Graner, sentenced to 10 years for his crimes, is the only one of the eight charged Abu Ghraib soldiers to contest his case in court.

"We've seen virtually no criminal investigations or criminal prosecutions," says ACLU staff attorney Jameel Jaffer, who plans to challenge the nondisclosure in court. "The vast majority of those photographs and videotapes don't relate to ongoing criminal investigations; on the contrary they depict things that the government approved of at the time and maybe approves of now."

Legalities are one thing, but the real motivation for choking off access is obvious: Torture photos undermine support for the Iraq war. In the words of Donald Rumsfeld, "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."

The Abu Ghraib photos did more to kneecap right-wing support for the Iraq war, and put a dent in George Bush's approval ratings, than any other single event in 2004. Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote two glum pieces about "the failure to understand the consequences of American power"; The Washington Post's George Will called for Rumsfeld's head; blogger Andrew Sullivan turned decisively against the president he once championed; and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned: "We risk losing public support for this conflict. As Americans turned away from the Vietnam War, they may turn away from this one."

News analyses about the war coalition's crackup competed for front-page space with the Abu Ghraib reports for nearly two weeks, until a videotape emerged showing American civilian Nick Berg getting his head sawed off in Iraq. Suddenly, editorialists were urging us to "keep perspective" about "who we're fighting against."

By that time, the executive and legislative branches had learned their lesson: Don't release images. The day after the Berg video, members of Congress were allowed to see a slide show of 1,800 Abu Ghraib photographs. The overwhelming response, besides revulsion, was, in the words of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.), that the pictures "should not be made public." "I feel," Warner said, "that it could possibly endanger the men and women of the armed forces as they are serving and at great risk."

Just before former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, author of two memos relating to interrogation methods and the Geneva Conventions, faced confirmation hearings to become attorney general, there were press whispers that the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), might choose the occasion to force more disclosure of torture photos. It didn't happen. "He and Senator Warner," says Levin spokeswoman Tara Andringa, "are on the same page."

As is, no doubt, a good percentage of the U.S. population. Public opinion of journalism has long since plummeted below confidence levels in government. Prisoner abuse wasn't remotely an issue in the 2004 presidential campaign, let alone an electoral millstone for the governing party. The mid-January discovery of photographs showing British soldiers abusing Iraqis barely caused a ripple in the States. Neither did the Associated Press' December publication of several new photos of Navy SEALs vamping next to injured and possibly tortured prisoners (prompting the New York Post to demand an apology from...the Associated Press).

As The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto put it, with great cynicism and possibly great accuracy, "if the Democrats really think that belaboring complaints about harsh treatment of the enemy is the way to 'score points with the public,' they're more out of touch than we thought."

Looking ahead to the next four years, there is little doubt that the administration, its supporters, and Congress will use whatever legal means are available to prevent Abu Ghraib-the public relations problem, not the prisoner abuse-from happening again. The Defense Department has commissioned numerous studies about America's problem with "public diplomacy" since the September 11 massacre; all those compiled since last May hold up the iconic torture images as the perfect example of what not to let happen again.

"The Pentagon realizes that it's images that sell the story," Aftergood says. "The reason that there is a torture scandal is because of those photographs. There can be narratives of things that are much worse, but if they aren't accompanied by photos, they somehow don't register....The Abu Ghraib photos are sort of the military equivalent of the Rodney King case....And I hate to attribute motives to people I don't know, but it is easy to imagine that the officials who are withholding these images have that fact in mind."


Posts: 1429 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kenmeer livermaile
Member
Member # 2243

 - posted      Profile for kenmeer livermaile   Email kenmeer livermaile       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"Still, if I'm looking for a silver lining it's this: our system of competing government agencies, transpareny and free press is effective enough to get this info out to the world. We put our scandals right in our front window."

An excellent lining indeed. But I wouldn't call it our front window. More like distant reflections from a hall of mirrors.

