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August 03, 2005

Comments

why the f*ck have these stories not lost the capacity to surprise me?

hilzoy--

yeah, I read this a half hour ago and was thinking you should put up a post about it. Thanks.

Deeply sickening. This is the sort of stuff where I used to be able to say "America just doesn't do that sort of thing." You find yourself getting harangued in some foreign country, in some foreign language, by some America-hater who has had a few too many. And I used to be able to say to them: yeah, but there are some things America just doesn't do.

The Rove/Bush/DeLay gang simply don't care how much damage they do to America--they value nothing above power and money. They have lost their immortal souls, and are bent on making sure that America loses its soul, too.

We'll just have to stop them. OH-02 shows we are making progress; people are getting fed up with the lies and the destruction of American values. Bush's ratings are at all-time lows; a majority now understands that the Iraq war was a mistake and a diversion, based on lies. The entire coup is going to come tumbling down, and we will find our way back to sanity once again.

oh--and you didn't even quote what was in one sense the most sickening part of it:

"The U.S. military initially told reporters that Mowhoush had been captured during a raid. In reality, he had walked into the Forward Operating Base "Tiger" in Qaim on Nov. 10, 2003, hoping to speak with U.S. commanders to secure the release of his sons, who had been arrested in raids 11 days earlier."

This guy was a walk-in, early on in the insurgency--someone who came voluntarily to talk with the U.S. forces. And instead of turning this into an opportunity to turn an important figure over to our side, they begin torturing him, in full view of his countrymen, and eventually beat him to death.

This was clearly a mistake from the standpoint of fighting a popular insurgency: you have discouraged any further walk-ins, and you have sent the message far and wide that any dealings the Americans, even negotiations, will get you tortured and killed.

But Bush had to have his torture, no matter what it costs the country. Still does--he would rather leave the soldiers unfunded than allow the appropriations bill to go up for a vote with the McCain-Graham language in it.

I mean, I'm an atheist, right? But the sheer impiety of these people, their utter contempt for any value higher than political advantage, their disregard for any higher ideals--this convicts them of the deepest, most profound nihilism. They don't believe in Christianity, they don't value human life, and they don't uphold American values. All they worship is their own power.

Related:

CIA officials used a sledgehammer handle to beat various prisoners in Iraq, and one official, whose name is classified, would often brag about his abuse of prisoners, according to testimony in a closed session of a military hearing....

In the March hearing, Sgt. 1st Class Gerold Pratt of the Utah National Guard said he saw classified personnel use a 15-inch wooden sledgehammer handle to hit prisoners.

"They'd ask you a question, and if they didn't like it, they'd hit you," he said.

"With Chief Welshofer, he'd at least give the detainee a chance to tell the truth," testified Pratt, who was running logistics at the detention facility near Qaim dubbed the Blacksmith Hotel.



Also related.


This is the same story that I blogged about a week ago, by the way. Nice to see the Post and ObWings catching up, but there's a way you could actually not have to wait for me to post a link here. :-)

They left out the part about the sledgehammer handle, though. (Linking to the full version of the WashPo would save people having to do the extra click themselves, by the way, but perhaps you want people to see the other links on the page?)

Ah, I see Katherine is linking to what I wrote about last week.

don't take it personally, I was in bar exam heck last week & then skipped town.

the cia sponsored paramilitaries thing I find especially upsetting, given some of the other gruesome stories about the interrogation techniques by iraqi paramilitaries.

I'm also somewhat startled that no one here thinks the Scorpion squads of "Iraqi paramilitary" were worth mentioning, let alone noting it in context of Ambassador John Negroponte's history.

Katherine: why the f*ck have these stories not lost the capacity to surprise me?

They lost the capacity to surprise me some time ago, particularly when it's old news.

I remember reading about this guy quite some time ago (unless it was another, very similar case): an Iraqi officer who gave himself up because the Americans had taken his sons hostage, and was then killed.

I mean, all due respect to Tad, but we know that American soldiers are doing this kind of thing, and worse, and have, for the most part, been promoted or rewarded for it. As far as I know, no American has been prosecuted for the crime of hostage-taking, and yet that too is against the laws of war.

