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October 03, 2006

Comments

A bit late, but:
If God had a blog He'd have bob on it.

Back when I was readiing tac.org, I always found luisalegria to be worth reading.

Gary, I'm using firefox with OS 10.4. The Page Source is at the bottom of the View menu, though I think you use Windows, so I'm not sure where it would be for the Windows version.

I'd suggest Terry Karney of the livejournal Pecunium, he's a military interrogator and he comments quite well on the pratical implications of the current laws.

He also does bitching posts on food...

Here a link to Terry's livejournal. I believe he's commented here on occasion, I do remember seeing his name.

Stinking Mac users.

preserve me from falling into the power of a psychiatric nurse like Stashiu!

Points for reading. Not so much for keeping an open mind as you did. What should I infer from this?
-He is full of BS?
-He was never there?
-His VRWC attitude influenced his opinion?

Help me out. Frankly I am shocked that there is so little interest in a first hand account.

Enjoy the echo chamber…

OCSteve: Points for reading. Not so much for keeping an open mind as you did.

Well, OCSteve, if you are ever locked up in a cage in a prison camp for four years, let me know if you are happy with the idea that a psychiatric nurse theoretically assigned to your care routinely addresses you by the number your captors have assigned to you, participates in force-feeding you, and takes for granted that any hostility you feel towards your captors is because you are an evil terrorist. From Stashiu's own account, he's unfit to be a psychiatric nurse in that kind of environment. (Admittedly, it would be a tough gig for any nurse: and I am prepared to bet that the US authorities soon get rid of any medical staff who feel an inappropriately professional sense of responsibility towards their patients.)

"Frankly I am shocked that there is so little interest in a first hand account."

What do you mean by that? Apparently Jes had enough interest to read at least some of the account.

Otherwise, have you done a survey of who here has and hasn't read the posts, and how interesting people found them? Or what are you talking about?

OCSteve -- It's an interesting piece. I'd have to give it more readings than I can afford, though, in order to decide where the apparent biases are coming from -- Patterico or Stashiou.

I'd love to hear what CharleyCarp thinks of Stashiou's account.

I must interupt to point out that this isn't normal comment spam, but truly paranoid schizophrenic lunatic spam. Quite the example, too.

Incidentally, OCSteve, here is my post on that article on Guantanamo that Patterico mentioned so frequently. Any comment?

Basically, I'm not sure what you expect me to say about Pattericio's interview. First of all, I'd have advised him to be a tad more concise in his intro, and a tad less melodramatic.

But setting aside the stylistic aspect, I didn't actually learn anything I didn't know, nor read anything that surprised me. It was mildly interesting, to be sure, and, of course, filtered through the beliefs of both interviewer and interviewee, just as we all filter.

But if you expect me to gasp in surprise, and argue, over the notion that some of the people in Guantanamo are bad people, or that many may be dangerous, and hostile to Americans, I'm afraid you'll have to be disappointed.

Neither, on the other hand, are the pieces evidence, or particularly indicative, of the notion that some innocents have or still are there, since the U.S. government has already admitted that. And some are likely what we might call "semi-innocents," which is to say, they may have been Taliban supporters, but not exactly people who were likely to be getting on a plane with a bomb. And others are yet in other categories, or mixes of categories, I would suspect.

Basically, anyone who thinks either that everyone detained there is an innocent shepherd, or the Worst Of The Worst, is an ignorant twit, acting out pre-determined ideology, rather than interested in what few clearly established facts are in the public record.

Clearly there is a mixed bag of people held there. Anyone want to argue with that?

Two cents:

Does anyone know who used to run Strange Doctrines? His blog is no longer up, but he used to catch and come up with some good stuff. I believe he was a lawyer in California, was in a band, and he knew a helluva lot about philosophy.

Apart from that, anyone who might balance the lefty skew would be great. Or...someone who is way out on either extreme, but otherwise sane.

Or...someone who is way out on either extreme, but otherwise sane.

That's the job of the commentors, you trying to get us replaced??

Some of us haven't read it because the site's down.

I skimmed one of them earlier today, and wasn't particularly surprised by the content. That the guy spends so much time with straw men -- garden hoses, for God's sake -- gives me some pause. Also everything that goes on there is classified, unless declassified. That goes for the nurse as well as for me -- maybe more for him, since he's dealing with patients.

I was also unimpressed wiuth the use of mental health categories and statistics. That someone is seriously mental ill, yet still in some kind of control, isn't really cause for celebration. The claim that 80% of prisoners fall into this category -- and only 20% healthy -- doesn't prove to me what Patterico and the nurse want it to prove. Maybe someone somewhere said all the prisoners are uncontrollably mentally ill. I know it wasn't me, or any of the lawyers for the prisoners.

I'll take another look and comment some more. I'm guessing he didn't find anyone who thought their human rights were being respected.

"Some of us haven't read it because the site's down."

Not at the moment, it isn't.

Patterico? Down for me. Maybe it's my computer, but the rest of the internet works fine.

Or was my antecedent unclear (again)?