Posts: 23297 | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Drake
Member
Member # 2128

 - posted      Profile for The Drake   Email The Drake   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, I don't know that we want them in the front window. That would be bragging... like the beheading videos released by our enemies.
Posts: 7707 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lifewish
Member
Member # 1063

 - posted      Profile for Lifewish   Email Lifewish   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is kind of a hard one to call, cos releasing the pictures will almost certainly lead to riots across Iraq against the "American oppressor".

If I was one of the congressman tasked to deal with the situation, I'd probably allow the Army to keep the photos secret on the conditions that a) the people who committed the atrocities get their just desserts and b) no more such events occurred.

Anyone else got strong feelings on the correct course of action?

Posts: 272 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dagonee
Member
Member # 2212

 - posted      Profile for Dagonee     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Warrsaw - You don't get the moral high ground by hiding all of the bad things you've done. You get the moral high ground by not doing bad things, or at least punishing those who do them.
quote:
We do need the moral high ground. I would, however, rather err on the side of too much investigation-type-effort (even those efforts with base motivations).
Why are either of you assuming WP is in favor of hiding anything. He said:

quote:

Still, if I'm looking for a silver lining it's this: our system of competing government agencies, transpareny and free press is effective enough to get this info out to the world. We put our scandals right in our front window.


Posts: 2061 | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
David Ricardo
Member
Member # 1678

 - posted      Profile for David Ricardo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The correct course of action would have been to condemn Administration policies that encouraged the torture of innocent Iraqis.

Of course, I have seen little such condemnation from many people who should already know better. Instead, they preferred to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that aforementioned torture of innocents never happened at all.

If you do not want to have the bad press of torturing innocent Iraqis, then stop torturing innocent Iraqis in the first place. And also stop defending and apologizing for government officials who enabled such torture policies in the first place.

[ May 29, 2005, 04:18 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

Posts: 1429 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dagonee -

They were probably referencing the first part of my post, which sorta insinuates that if we ARE the bad guys then it's strategically stupid to appear as bad as we are.

I hope they read the last part of my post as well and take it all together as one message.

Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Funean
Member
Member # 2345

 - posted      Profile for Funean   Email Funean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
if we ARE the bad guys then it's strategically stupid to appear as bad as we are
If you must be bad, at least don't be stupid about it? Or at at least have the sense to try not to flaunt it?

Sure, I'll buy that. It's what Pete Decker said about Bill Clinton versus Newt Gingrich (and he was a Newt supporter):

"At least Clinton has the sense to hide what he is."

Sometimes all we can hope for is decent judgement, if not decency.

Posts: 5277 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ender wiggin
Member
Member # 9

 - posted      Profile for ender wiggin   Email ender wiggin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think that if the photos would cause outrage than that is not a reason to withhold them: it is a reason to relase them. However it is a violation of human rights and public decency to release pornographic pictures. But what is in those pictures should be made known... and not in a document thousands of pages long.

Does anyone else think that this whole thing is a misscarriage of justice? I'm sorry, but a show trial of Lynndie England and some of her associates doesn't even come close to addressing the henious crimes commited.

So a couple of low-level NCOs and soldiers get charged- as they should be. Where are the trials of the officers? Are we really supposed to believe that no one up the chain of command knew what was happening: and even then it is still a case of gross negligence.

This tells me again (as if I didn't already know) that sh** rolls downhill and the high command will never be held responsible for thier actions.

Posts: 971 | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Drake
Member
Member # 2128

 - posted      Profile for The Drake   Email The Drake   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hard to believe that none of the NCOs would name an officer to save their skin, if it really went higher.
Posts: 7707 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kenmeer livermaile
Member
Member # 2243

 - posted      Profile for kenmeer livermaile   Email kenmeer livermaile       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"Hard to believe that none of the NCOs would name an officer to save their skin, if it really went higher."

Climbing up monkey bar rungs to drag a bigger primate down is very risky business. Like Obie-Wan said to the grown Annakin just seconds before Annakin took the action that would physically transfrom him into the Darth Vader we all know and love to hate:

"You can't win. I hold the higher ground."

