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This in about one of the US soldiers who was involved with those photos of Iraqi prisoners in weird sexual positions ...

=======

Frederick told us he will plead not guilty, claiming the way the Army was running the prison led to the abuse of prisoners.

�We had no support, no training whatsoever. And I kept asking my chain of command for certain things...like rules and regulations,� says Frederick. �And it just wasn't happening."

...

Frederick says he didn't see a copy of the Geneva Convention rules for handling prisoners of war until after he was charged.

The Army investigation confirms that soldiers at Abu Ghraib were not trained at all in Geneva Convention rules. And most were reservists, part-time soldiers who didn't get the kind of specialized prisoner of war training given to regular Army members.

Frederick also says there were far too few soldiers there for the number of prisoners ...

=======

Question: Who was primarily responsible for this immoral act?

Where does responsibility lie?
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(Hope its okay to reply to one of these?)

My psych-major friend gave me some studies to read, one about how strong an influence authority (and presumably the lack thereof) is, and another about how ordinary people asked to act as guards for a week ended up treating the prisoners. Not easy stuff. shocked /

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Because without a copy of the Geneva Convention how were they supposed to know it was wrong or unlawful to abuse, humilate, and degrade fellow human beings. :rolleyes:


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
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Some months ago, when it first became apparent that there were no appreciable stocks of active WMDs in Iraq, I enjoyed a thoughtful and stimulating exchange with Administrator about the worthiness of our excursions in that country. Admin took the pro side; I took the con. Admin argued that even if the immediate military threat did not turn out to be what was forecast, then at least we had the triumph of ousting Hussein and of bringing better gov't, etc. to the Iraqis. I bring this up not as an "I told you so". On the contrary, Admin's defense at that time helped me temper my feelings and my disappointment with the situation, even as I defended my critical assertions. In fact, Admin and people like minded can rest assured that they have remained faithful, dutiful citizens working honorably with their leaders.
All that being said, and acknowledging that the individual soldiers must bear responsibility, I would add to this conversation that what has happened and is happening in Iraq re: US abuses of Iraqis is not particularly surprising. I think we need to come to terms with the fact that the Iraqis are not buying what we're selling and that no predominately white Western power is going to rule that country in anything like stability. Let us remind ourselves that our British allies were occupiers of Iraq between the wars and during WWII and that the Iraqis rose against them. The Iraqis see the current US/UK occupation as potentially the return of that former colonization. There is a significant number of them willing for various reasons to work with us; there is a dangerous number (maybe or not a minority), willing to use violent resistance; there is a critical middle section that is both very suspicious, wary of getting stuck out, and wary of becoming western pawns. It was our goal to show a critical mass of Iraqis that that was not going to happen. Recent events caused by ignorant, stressed, overworked and underqualified US personnel have set that back, perhaps fatally. And that blame must rise up all the way to the planners for having concocted a low-odds, high risk scenario for what to do with a post-Saddam Iraq.
The bottom line is this: given that we were never intent on a war of anhiliation against the Iraqis, we were therefore setting a very high and very complicated political goal for achieving victory, a victory not reliant on force of arms alone, but on a cultural/political success. We now see clearly just how fragile such a goal is, just how easily it is upset, and just how little chance we have of pacifying that country given the political realities of the situation. Fault? We should never have used direct armed intervention to confront the Hussein threat. Prediction: we will leave Iraq without a permanent stable settlement and we will see either a return of Hussein-esque military rule or a Shi'ite Republic. Our national interest has not been advanced.

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Funny thing, many posters on this forum stated a year or so ago that this war was necessary because of the abuse and torture Saddam inflicted on the Iraqi people...now we have Americans doing the same kind of torture and abuse. Maybe this will justify the UN to invade the USA and overthrow our goverment and install one where people can be free of this sort of behavior? After all, the current regime in the USA are religious fundamentalists who try to make everyone live by their rules.

I blame the Bush administration for starting an illegal war, thus requiring untrained personel being put in such situations. I also blame the individuals themselves, anyone knows (no matter if you've read the Geneva convention rules or not) you don't treat anyone in this manner, even if they are prisoners of war.

