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May 12, 2005

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Donald Rumsfeld has kept his job, and has not been held accountable in any way for his decisions.

I do love -- in a sick, burning way -- how Rumsfeld "accepted responsibility" for Abu Ghraib... which, apparently, meant precisely nothing beyond the soundbite.

I gather Rumsfeld did offer his resignation. If true, that's a sliver of responsibility. (He deserves to be tried as a war criminal, but of course this never happens to the winners.)

But George W. Bush thinks Rumsfeld is the best Secretary of Defense the US has ever had, remember? After all of the above.

He goes on to say:

    But anyway, in the paper today, it’s the lead story in the Times, 100 rebels killed in western Iraq. We're back in the body count, by the way. Sometimes we call them “insurgents” or “rebels,” that's a great word because -- I'm wacko on this word “insurgency.” Just so you know, an “insurgency” means, suggests you’ve won the war and there are people who disagree. They’re rebels or they're insurgents, as I said. No. We're still fighting the war we started, folks. We started a war largely against Sunnis and Ba'athists, in many cases tribal groups that supported Saddam or were at least frightened enough to support him. We started a war against the people we’re still fighting. They gave us Baghdad very quickly. They retreated. They simply are not fighting the war in the way and the manner we want them to, that our press, you know, wants to tell you they did, that the government wants to tell the press, wants to suggest that we won and that an insurgency broke out again.

that's odd, cause i swear i heard the guy on NPR say yesterday that the war had been over for two years.

Mission Accomplished

Extensive body tatooing and perhaps some radical piercing is in order for the President, and Rumsfeld, and the usual suspects. I would like to see one eyeball each tatooed with the letters W.M.D. and the other eyeball with some scenes from Abu Ghraib.

No blinking permitting.

that's odd, cause i swear i heard the guy on NPR say yesterday that the war had been over for two years.

The war will be over when the last American leaves Iraq, Kuwait and S.A or when the Oil runs out.

I have read of that story before.

Um.

Can someone explain again why pacifism is bad?

One could point out that the US public also flubbed its chance to take responsibility. We failed to fire the commander in chief of the military, the man most directly responsible for this first strike war, the man ultimately responsible for the torture and death of civilians and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. No wonder lower ranked personnel think they can get away with it. Why should Rumsfeld or the generals accept responsibility when we let Bush get off?

"One could point out that the US public also flubbed its chance to take responsibility."

One could also easily argue that the brave Americans who voted for Bush stood on principle against many naysayers and apologists around the world. And made the choice to do what is right versus turning a blind eye and doing what was easy.

I'm just saying... one could just as easily say that.

One could also easily argue that the brave Americans who voted for Bush stood on principle against many naysayers and apologists around the world.

but one would have to be a naysayer and apologist to do so.

"One could also easily argue that the brave Americans who voted for Bush stood on principle against many naysayers and apologists around the world."

One could. But then one would be arguing that the US public condoned and even approved of torture and murder of civilians. If we collectively approve Bush's policies then we also collectively bear the responsibility for the outcomes. Time for the UN to invade to restore civilization to the US?

123concrete: "One could also easily argue that the brave Americans who voted for Bush stood on principle against many naysayers and apologists around the world."

Would you be kind enough to say what you think opponents of the war are apologists for?

Time for the UN to invade to restore civilization to the US?

Why do you think there's the pressure there is behind getting Bolton in there? ;-)

The war is over? It has been obvious since the Sgrena incident that we don't even control Baghdad. (It was true before that, of course, but not as obvious.)

Do what is right? Apart from the moral failure, this will go down in history as one of the worst foreign policy mistakes ever.

What is right is first to admit when one is wrong, then to do something about it.

While one is saying these things, one could also say that the electronic voting machines did not return an accurate count.

Two more quotes from the interview with Gen. van Riper:

"When I see any of these individuals on the television -- Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Wolfowitz, Mr. Feith -- I literally cannot stand it. I have to turn the television off. I'm so embittered about what they've done to a fine military -- more importantly, what they've done to our nation. They've hurt our nation."

"The military has traditionally conservative values. The Republican Party more often than not represents those values, so I've been a lifelong Republican, but I could not vote for Mr. Bush if Mr. Rumsfeld and his team are still in office."

Possibly of interest: Jeanne d'Arc of Body & Soul is planning to site a website putting all of the allegations of torture into one accessible place, along with organizing tools for opposing it.