Most NCOs would prefer, I believe, to get on with their lives after war is over rather than get hacked off at the knees and left to slide into boiling lava.

Poor dumb Annakin. A bit too high-strung to survive the hideous murder by the Siths of his mother by virgin birth.

"Your destiny, young Jedi, is to BE the dummy absolutely, curcially necessary for the resolution of this story, which requires for you to be a bumbling ass just when all reason indicates that you could save the Republic, Padme, yourself, and your fellow Jedis by just using your head for 30 seconds instead of those atrocious acting lessons Grand Master Lucas included in your Jedi training."

As a citizen with no military experience, watching ANnakin dupe himself is one thing. Imagine, though, watching this as a member of our Armed Forces, having undergone intense Jedi training and sworn oneself to a higher code than mere civilians. And then place yourself betweenthe Senate Leader, de facto Commander-in-Chief, and a bunch of arrogant COs who regularly show their contempt of both your inferior wisdom and greater inheritance of the Force.

I suspect there're a lot of young Annakins in Iraq and Afghanistan US POW prisons who are trying to figure out which side of the Armed Force they're on...

Posts: 23297 | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kenmeer livermaile
Member
Member # 2243

 - posted      Profile for kenmeer livermaile   Email kenmeer livermaile       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"Anyone else got strong feelings on the correct course of action?"

Truth is its own virtue.

Show 'em. We can afford to kill a few ten thousand people but can't afford to risk showing ourselves the dirt underneath the carpet of the killing floor? Don't make sense, Kemo Sabi.

Human beings, we are: inconsistent, wavering, just plain nuts. But we do try, don't we?

Posts: 23297 | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Drake
Member
Member # 2128

 - posted      Profile for The Drake   Email The Drake   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
Most NCOs would prefer, I believe, to get on with their lives after war is over rather than...

I don't disagree, but what about the NCOs set to do hard time? I know there has been some very vague testimony about "softening" up prisoners. But I've seen nothing that reads like "That's when my CO told me to strip all my prisoners and stack them in a big pile."

Apologies for not looking up the actual testimony, but it is late...

Posts: 7707 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sancselfieme
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Under both the statist and cosmopolitan schools of thought, by engaging in this behavior the Bush admin. has forfeited its right to govern the US.

[ May 31, 2005, 05:43 AM: Message edited by: Sancselfieme ]

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sanc - Under the realities of legitimacy, the Bush admin has retained the ability to govern the US. Those two schools of thought will just have to revise their moralistic underpinnings.
Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just want to say, kenmeer, that I found your Star Wars allegory compellingly quirky. [Smile]
Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Koner
Member
Member # 1390

 - posted      Profile for Koner   Email Koner       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
The correct course of action would have been to condemn Administration policies that encouraged the torture of innocent Iraqis.
If the "administrations" policy is in fact to torture innocents I would completely agree with you. I think you would actually have a very difficult time if you are going to try to convince the American people that soldiers and marines are actually guilty of torturing innocents. Those who were photographed being abused (call it torture if you must but what the photographs show is a far cry from the types of torture that has been used against Americans) were NOT innocents. Let me remind you that each and every one of those in those photographs were in fact prisoners at Abu Ghraib PRISON. The fact that they were in prison tells me straight away that they weren't as innocent as you would like to have the world believe.
Posts: 754 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DonaldD
Member
Member # 1052

 - posted      Profile for DonaldD   Email DonaldD   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wow. What are trials for, anyway? If they're in prison, you know, following their arrest, they must be guilty.

Notwithstanding, for many people the operative word is "torture" not "innocent". This is partly why we like to at least pretend to wear the white hat...

Posts: 10751 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:

Let me remind you that each and every one of those in those photographs were in fact prisoners at Abu Ghraib PRISON. The fact that they were in prison tells me straight away that they weren't as innocent as you would like to have the world believe.

You've never been imprisoned, have you? [Smile]
Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Koner
Member
Member # 1390

 - posted      Profile for Koner   Email Koner       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually they are Prisoners of War. And last I knew POW's are not entitled to a trial.