Ah, didn't see Katherine's last comment before my subsequent comment.

"don't take it personally, I was in bar exam heck last week & then skipped town."

I don't, although I confess that I do sometimes feel discouraged feeling like no one here (not to mention other places, but that's not relevant here) bothers to read me unless I come over and directly post a link. The whole point of blogging is to get other people to read what one is writing about, after all. Not that I expect everyone to catch everything (or anything) I say, of course; it's just frustrating, at times, to put in so much effort for so little apparent effect.

But not always. And I'm hardly the only blogger who feels that way at times, I kinda think. :-) (Okay, except for those with Big Regular Readerships, I guess.)

Hope the bar exam went great, of course, Katherine. And that the getting out of town was some relief.

No, when you beat someone to interrogate them, when they die that isn't an 'accident'.

I thought I'd lost the capacity for shock, too, but this one was a blow: Brits ask US to interrogate the ghost prisoners the CIA is holding about London bombings. Has a distinct air of "Do it to Julia!", given that what they should be doing is denouncing our holding detainees away from Red Cross or any other access.

Jeanne at Body and Soul goes to the heart of the issue of torturing ghost prisoners ("high value detainees").

We're not to call the US's global network of prison ships and hellholes a gulag, yet it needs to be named. To the extent that the reality is unsayable, it works in favor of those who maintain and rule the horror pits.

We're not to call the US's global network of prison ships and hellholes a gulag, yet it needs to be named.

Azkaban.

We're not to call the US's global network of prison ships and hellholes a gulag, yet it needs to be named.

Hotel Freedom

We're not to call the US's global network of prison ships and hellholes a gulag, yet it needs to be named.

Let's try. I'll start.

"Free Speech Zones"

"Lairs of Liberty"

"American Friends Abroad Confessionals"

Lubyanka.

I'm not an expert on the obviously messy jurisdictional issues here, but can't a US Attorney somewhere launch an investigation into this? I assume that when it comes to military personnel that they probably have limited ability for such a thing, but what about the CIA? They're not military and I would think fair game.

And the US Attorneys I think are more independent than the regular DOJ attorneys and therefore more capable of acting independently.

And note that US officials initially told the press that he was captured in a raid, and initially said he had died in US custody after "complaining of being sick." F**kers.

If you all haven't read enough horrifying things this morning I'd advise you to read Cindy Sheehan's top Recommended Diary at Kos this morning. It's enough to make you cry.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/8/3/42434/29626

But I thought that all this stuff was just being made up by jihadis as required by Richard Scarry's Big Little Al Qaeda Training Manual? It's not? Oh, bother. Now I don't know who to believe.

Lederman

Didn't notice anybody post the Marty Lederman analysis yet.

I am, as may have been noticed, beyond reason on this stuff. There was a feminist line in the 70s:"I'll be reasonable when you get your foot off my neck." McCain/Graham simply saying "Don't do this no more please!" is a predictable response.

And as I have said, there is a pattern of behavior going back to the Palmer raids that is not shared by the American left.

Enablers abound.

Officials in Baghdad wrote an e-mail to interrogators in the field on Aug. 14, 2003, stating that the "gloves are coming off"

If these officials are acting without DoD authority, why aren't they being fired? I'm so sick of the "bad apple's" excuse when it's clear now that despite what they say to our faces that the Bush administration does indeed support torture. When can we add them to the list of tyrants we're morally obligated to fight against?

The name of the "gulag" is Intelligent Design".

The program was created by a "Creator", who resides in the White House. It is irreducibly complex, not open to question and should be taught alongside whatever cranky liberal no-torture theories are taught in our Nation's schools. What, is Rush Limbaugh going to tell us: this program of murder just "evolved"?

I am for personal responsibility, too.

There must be impeachment and prison. No pardons.

I'd also recommend this amazing retelling of the "war on terror" by Juan Cole for anyone who hasn't read it yet.

This story is old. But hopefully it will get more play. If every terrorist and insurgent could only believe that this might be there fate. It would be so nice to truly take the gloves off and fight this war. Instead our images is one of a country whiners.