I'm moving 1/3 of the way across the country in about a week & have to study for the bar exam, apply for clerkships, all sorts of family obligations this summer, etc. But, IF I can find time for this, here's what I'm thinking should be the next step: making an excel spreadsheet of all the detainees who have allegedly been tortured or who are still being held & we don't know if they were abused: names (or ID#s or some way of identifying them as individuals if their names are not known), where they were imprisoned, date of capture, date of release/death, etc., links or cites to some source of information about them.

After this spreadsheet is complete or partially complete, we could start emailing it around to liberal bloggers (and conservatives, moderates and libertarians who would be receptive of course), and ask if they can volunteer to be assigned as few or as many prisoners as they like, and write a few paragraphs (accurately, w/ cites & links) summarizing what we know about their fate.

Then this information could be used to make an alphabetical directory of prisoners, which would be the heart of the anti-torture website.

The reason I like this idea is, I think a lot of people are really upset about this and want to do something, but they are sort of at a loss about what to do. I often feel that way. And, how many talented writers on various blogs have expressed that feeling since Abu Ghraib?

So this is something to do, that is really useful, quite specific, calls on skills that bloggers have, and can require as much or as little time commitment as you like.

I think there might be a really good response.

The Bush administration has implicated hundreds to thousands in war crimes and atrocities, who will never be publicly held to account, but will forever be in thrall to the people who hold the evidence. A generation of young Heritage kids who worked for the CPA. CIA and Army intelligence agents. Troops inadequately supervised and controlled. I worry about the ones with conscience who are damaged, but I worry more about those who thrived in the program and about the intended future applications of their recently acquired skills.

Katherine-

I'm not a blogger, but consider me a volunteer for the torture project you describe. If you need workers, email me.

Katherine, doesn't AI have such a db?

do they? they may well for internal purposes but I've not seen a public version and I've tooled around their site a fair bit. I could be wrong--post a link if you have one.

I know nothing - just suspecting. I would think people there know your work and would be happy to help the proposed project if asked.

This is such a sad story. There will be more stories like this one. On the bulletin board at our community clubhouse a letter is posted. It's from the son of our president ( neighborhood, not nation), currently stationed in Baghdad, and he wrote that the people of Iraq hate Americans, especially the soldiers. He wrote that he was afraid of dying because he didn't want his life to be wasted on a war we shouln't be fighting. I can't even image the bitterness of the loss of a son or daughter in an unnecessary war.

This is such a sad story. There will be more stories like this one. On the bulletin board at our community clubhouse a letter is posted. It's from the son of our president ( neighborhood, not nation), currently stationed in Baghdad, and he wrote that the people of Iraq hate Americans, especially the soldiers. He wrote that he was afraid of dying because he didn't want his life to be wasted on a war we shouln't be fighting. I can't even image the bitterness of the loss of a son or daughter in an unnecessary war.

just for grins this link points to an interview between the Talking Dog and Joshua Dratel, attorney for the Australian David Hicks, still held at Gitmo.

For those of us who care about notions of due process, the interview stands as a stunning indictment of the Gitmo detainee review process. I'm just appalled.

This link tells a brutal story about the willingness of insurgents to die for their country, so long as they can inflict casualties on the US.

what are we doing?

Sorry about the double post.

Extensive body tatooing and perhaps some radical piercing is in order for the President, and Rumsfeld, and the usual suspects.

If I were the kind to endorse the use of torture even for the most heinous war-criminal proven guilty beyond the shadow of any doubt whatsoever I would suggest as most appropriate the use of The Harrow, as described by Franz Kafka in his story "In the Penal Colony." The text I propose to be inscribed: the relevant violated articles of the Geneva Conventions. But I am not one to endorse the use of torture even in such circumstance. So I'll hold out some small hope, for justice, in the next life.

Barry Freed:

I always throw it out there and then I need to drag it back and explain it. But that's O.K.; I love ambiguity. (; or ;).

Torture is not what I have in mind. Clean needles should be used in this purely symbolic act of tatooing to insure no disease transmission occurs.

The eyes are the sensory organ closest to whereever in the brain the conscience is seated, or at least there may be one nerve filament waggling its little message to the conscience in most brains. Should this be true of Bush and company, I figure a permanent text message on the eye might do the job. I admit the no blinking stricture would be tortuous over time.

For those with the usual objections, my punishment for Osama Bin Laden has to with bombs and caves and big explosions, all of it non-symbolic.

Tying guys to chairs and doing things to them in Iraq and Guantanamo? American exceptionalism, even for those who believed it in the first place, has disappeared with the pages of the Quran down the vortex (Nabokov) of the toilet.

The Kafka reference is fine.

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