Moe

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm.../withoutapologybushleavesregretstoothers


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Quote
Originally posted by Deacon Lance:
Because without a copy of the Geneva Convention how were they supposed to know it was wrong or unlawful to abuse, humilate, and degrade fellow human beings. :rolleyes:
Deacon Lance,

An answer only too logical for some. And certainly, nobody would expect them to use 'common sense' or the 'Golden Rule.' But many DO forget such things. Certainly, I wouldn't want several folks to serve on ANY jury to judge their fellow man/woman. One may be found guilty simply because of other factors not related to the crime charged.

Once upon a time, a man named Joshuah stole a pencil from the government office's storage room. He was caught, but he blamed it on his wife for putting him in a bad mood. (She was mad about something that morning). The authorities went to his wife and charged her for her husband's theft. She blamed it on her rotten neighbors who mowed too far onto their property the other day. The neigbors were charged for the theft of the wife's husband. The neighbors blamed it on poorly written laws in their town. Then the authorities went to the town hall to accuse the mayor and council members. They blamed it on the Governor. So, the Governor of their state was handcuffed and led away to jail for the crime of the town's neigbor's wife's husband. Eventually, the President was accused and impeached for allowing pencil-stealing in a certain government office. He blamed it on a man named Joshuah, who stole the last pencil the other day from the government storage room.

Adam and Eve and all that blame game once again ...

Has anyone considered the crime to be one committed by the lawless troops, including men and women? :rolleyes:

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Already last year, the US Military in Iraq was tacitly admitting that they were committing acts which violated the Geneva Convention i,e, the detention of family members of suspected resistance fighters, the destruction of homes of suspected resistance fighters, and the indefinite detention of suspects without sufficient evidence. So, no, the abuse scandal does not surprise me, and while I don't believe it's a very large number of American troops who are involved, I also suspect that it's more than just a few bad apples.

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An interesting article on this subject.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2100015/

"Before Bush went on the air, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, profusely apologized on Arabic television, as did Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the commander in charge of detainee operations.

But one of several things that Bush did not do, when his turn came, was to apologize. He used the words "abhorrent," "appalled," "horrible," and said, "What took place does not represent the America that I know"�all good words, as far as they go. But he did not say, "I'm sorry."

It seems the president is allergic not just to the words but to the concept of responsibility that underlies them. To apologize would be to admit he'd made a mistake. And mistakes are forbidden in the Bush White House.

His resistance is particularly unfortunate here. An Iraqi who watched the two American generals apologize, and then watched the American president fail to, would certainly notice the difference�and might, understandably, wonder about the officers' significance and sincerity."


I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
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Quote
Originally posted by Non_nomen:
(Hope its okay to reply to one of these?)

My psych-major friend gave me some studies to read, one about how strong an influence authority (and presumably the lack thereof) is, and another about how ordinary people asked to act as guards for a week ended up treating the prisoners. Not easy stuff. shocked /
There is a very interesting German movie about this experiement called "The Experiment" biggrin . It has English sub-titles and can be found at Blockbuster. While being quite graphic, it details exactly what happens when a select group is given authority and some are given prisoner status for 7-10 days. It quickly spiralled out of control.

Justin

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I had a difficult time responding, simply because I think a lot of the blame (though not to absolve the individual soldiers) falls on the Intelligence agents giving them the orders, but I don't think that a lack of training was the reason. The reports I've seen indicate that CIA/DIA agents were telling them to do specifically those things--sounds like direct orders.

From my short time in the USMC, I can tell you that for all the Nuremburg defence is disfavored, you are still told that in the theater of war, you do what you are told no matter what, period. They get around it by saying you are to obey "lawful orders" but then tell you that you are not to question the legality of every order. It puts the individual military personnel into a Catch-22 with the emphasis on the obedience. Just talk to any Vietnam vetran.

I have a hard time putting full blame on the individual soldiers for doing it. Blame at least equally goes to the intelligence officers and their superiors. However, for the mocking, taking pictures, and enjoying it, full blame goes to the soldiers.