Jesurgislac:

...but we know that American soldiers are doing this kind of thing, and worse, and have, for the most part, been promoted or rewarded for it

Hilzoy:


This is, in my view, completely out of line. And much as (in general) I value Jes's comments, I have banned her, subject (of course) to appeal, my being outvoted by the hive mind, and so on.

Unfortunately the posting suggestions aren't really enforced and we have to listen to someone like Jesurgislac bad mouth our troops to protect the freedom of people like her from Islamic radicals who would surely silence her.

So it’s gloves back on, white ones that is as we serve tea and crumpets to captured terrorists and ask them real nicely what it is exactly the evil imperialists need to do so everyone can just get along.

nice troll, glenn

Unfortunately the posting suggestions aren't really enforced and we have to listen to someone like Jesurgislac bad mouth our troops to protect the freedom of people like her from Islamic radicals who would surely silence her.

The person the US murdered while in captivity was an Iraqi military officer, not an Islamic radical. He's parallel in everyway to a US major who would fight an occupying force that invaded the US until his dying breath. Read the freakin' story if you're gonna pontificate so.

Sulla,

read the story...PLEASE!

This prisoner was "Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush." How you leap from that to "we serve tea and crumpets to captured terrorists" is part of the reason Bush et al. get away with this crap.

Glenn: the comment rules are enforced, at least as best we can, and subject to judgment. When someone just slips, as SCMT did last night, we remind them -- it would be nuts to ban someone for this, especially when their immediate response is to apologize. When it's a violation of civility but hasn't yet revealed itself as an ongoing, unstoppable pattern and/or something that's just unacceptable, pattern or no, we send a shot across the bow, and try to convince the person to play by the rules. Banning is a last resort. I did ban Jes, but I suspect she is working off a different computer and didn;t see it. That issue has been rectified, though.

"... to protect the freedom of people like her from Islamic radicals who would surely silence her"

I love formulations like this. Jes breaks posting rules from time to time because she's ticked off that posting rules in the world at large are being broken.

Implicit in these formulations is the idea that when the troops come home some day, having vanquished the Islamic radicals, they will join with the tough guy keyboarders on the home front, and take care of folks like Jes, too.

"Silence" is the goal of lots of people.

Sulla:

Are your posts ALL said in a mincing voice?

If only I weren't trapped in the reality-based community, I could understand that an officer in the enemy army is the same as a terrorist and that not beating people to death is the same as serving them tea and crumpets. I could also, like Glenn, see that being the "good guys" is about wearing the right color of uniform and has nothing at all to do with what we believe in or how we act. Unfortunately, true Bushian enlightenment eludes me.

"...but we know that American soldiers are doing this kind of thing, and worse, and have, for the most part, been promoted or rewarded for it"

hilzoy: I'm probably going to only get banned myself, but I have to ask you why this comment got jes banned. Is it untrue and therefore slander? Illegal (ie are there laws in the US against saying things that might undermine troop morale)? Is it because she's criticizing the troops--most of whom have probably never done anything worse than made a rude comment to an Iraqi now and again-- rather than the specific leaders who encourage this behavior or the particular people who enacted it? I apologize if I'm probing a sore point and will accept banning if you think my comment warrents it, but I am truly puzzled and would appreciate it if you would explain the rule to me.

I’m not saying it’s right Edward but let us not pretend stories like this are part of a metaphysical search for justice. They are as equally exploited by those with an axe to grind against the President as they are dismissed by his supporters. There is plenty of room for everyone on the pulpit regarding this.

JT- yeah, so?

I'm sure they didn't want him to die, but I'm equally sure that when someone dies after a series of brutal beatings, it's not just an unfortunate accident.

I'm not even sure of the wanting part. At best it seems to be indifference; the fact that they beat someone to death in only three days indicates that they didn't really think there was important information to be had and could afford to be careless.

Dianne, in another thread, Jesurgislac claimed twice that Sebastian Holsclaw "opposed democracy and supported terrorism." I'm pretty sure that's what the banning was for.