OK, I read the second one (having read the third earlier). Another red flag for me was the attribution by the nurse that the prisoners' operative motive had been a wish to fight the United States. As applied to a Taliban private, this is silly: there was an ongoing civil war in Afghanistan long before we got involved, and it was not really related to AQ's anti-Western jihad. We weren't backing the Northern Alliance before September 11. People who were involved with the Taliban before then, even if they came from other countries to fight in the civil war, had other motives than war with the US. The nurse glides over it when he says people fought against the Coalition.

I couldn't help noticing that he seems to have seen exactly what he expected when he was first assigned. In this connection, the reference to Cuba is a real red flag to me too. Of course the prison is well protected, with a checkpoint on the road and all, but in the main part of the base, it's just like any other military facility that hasn't had any major work done for decades. You have to be channeling Jack Nicholson to feel the presence of all those Cubans on the other side of the wire.

He doesn't think they're innocent; that's not uncommon among military folks, ime. Ask a policeman how many people in jail awaiting trial are innocent. We don't decide not to have trials just because the cop says 'none.'

"I skimmed one of them earlier today, and wasn't particularly surprised by the content."

I shouldn't repeat myself, but as I said, I'm wondering what OCSteve is expecting us to be surprised by. Neither did it remotely support the other extremist case, that everyone there is a Master Terrorist.

I mean, I don't in the least differ -- just based on what I've read, obviously -- that:

There is a hardcore group of AQ there that will try to turn everything they can to their advantage.
But one can also cherry-pick for plenty of stuff that entirely undercuts the Steyn/Powerline/Malkin, etc., nutbar view.
Did they complain about how they just wanted a trial, and that sort of thing?

Some did and it makes sense. There were detainees with situational depression that was authentic, just as you can see situational depression in prisons.

Or:
The inpatient side housed detainees with mental illness, active suicidality which required suicide precautions, and occasionally someone who was so disruptive they couldn’t be managed on a regular block.
Or:
Some are truly ill and were taken advantage of because of it. For example, one routinely asked us for an explosive suicide vest so he could assassinate Osama Bin Laden or George Bush for us, whoever he could find first (he was completely serious).
Or:
I didn’t see any that I believe were totally innocent, although it wasn’t my call and it really didn’t matter to their care.

[...]

There were a few detainees there who weren’t actually fighting against the Coalition, but they were fighting their own government and would have been executed if we returned them there. Since we are not allowed to ship someone where we have reason to believe they would face torture or death, they are stuck at GTMO until we can find a country to accept them without killing them. But they were combatants of some sort.

I'm not quivering in my boots.

But so what? So it's easy to cherry-pick to support cases.

Presumably OCSteve will return and enlighten us at some point soon as to what the expected revelations are.

Let me ask directly, though: CharleyCarp, Katherine, would you say this is incorrect?

There is a hardcore group of AQ there that will try to turn everything they can to their advantage.

"Patterico? Down for me."

No, I just checked, and it's still there. And checked again. And just checked again.

But the internet's ways are unpredicatable. However, there's definitely not a problem with the site; between you and it, though, I couldn't say.

Gary, the obvious problem with a statement like that is you can't tell is he's talking about 6 people, or 60, or 260. Nor can you tell the difference, in his statement, between people who were in AQ on the outside, or who are running with AQ inside, just like they would any prison gang. Take a look at the NYT Magazine article on this, and watch Cool Hand Luke again.

In a prison culture, imuo, guilt or innocence is a lot less important than things like charisma and natural leadership.

Reflecting back on the nurse's comments, and their similarity to talking points from various senior military officers and the SecDef, it occurs to me that he's limited himself to the talking points mostly because he doesn't want to reveal classified information. I'll admit to having thought of and not written a lot of different responses here.

odd. It doesn't work on either browser for me.

It wouldn't surprise me at all for there to be a hardcore jihadist group. I don't know to what extent hardcore means high level (besides the 14 who were just transferred). The allegations in the CSRTs are so damn vague, and the evidence missing, so it's hard to rely on that, and so few have been charged....so I don't have much more knowledge about this than you. But it doesn't surprise me.

"Take a look at the NYT Magazine article on this, and watch Cool Hand Luke again."

Well, I think I covered it in my post on the article, which I linked to above (at 08:12 PM), and which you commented on, Charley. (That's okay; I wouldn't have necessarily remembered, either, if I'd not just looked at it again earlier today.)

I wrote:

You may have had little or nothing to do with al Qaeda before being sent to Guantánamo, but once you're there, whose side are you apt to be on?
So I think I grasp the point.

Katherine: "odd. It doesn't work on either browser for me."

Not particularly odd; nodes go down all the time; it's clear, whether in minutes, or an hour or five. (Y'know, the tubes get clogged.)

"I don't know to what extent hardcore means high level (besides the 14 who were just transferred)."

Sure; the two words aren't remotely synonymous. Intensity of dedication and level of authority in the organization prior to incarceration are orthogonal.

But, regardless, if there were a handful of medium-upper guys there (prior to the 14), that wouldn't speak at all to the other few hundred that have been run through.