I would agree completely that POW's should not be tortured or abused in any way. I would agree that those guilty of abusing or torturing them should be punished. I would agree that IF the administration was in fact directing the abuse to happen that it should be held accountable. But that is not at all the point that David Ricardo is making. He clearly wants you and everyone else to believe that these prisoners of war are in fact innocents. Its clear that he wants us all to believe that these were just average everyday Iraqis that were thrown into that prison for no reason whatsoever. Thats why he repeated that very word several tmes in the context that he did.

He makes these types of posts all the time. They all have the exact same theme. The current administration is evil and corrupt and they are the cause of all the worlds ills. That may very well be the case, I am still open to that possibility. I'm not in any way defending the administration because I just don't know if they did or didn't order the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. And here is the kicker, neither does David Ricardo. He has no proof at all. All he knows for sure is that he doesn't like the current administration, his reasons might be very valid, I sure don't like EVERYTHING that it has done. But he uses his hatred for them to charge them with all sorts of crimes which he can in no way prove. He has declared the administration guilty of crimes without offering them a trial. He hash done that again and again and again. But thats ok because the prisoners of war are afterall "innocents".

Posts: 754 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philnotfil
Member
Member # 1881

 - posted      Profile for philnotfil     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some of those prisoners of war are innocent. Definitely not all of them and probably not most of them, but there are prisoners being abused who are innocent. There are prisoners who have been beaten to death who were innocent.

Even the ones who aren't innocent should be getting better treatment than we have provided for them. We are the good guys for as long as we do what the good guys do. Right now we are the bad guys.

Posts: 3719 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Koner
Member
Member # 1390

 - posted      Profile for Koner   Email Koner       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Some of those prisoners of war are innocent. Definitely not all of them and probably not most of them, but there are prisoners being abused who are innocent. There are prisoners who have been beaten to death who were innocent.

Even the ones who aren't innocent should be getting better treatment than we have provided for them. We are the good guys for as long as we do what the good guys do. Right now we are the bad guys.

Prisoners of war really aren't GUILTY of anything other than being captured by the opposing force. Which is exactly why POW's should not be tortured or abused in any way. I am in complete agreement that POW's should not be tortured, and those caught doing so should be punished. You don't do to POWs in your custody what you would not want to have done to you if you were captured by your enemy. You know that whole "do unto others" thing.

But that is not at all the point that has been made in this thread.

Posts: 754 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
A. Alzabo
Member
Member # 1197

 - posted      Profile for A. Alzabo   Email A. Alzabo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Koner:
quote:
He clearly wants you and everyone else to believe that these prisoners of war are in fact innocents. Its clear that he wants us all to believe that these were just average everyday Iraqis that were thrown into that prison for no reason whatsoever. Thats why he repeated that very word several tmes in the context that he did.

Just to pick a nit: the concern is that many of the people at Abu Ghraib are/were innocent. Many inmates there were imprisoned for "everyday crimes." Worse, many people held there right after the fighting were picked up in "dragnets" or simply on the word of an "informant" who might turn someone over to the Americans after the target failed to pay extortion money, or to get a small bounty from the U.S. forces. So there is a fairly good chance that there were quite a few "innocents" imprisoned -- as opposed to Gitmo, where the chance is much lower because those folks were collected on battlefields.
Posts: 2519 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
javelin
Member
Member # 1284

 - posted      Profile for javelin   Email javelin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
Some of those prisoners of war are innocent. Definitely not all of them and probably not most of them, but there are prisoners being abused who are innocent. There are prisoners who have been beaten to death who were innocent.

Even the ones who aren't innocent should be getting better treatment than we have provided for them. We are the good guys for as long as we do what the good guys do. Right now we are the bad guys.

You sure of that? Why?
Posts: 8614 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
philnotfil
Member
Member # 1881

 - posted      Profile for philnotfil     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yes I am sure of that.