Sulla:

I’m not saying it’s right

...but you're not exactly falling all over yourself to say it's wrong, either.

and notably:

They are as equally exploited by those with an axe to grind against the President as they are dismissed by his supporters.

is a lovely moral-relativist formulation. You might want to consider that beating prisoners of war to death has implications larger than domestic politics, hmm?

Dammit, I closed that tag!

Sulla,

I think your concern about how stories like this can be manipulated to beat up on folks who don't deserve it would reach a wider audience if you had stopped to condemn the actions described first.

Your first comment suggests quite clearly that this Iraqi officer deserved to be beaten to death because he was a terrorist. I see nothing to support either of those. He was being uncooperative. Perhaps the US had reason to believe the information they were sure he had would save lives, but the experts agree torture does not work, so really, truly, WTF?

Are your posts ALL said in a mincing voice?

Mincing? They sound more warbly to me. Anyway, I'm more curious--well, mildly curious--why our Sulla chose the name of a homicidal Roman emperor as his nome de blog. If it refers to extracurricular interests, then I see why he thinks anything less than murder is "tea and crumpets."

Edward, as horrible as it may sound because torture doesn’t work is the only reason I’m against it.

Dianne, although it appears that Glenn would like Jes banned for it, that comment isn't the one that caused her banning. It was one insulting Sebastian in another thread.

It’s a roman thing Paul because the first blog I ever posted on was Tacitus and I hoped to generate attention for the late Republic. But by all means if you would rather bash me as homicidal fell free to do so, I have thick skin.

Edward, as horrible as it may sound because torture doesn’t work is the only reason I’m against it.

that's honest. thanks.

but would your be for it, if it worked, in all cases? or would you suggest guidelines for its use?

meaning, specifically, would you support other states torturing US captives for information in any circumstance?

Thanks for the Cole link, Edward. Of course he manages three sort-of-aposite paragrapsh against Israel without mentioning the context of Palestinian terrorism. There's actually a good case to be made that the Israelis screwed up the nationalism/religionism equation just like Reagan by trying to balance Hamas against the PA, but he skips it - when he's in one of his light moods, as here, he can mention civilian casualties, and Jews, but not both in the same paragraph.

Well, at least Sulla didn't pick Pompey (adulescentulus carnifex).

That said, Sulla, is it really that impossible for you to ever say "this was a crime, it sucks, let's nail whoever's responsible"?

If you were a German in 1945, would your reaction to the news about Auschwitz be to warn against its use as anti-German propaganda? At what point do you become an apologist for these deeds?

And as for white gloves, I fail to see what purpose is achieved by doing to anybody, even Osama, what was done to this man. Murder is not an interrogation technique.

I hoped to generate attention for the late Republic

Indeed. The late Republic needs all the attention it can get. Carry on.

A fellow blogger and his interpreter get murdered in Iraq.

We get a post about an old case of an unfortunate abuse during a time of war.

Oh the humanity!

Well atleast our priorities are clear.

it's definitely a creative effort on Cole's part rilkefan (I almost wrote "I'd also recommend this amazing spin of the "war on terror" " in the first mention of it)

I think you can make a case for a description without discussing the victims though. Understanding that terrorism claims innocents lives makes it unforgivable, but it doesn't explain how the groups committing the crimes came to be so powerful.

I think that's the central value of Cole's post...it outlines the age old guide for figuring out who to blame: "follow the money."

The rest of the "money trail" is given context though - why Reagan supported the Muj, why we had bases in SA, etc. Cole suddenly swerves from the US narrative to get in his digs against Israel when he could as well represent his view without setting off my alarm system by writing, "During this time US support for Israel and the continuing Israel-PA conflict was a source of growing anger and radicalization in the region."

"They are as equally exploited by those with an axe to grind against the President"

I oppose Bush's torture policies on many grounds, including a simple fastidiousness about the public display of crude intelligence functions. It is not simply a genetic phobia of elephants, or disgust at gentlemen who say "nukular".