Justin

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Last night I was listening to an Iraqi citizen being interviewed about this subject. He said that, despite the tremendous anti-American coverage in the Arabic media, the average Iraqi understands that, while this mistreatment of prisoners-of-war is wrong, it is nothing when compared to what happened under Hussein.

He said that under Hussein people simply disappeared. Their families knew they were being tortured, not just humiliated. Executions were commonplace. Media coverage was non-existent and if you spoke openly about it you would be next.

He went on to say that now, when the Americans do something wrong, they show pictures of it on Iraqi television and everyone talks about it. That, plus the willingness to correct mistakes, speaks volumes.

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I think KH's post is very insightful.

Of course these tortures are nothing compared to what happened under Saddam. However, I think the talk-show hosts and other neo-cons who keep saying "America's OK because Saddam was worse" are missing the lesson that this story should be teaching. The lesson is not that Saddam had worse tortures, on a greater scale, and as a matter of official policy.

The lesson is that any misstep on the part of America, no matter how few soldiers are involved, can be a nail in our coffin over there, because our goals are so ambiguous and difficult. I agree that the war, as promoted by Bush, was not justified. If he had billed it as an humanitarian war to overthrow Saddam, that would be one thing. But he justified this war by saying that Saddam threatened America with weapons of mass destruction, and that Saddam had played a direct role in 9/11. Both of these charges are false.

I believe that America will have hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the Middle East for the forseeable future--possibly for the next decade.

I intend to vote for a small-government third party conservative candidate in the upcoming election. Anybody with me? wink

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Quote
Originally posted by Administrator:
... the average Iraqi understands that, while this mistreatment of prisoners-of-war is wrong, it is nothing when compared to what happened under Hussein.

He said that under Hussein people simply disappeared. Their families knew they were being tortured, not just humiliated. Executions were commonplace. Media coverage was non-existent and if you spoke openly about it you would be next.
Administrator,

You got it! I don't see too many pics of Iraqi citizens being abused and/or tortured. Our media even quickly stopped showing the burning towers in New York. The beating of Rodney King got more time coverage. I think it all depends on who or what the media wants to rattle longer. How interesting that the first part of the Rodney King video was eventually cut off the air, the part dealing with a drugged and violent man who was attempting to get hold of a police officer's gun. Should we thank the media for its judgment on what to show and what not to show?

What many forget is that these prisoners were involved in killing US soldiers and possible torturing their own kind. This doesn't in itself justify what the soldiers (not others) did, but it does give some perspective. We still don't know the rest of the story.

Joe

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One lesson that needs to be learned is that wars are messy and things do not go perfectly. There is a whole bunch of people in America who seem to have reduced this action to something that should occur in the time frame of a half hour sitcom. President Bush made clear at the start that this was a multi-year event.

LatinTrad stated that Bush stated that Saddam threatened America with weapons of mass destruction. This is a false statement. Bush made clear that Hussein needed to be removed before he was in a position to threaten us or our allies. People seem to be forgetting the lengthy discussions on preemptive war. It is also false to imply that Bush did not bill it as a humanitarian war. He clearly and repeatedly did. Unfortunately, he put the potential threat against America before the liberation of the Iraqi people.

The action was justifiable and is still very justifiable. I supported it and continue to do so. The fact that WMDs have not yet been found have nothing to do with it. Every major intelligence agency � including the French � provided data indicating that Hussein was amassing WMDs. President Bush did the right thing. The Iraqis have a chance at freedom. Hussein is no longer funding terrorists. Libya has capitulated. Things will be messy for several more years (at least) but we are headed in the right direction.

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Dear Administrator,

I also remind every one that President Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton were very vocal about the fact that they too knew that Saddam was a very real threat and that the threat of WMD and the intelligence pointing to them were very real for them during their Administration as well.

They stood behind this war 100%, and very publicly as well. (I remember a particularly convincing interview between former President Clinton and Larry King on Larry King Live).

Doesn't that speak volumes for all those Democrats on this board that condemn President Bush's actions? confused

Just some personal thoughts.
Alice

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