"...it's clear, whether in minutes, or an hour or five. "

Sorry; that should have been "it will clear...."

I should have said, though, OCSteve, I agree with you that it's worth a front-page post.

On the other note, traffic over at Chez Olmsted has declined somewhat since I came over here, and commenting has pretty much dropped close to zero, so I think it's not unreasonable for someone to fear hurting their own site if they move over here too strongly.

I *have* tried various times to comment Andrew, but your blog software doesn't like my browser, or is people shy, or possesive... I don't know. All I know is that the comments do not get through and after a while I give up.

I have a hard time keeping up with any blogs, so I don't have any unknown bloggers that might do well as posters here. But I do remember thinking that LouisA. was a good contributor. Wrong, utterly wrong, but other than that a worthwile read :)

"I *have* tried various times to comment Andrew, but your blog software doesn't like my browser, or is people shy, or possesive... I don't know."

No, it's basically broken, and rejects comments 99% of the time, period.

Basically, if it doesn't like the comment the first time, the anti-spam filter locks and won't let you comment again; it tells you to use the same numeric password over and over, but won't accept it; period.

I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. With that blocker disabled, the spam rolls in so fast I don't see any real comments anyhow. I need someone smarter than me to fix it, I think.

FWIW, I had the experience once or twice that Gary described, but switching from Firefox to IE cleared it up. I don't believe it's happened the other way around for me, but then I don't use IE as a matter of course.

Of course, it doesn't reject everyone's comments 99% of the time. Mine go through pretty well, for example. Maybe the filter just doesn't like Gary. ;)

Never happens to me on Safari...

Andrew........ please tell your blogsoftware that I am very very likeable :).

I know it is hard to fix those things. I just wanted to tell you that I *do* read, and sometimes want to comment, but have stopped trying due to the software. Not due to your posting here :)

Oh, and I'm on Opera. I might try firefox (I hate IE), but so far Opera is just the nicest browser for me, too many things that are really handy and done less well in other browsers. Don't know Safari though: I have expensive windows software, all paid for, moving to another OS is quite expensive.

Well, I turned off the software and will try to live with the spam. If I get useful comments, I'll keep it off. Otherwise I'll turn it back on again.

Bleh. 200 spam in one day since I turned the damn filter off. And not one comment from anyone, I'll note.

Worked for me, but then I use IE. Score one for the dinosaurs.

I have a system that lets me moderate everybody who comments for the first time. So people who comment for the first time have to wait till I approve, but afterwards they can immediately comment. Spam (which I still get, but less than 10 a day) are labelled spam en put into the filter.

IE isn't a dinosaur charley; mozilla is more of a dinosaur actually :). IE is just.... eh.... unsafe and wrong on many other counts :)

What do you mean by that? Apparently Jes had enough interest to read at least some of the account.

And immediately blow it off… “preserve me from falling into the power of a psychiatric nurse like Stashiu”. That is the last comment I read in that thread and I took it as a complete blow-off to what I thought was a good suggestion and a potentially good conversation. That is, I was truly interested in what some here would make of the interview. In hindsight, it pissed me off enough that I did not even consider returning to the thread. I just moved on, never went back. That is the main reason I missed follow up comments. That is my issue – but when I get PO’d I find it is better to move along than to start a flame war. If you can’t say something nice (or at least not un-nice…).

what are you talking about?

Again – my bad. I got PO’d and did not return to the thread.

Incidentally, OCSteve, here is my post on that article on Guantanamo that Patterico mentioned so frequently. Any comment?

Your intro is pretty much “spin, spin, spin”. Beyond that, I agree with much of it. And as usual, I find it well written.

First of all, I'd have advised him to be a tad more concise in his intro, and a tad less melodramatic.

Agreed. Bloggers get a big head when they think they have a ‘scoop’. No argument.

It was mildly interesting, to be sure, and, of course, filtered through the beliefs of both interviewer and interviewee, just as we all filter.

Yes of course. I believe I pointed out it was a right of center perspective to begin with.

But if you expect me to gasp in surprise, and argue, over the notion that some of the people in Guantanamo are bad people, or that many may be dangerous, and hostile to Americans, I'm afraid you'll have to be disappointed.

The key point I took from it was that he could not really identify any true innocents. Given that he was not an interrogator, and restricted from even approaching that territory, I believe it gives him more credence. In getting to know these guys, he did not really find any innocents there. Is that definitive? No, of course not. But as a first hand account, it fit through my filter quiet well, and I was curious to see how others would interpret it.

Clearly there is a mixed bag of people held there. Anyone want to argue with that?

Nope – just wanted to discuss in the context of what I saw to be a rather rare first hand account.

Presumably OCSteve will return and enlighten us at some point soon as to what the expected revelations are.

I found it an interesting first-hand account and wanted to discuss it here. Did I promise revelations? Do you need my enlightenment?

So – to recap…

I sparked the exact discussion I wanted to, but got so PO’d at Jes’s comment that I left the thread and never returned. That is my fault, and I apologize.

Now – I am going back to re-read Hilzoy’s civility thread…

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