There is at worst a paranoid intuition, and ar best a reasoned analysis that SS privatization and class-based tax differentials, anti-choice maneuvers, and the approval or tolerance of torture are connected. Perhaps in a lack of empathy and xenophobia? An authoritarianism? Certainly not everyone who identifies with one part of the agenda identifies with it all, but goshdarnit, my schizophrenia was supposed to diminish with age, but the externalities seem to persist. I see patterns.

setting off my alarm system by writing, "During this time US support for Israel and the continuing Israel-PA conflict was a source of growing anger and radicalization in the region."

It's a true statement, what's your problem with it, other than knee-jerk support for the rogue state of Israel?

Well, gee, I guess we could read all about it on your blog, Glenn.

Oh, wait. You don't have one. You just come to other people's blogs and complain about what they aren't writing.

You know, you can set up your own for free. And have whatever comment policy you want. Maybe you should go do that?

Glenn:

We get a post about an old case of an unfortunate abuse during a time of war.

What war? What are you talking about? I saw the President standing on that aircraft carrier with the big mission accomplished sign, it was on CNN and all the other channels in like May 2003, obviously the war was over. Since the war is over, why are we beating the opposing generals to death in sleeping bags?

Cole suddenly swerves from the US narrative to get in his digs against Israel when he could as well represent his view without setting off my alarm system

It's not the most balanced telling of the story, I agree.

Again, though, that part of the Israel part of the story he's omitting regards the victims of terrorism. He's left that out throughout in all cases.

"were a source". I'm screwing up "a and b were a c" a lot lately.

felix, maybe it's even true, but if so it's true in the sense that "Black men rape n white women per year" is true.

Anyway, back to the sledgehammers. (Well, the handles thereof. It's so interesting that they couldn't bring themselves to use sledgehammers, which would have made the story as viral as the woodchipper story.)

Again with the Mission Accomplished nonsense. You know, there are many good points to be made regarding this war; this is not only not one of them, it's not even a point. Ask yourself: whose mission? Then try not to smack yourself on the forehead too hard when the answer comes to you. If it ever does.

And people, you be fairly vicious and nasty without overtly breaking the posting rules. I am sorry to see Jes get banned. Very sorry.

If, as I do, you view Sulla as one of millions, you can avoid the personal. It is also a mistake to personalize these flaws, sins, and crimes, for the ones closer to your side can say it is just Sulla or Trevino or Bird instead of their own friends and neighbors. And it is the Edwards and Katherines and hilzoys who need be radicalized in order for change to happen. You are not going to grasp the impervious and implacable, so reach a little closer.

Phil and KC: Thanks, that makes a lot more sense. I'm also glad to know that criticizing the US military is not grounds for being banned.

I am sorry to see Jes get banned. Very sorry.

Me, too, believe it or not.

I'm also glad to know that criticizing the US military is not grounds for being banned.

If that were the case, the banned list would have people outnumbering spambots two or three to one, instead of it being ten or twenty to one the other way.

Is banning indefinite? Tacitus returned, for ex.

I would respectfully suggest that the Higher Powers consider banning for set periods (15 days, 30 days, something like that), in the hopes that the cooling-off period will have a good effect.

Bush's base loves this kind of stuff...this is why it happens...this isn't just about the right-wing elite, but this is about their base...who think these are the actions of rightious men defending our freedoms.

Stop blaming Bush...start blaming The Base...because he does this for them.

Again with the Mission Accomplished nonsense.

Just taking the President at his word...In any event, it was stupid point in response to the comment about "abuse in a time of war."

Ask yourself: whose mission?

while standing under that banner, Bush did say "major combat operations in Iraq have ended". maybe he was talking about the "major combat operations" for a very specific group of sailors and he just didn't clarify that in front of his nationwide audience. or maybe he meant "major combat operations" were in their last throes, or on the run, or turning a corner, or some other such nonsense.

Slart -
Agreed that the "Mission Accomplished" reed is a frail one, indeed, and carries far more heat than light. But I think it must at least be admitted that the presentation on the carrier was intended not only for the returning sailors, whose mission was, indeed, accomplished, but to the nation as a whole, via the national media coverage the WH made sure the event received. The reason the incident is weak for the purpose that Ugh puts it to is that beating politicians of any stripe over the head for demagoguery is like cursing pigeons for s**tting on your head.