Some of the prisoners of war are innocent- the military has said that some of the people they have didn't do anything other than be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Definitely not all of them- Saddam Hussein is still a prisoner.
Probably not most of them- OK, so this one I'm not sure on, but I'm giving us the benefit of the doubt.
There are prisoners being abused who are innocent- the military admitted it.
There are prisoners who have been beaten to death who were innocent- the military admitted it. Actually they said that he died (an Afghanistani taxi driver) from natural causes, but they do admit that he was found dead with his hands handcuffed to the ceiling and his legs "pulpified."
The ones who aren't innocent should be getting better treatment than we have provided for them- we shouldn't be abusing prisoners, no matter what their legal standing is.
We are the good guys for as long as we do what the good guys do. Right now we are the bad guys- Because that is what my parents taught me.

So 6 out of the 7 points I am sure about.

Posts: 3719 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
javelin
Member
Member # 1284

 - posted      Profile for javelin   Email javelin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Okay, kewl - just wondering [Smile]
Posts: 8614 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
According to the Geneva Conventions, who is considered a protected "Prisoner of War"?

Oh yeah. Like, nobody in Abu Ghraib, saving those who really honestly have taken NO active part in hostilities (in which case they're protected by the Conventions as civilians).
Why?
quote:
Article 4
A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

1. Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

(c) That of carrying arms openly;

(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

3. Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

4. Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

5. Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

6. Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

B. The following shall likewise be treated as prisoners of war under the present Convention:

1. Persons belonging, or having belonged, to the armed forces of the occupied country, if the occupying Power considers it necessary by reason of such allegiance to intern them, even though it has originally liberated them while hostilities were going on outside the territory it occupies, in particular where such persons have made an unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the armed forces to which they belong and which are engaged in combat, or where they fail to comply with a summons made to them with a view to internment.

2. The persons belonging to one of the categories enumerated in the present Article, who have been received by neutral or non-belligerent Powers on their territory and whom these Powers are required to intern under international law, without prejudice to any more favourable treatment which these Powers may choose to give and with the exception of Articles 8, 10, 15, 30, fifth paragraph, 58-67, 92, 126 and, where diplomatic relations exist between the Parties to the conflict and the neutral or non-belligerent Power concerned, those Articles concerning the Protecting Power. Where such diplomatic relations exist, the Parties to a conflict on whom these persons depend shall be allowed to perform towards them the functions of a Protecting Power as provided in the present Convention, without prejudice to the functions which these Parties normally exercise in conformity with diplomatic and consular usage and treaties.

It's still abominable to treat *people* in the alleged manner, and it's exactly that monster that we used to be in the business of destroying. Remember the last few regimes that considered certain parties "subhuman"? Care to have the US compared to them in the history books?

[ May 31, 2005, 07:20 PM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Danzig
Member
Member # 1358

 - posted      Profile for Danzig         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Personally I would prefer the US to be contrasted, but that might just be me.
Posts: 495 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
everbody
New Member
Member # 2448

 - posted      Profile for everbody   Email everbody       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here's some questions no one has really asked.
Do you want our enemy to torture their POW's?
Do you want our enemy to classify their POW's as "enemy combatants"?
When the President's attorney has to write a memo rationalizing torture, something is wrong. And it stinks.
No amount of bickering and nitpicking is going to help our soldiers if they're captured by the enemy when we set an example like Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. They remember the President's boast that the torture rooms were gone.

Posts: 1 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Daruma28
Member
Member # 1388

 - posted      Profile for Daruma28   Email Daruma28   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
everbody, no one has asked those questions because they are patently ridiculous when applied to our current foes in this war.

Where is the precedent we set for beheading civilian contractors or muslim journalists form Al Jazeera?

Where is the precedent of American suicide bombers?

Our captured personnel have been raped, beaten, mistreated and executed...long before Abu Ghraib became public knowledge.

quote:
No amount of bickering and nitpicking is going to help our soldiers if they're captured by the enemy when we set an example like Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. They remember the President's boast that the torture rooms were gone.
Give me a break. These are just the rationalizations for criticizing the administration and the entire war by extension.