Edward- “meaning, specifically, would you support other states torturing US captives for information in any circumstance?”- no and I’m not saying killing members of the Iraqi military will in any way will lead to the capture of OBL or end the beheadings in Iraq. I was countering what I felt are outrageous statements that pin the guilt of this on the administration with an equally outrageous statement. From my experience in the military things like this happen when the NCOs don’t enforce discipline.

Anderson- “That said, Sulla, is it really that impossible for you to ever say "this was a crime, it sucks, let's nail whoever's responsible"?”- no, but I think the punishment for this stays at a much lower level than most others around here believe.

Paul- “Indeed. The late Republic needs all the attention it can get. Carry on.”- Yeah, it is good to raise awareness of demagogues who exploit the resentments of the have-nots against the haves to serve their own cynical ends.

I would respectfully suggest that the Higher Powers consider banning for set periods (15 days, 30 days, something like that), in the hopes that the cooling-off period will have a good effect.
ditto.

I hope Jes returns.

banning only is for real for those on the left. Why just this week I saw 'he who must not be named' reprimanded yet again for posting violations, and he was just un-banned recently.. no special favors here! and by the way, Jes and I were the recipients of the original banning, not that it matters or anything.

Yeah, it is good to raise awareness of demagogues who exploit the resentments of the have-nots against the haves to serve their own cynical ends.

I didn't realize you'd chosen the handle as a criticism of Karl Rove, Sulla. Well done.

by the way votermom, if you want to see Jes, she Main Page posts at Liberalstreetfighter.com, we know talent when we see it!

"Ask yourself: whose mission? Then try not to smack yourself on the forehead too hard when the answer comes to you. If it ever does."

Slart, to try to get you to actually commit to a declarative statement, are you trying to say that the President flew to the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on May 1st, 2003, simply to congratulate the crew for having completed their mission, and that this was what he was communicating, and solely intending to communicate, to the nation when he spoke under the "Mission Accomplished" banner? That might be difficult to sustain.

"Nineteen months ago I pledged that the terrorists would not escape the patient justice of the United States. And as of tonight nearly one half of Al Qaida's senior operatives have been captured or killed."

And, indeed, Osama bin Laden has been brought, dead or alive, to justice, as the President solemnly pledged to the nation.

Oh, wait, he's "not that concerned."

"Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger to the civilized world and will be confronted."

Good job on Iran and North Korea.

"The war on terror is not over, yet it is not endless. We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide."

But now the war is over, replaced by the "global struggle against violent extremism."

"And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country."

That was two years and three months ago. It's not going as well as we had hoped.

But, bottom line, saying that this was simply about Bush saying that the Lincoln's mission was accomplished simply isn't true (which may not have been what you said; in your typical cryptic fashion, I don't know what it was you were trying to say. So what was your point?

Uh oh. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Flee! I must flee!

no, but I think the punishment for this stays at a much lower level than most others around here believe.

There was a unit of Iraqi paramilitary at the prison, whose functions included being the highest tier of interrogation, and served the purpose of scaring other prisoners by their presence. How are those farther up the chain of command not aware of this?

Dianne et al: criticizing the military absolutely does not get you banned. Saying that Seb supports terrorism and opposes democracy does. I'm in favor of temp banning myself.

hilzoy: Thanks. Phil and KC explained the context to me, but I'm glad to get confirmation from you.

And since criticizing the military isn't a bannable offense, perhaps I can ask how these US-military trained and supported paramilitaries are different from terrorists?

The intellectual and cultural descendants of the American lynch mobs are running this country and this “war”/struggle/jihad or what ever the PR firms are calling it now.

The only folks, who seem surprised by the depravity our government is practicing in Iraq, are American “moderates”.

Gary, you disagreeing with the content of Bush's speech doesn't in any way change who the speech was given to.

Probably you missed this bit:

After service in the Afghan and Iraqi theaters of war, after 100,000 miles on the longest carrier deployment in recent history, you are homeward bound.

Some of you will see new family members for the first time; 150 babies were born while their fathers were on the Lincoln. Your families are proud of you, and your nation will welcome you.

Yes, that's clearly directed to the nation as a whole, isn't it?