As if the islamic extremists were treating our people like loving guardians concerned with the health and welfare of captured infidels from the Great Satan...and only NOW that they know just how evil the Bush administration is will they reluctantly use torture and execution...you see, it's all SO perfect. Now we get to blame Bush for everything, including islamic extremists atrocities! [Roll Eyes]

Posts: 7543 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
everbody -
As for classifying their POWs as "enemy combatants," that has a lot to do with (outdated but extant) international law. In my opinion, the Geneva Conventions explicitly leave out protections for people who behave like many of the people we are imprisoning.

If you don't conform to the simple criteria in Article 4 of the Geneva Conventions, you're operating in a way the Geneva Conventions were not supposed to protect. It is an international crime to engage in combat irregularly unless you have simply not had enough time to organize with the rest of your unit. In any case, you usually must mark yourself as a soldier... not as a civilian.

If a signatory to the Conventions captured one of our uniformed, regular soldiers, however, they would be bound to treat him/her as a Prisoner of War, not an "enemy combatant." Those are two very different classes of fighters.

This doesn't require an act of Congress. We can treat anyone who fights but disguises themselves as a civilian however we want. The whole idea of this is to prevent innocent civilian casualties in combat; who is a soldier and who is not? The guy dressed in civilian clothes looks an awful lot like a guy dressed in civilian clothes with a Kalashnikov under his shawl. And how do we know who is responsible for the behavior of such a AK-47-wielding fighter if he doesn't mark himself? Who's responsible if this guy acts disorderly and acts particularly un-soldierly?

That's why you MUST mark yourself as a soldier with a clearly visible sign/badge. Other than that, you're screwed.

The real question here is, since we CAN treat these guys however we want once we've established that they are indeed party to hostilities rather than civilians... what's the most pragmatic way to treat them?
Is it good for our morale if our soldiers become wanton killers and animals? Is it good for unit discipline and cohesion? Hell no.
And can we expect better treatment for our soldiers if we respect certain limits in our dealings with captured fighters? Because let's face it, if our enemy is going to behead our soldiers regardless, they're not parties to international law anymore.

Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pelegius
Member
Member # 2399

 - posted      Profile for Pelegius     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Geneva Convintion is clear on this subject:
quote:
Article 1

The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.

Article 2

In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peace time, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.

Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.

I really don't see how it could be clearer. To deny the existence of international law, by deciding that it applies only when we want it to is such a profound violation of our obligation to the world that it makes me sick. If you can deny the benifits international law to those who you feel like denying them to, then you can start denying national law: "Murders are not entitled to counsal or trial, becouse the laws do not apply to those that break them. Everyone should go to the Gulag, obviously they commited crimes, or their countrymen did, so we have no obligation to treat them humanly. America is above international law."
Posts: 1644 | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
noah
Member
Member # 884

 - posted      Profile for noah   Email noah   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pelegius, while I am horrified by Abu Ghraib and think we should never treat people like that, regardless of international law, I do not think that the passage you quoted obliges us to do that. We only have to do that with other signatories or with people who, even though they didn't sign the treaty, respect its provisions. Not with amorphous terrorist groups with no real leader, and certainly not with people who behead prisioners.

With that said, I think the Geneva Convention should be something that the United States uses to ensure that its soldiers are treated well when they are captured. The Conventions should never be an issue for us, because we should voluntarily go above and beyond the usual standards in our treatment of prisioners, even if we are not required to do so.

Posts: 268 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
javelin
Member
Member # 1284

 - posted      Profile for javelin   Email javelin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pelegius, I already pointed out how those passages have exactly the opposite meaning of what you seem to think they mean.
Posts: 8614 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pelegius
Member
Member # 2399

 - posted      Profile for Pelegius     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
We only have to do that with other signatories or with people who, even though they didn't sign the treaty, respect its provisions.
I am going to repost the last paragraph from my previous qoute:
quote:
Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.
The treaty aplies to all armed conflicts in which a signaorie is involved, even if they don't call it war, even if the other party does not recognize it. The Convention always applies, so, anytime the U.S. violates it, they are commiting a crime.
Posts: 1644 | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1