Slart, to try to get you to actually commit to a declarative statement

It seems that you took my point exactly as I intended it to be taken, Gary. Are you pretending to be confused by it?

Everyone should read everything Lederman's written on the torture scandal, more or less. No one's better at connecting the dots.

The Salt Lake Tribune has a lot of stuff on this case today, focusing on the Utah National Guard Sergeant who blew the whistle. Note the PDF links to government documents in the sidebar.

"Gary, you disagreeing with the content of Bush's speech doesn't in any way change who the speech was given to."

Sure, the nation on live tv; that was the entire point of the speech, right? He didn't go out there to address the crew privately, right? They turned the bloody ship around so the visuals would look best on tv, remember?

"Yes, that's clearly directed to the nation as a whole, isn't it?"

It's completely besides the point that when you're making a live speech on tv, and have chosen a specific setting and audience, that you devote a few words to your audience, so you don't look completely weird.

Are you seriously asserting that the speech was for the crew, not the nation? Are you kidding? What, someone snuck the cameras into a private ceremony? They were just incidental?

Are you kidding?

I think he is saying that the Mission Accomplished concept was certianly not meant to suggest that the entire War on Terror was done, and that in retrospect the defeat of the Iraqi Army did not represent the end of the Iraqi conflict. (Or at least that is what I would be saying). :)

And of course, presidents routinely give addresses to thousands of people without the press being there.

Are you kidding me, Gary?

Are you seriously asserting that the speech was for the crew, not the nation? Are you kidding? What, someone snuck the cameras into a private ceremony? They were just incidental?

Ah, I missed the crew-not-the-nation suggestion. Obviously, one excludes the other. Are you kidding me?

Sulla:

Edward, as horrible as it may sound because torture doesn’t work is the only reason I’m against it.

Well, that explains why you have a soft spot for it since, with some good old fashioned American innovation, maybe someone can make it work.

Can't blamne people for trying, right?

This is a story written on Mowhoush's death shortly after it occurred:

A statement by the coalition in Baghdad said Major-General Abed Hamed Mowhoush, who was in the Republican Guard, was captured near the Syrian border on October 5. He fell ill yesterday morning during "an interview with US forces", and died.

"Mowhoush said he didn't feel well and subsequently lost consciousness," the statement said. "The soldier questioning him found no pulse and called for medical authorities. A surgeon responded within five minutes to continue advanced cardiac life support techniques, but they were ineffective." He was pronounced dead by a US military physician.

According to the on-site surgeon it appeared Gen Mowhoush had died of "natural causes", the military said, adding that his death was being investigated. He was one of 112 people arrested during an anti-insurgency sweep around Qaim, which is about a mile from the Syrian border. At the time the US military suggested he was funding anti-coalition activities.

Thanks very much, Katherine. I've been trying to follow your fine work on this, too. Please contact me by e-mail. Marty

And of course, presidents routinely give addresses to thousands of people without the press being there.

This one does. Haven't you been following those Social Security town hall meetings? :D

Yes, one of these things is a lot like the other, Phil.

It's a joke, Slart. You know, "ha ha?"

It's getting harder for me to tell anymore, Phil. But, sorry.

Slart, the event was created so that the President could address the nation. You're denying this?

"Mission Accomplished" referred to "major combat operations" having "concluded." You're saying this isn't so? You're saying that the President did not say this first thing out of his mouth?

Thank you. Thank you all very much.

Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.

This was not a live address to the nation on every network?

Sebastian said: "I think he is saying that the Mission Accomplished concept was certianly not meant to suggest that the entire War on Terror was done, and that in retrospect the defeat of the Iraqi Army did not represent the end of the Iraqi conflict.

Clearly your first clause is correct, since the President explicitly stated that, so it's not a revelation. However, I'm not following your second clause, and the President most clearly did state that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

Why anyone would try to argue this, I don't know.

"And of course, presidents routinely give addresses to thousands of people without the press being there."

Presidents do not regularly speak to the nation on live tv without the intention of speaking to the nation. Yes? No?

Presidents speak to huge groups without permitting tv cameras all the time. Yes? No?

So: your point?

I'm not trying to be argumentative here; I'm simply baffled that you'd contest or deny any of this. It's not even as if it's some sort of crucial issue. What's your point, Slart?

Are you saying major combat operations have NOT concluded, Gary? That we're still conducting heavy bombing missions and that we're still pursuing the Iraqi Army to and fro across the desert?

Crap. You're disappointing me.

Are you saying that "Mission Accomplished" was anything OTHER than the Navy's air support mission being concluded?

I'm not trying to be argumentative here

I give up, Gary. You are in fact being argumentative, here.

Slart, I don't understand why you are arguing about this. The Admin thought the war in Iraq was essentially over. As it turns out, they were wrong. They were wrong about a whole lot of things, and some of the mistakes were, in my view, inexcusable. This one, though, they had more than enough basis for: the Iraqi Army was done, the major cities had fallen, and the Hussein regime was utterly and totally ousted from all civil authority. The Pres can hardly be blamed for thinking he'd won it.

(I'm reminded of when Burgoyne took Ticonderoga in July 1777. When news reached London, George III is said to have danced about saying 'I've won, I've beaten the Americans' and the like. If those damned Americans had just played by the rules, the fall of this Gibralter of North America, and of the rebel capital a couple of months later, would have been the end.)

One tires of reading all the vast stretching of what the meaning of is is to get to a conclusion that whatever GWB has said must be the gospel truth. Equally tiresome is the strain to prove that nothing he says could possibly be true, but I hear a lot more of the former than of the latter. And you, Mr. S., are smart enough to engage in neither.

Slartibartfast--

You could avoid a lot of these problems if you would simply adopt ordinary declarative sentences. Instead, you spend all of your time being cryptic and allusive, so that your interlocutors have to do all the heavy lifting trying to figure out what you mean. And of course frequently you don't give them enough clues to get it right, so misunderstanding ensues, then charges of misrepresentation, then counter-charges, and down it goes.

As far as I can tell, your position is as follows:

The banner that read "Mission Accomplished", (whose placement was authorized by the WH) was intended to convey only the following message:

"The Navy's air support mission is concluded".

It had no other meaning.

Is that, finally, what you believe that "Mission Accomplished" meant? And if so, could you just say so, in straightforward declarative sentences?

Then we could finally get to the job of figuring out whether what you said is true or not, instead of spending all of our time simply trying to figure out what you said.

I know you don't intend to cause all this confusion, but as a frequent reader I often find it very hard to interpret your utterances--I don't mean that in a clever way, I just mean I can't figure out what in heavens name you have just written, or what you are trying to get at.

Are you saying that "Mission Accomplished" was anything OTHER than the Navy's air support mission being concluded?

Since I started this whole thing, in a snarky response to what I thought was a poor comment, I thought I might as well jump at this point and note that, IMO, the most reasonable conclusion to draw from Bush's landing on the aircraft carrier and giving a live speech televised nationally with a big "Mission Accomplished" sign in the background combined with his "major combat operations" statement is that he was most emphatically not talking about the Naval air support mission (and neither was the sign which, IIRC, was the idea of the sailors on board).

Last part of parenthetical should read "was not the idea of the sailors on board").

I asked: "What's your point, Slart?"

No response here.

"Are you saying major combat operations have NOT concluded, Gary?"

Yeah, I kinda think all the major operations announced in the news over the last couple of years kinda suggest that, as do the 1800-odd dead American soldiers. What do you call Operation Spear, Operation Scimitar, and so on? Is, in fact, Operation Iraqi Freedom over, or is it "minor"?

"Are you saying that "Mission Accomplished" was anything OTHER than the Navy's air support mission being concluded?"

Yes. I quoted the President. What's your support for declaring that it meant "the Navy's air support mission [has been] concluded"? Is that what the President said? What are you basing your apparent belief upon, precisely, with cite, please?

"I give up, Gary. You are in fact being argumentative, here."

I give up, too. Clearly, I have no point, and I'm imagining the whole thing. And when I ask you direct simple questions, such as "what's your point," you decline to answer. So I give up, too. Baffledly, though.

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