Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Standard Operating Proceedure

The previous post "I'd give the Devil the benefit of law" generated some strong opinions about how we should treat 'the bad guys'.

I appreciate strong opinions. I have a few myself. Some of which were reinforced when I watched the film Standard Operating Procedure which dealt with Abu Gihraib. It was hard to watch at times. The matter was not a simple black and white case. We put 18-21 year old kids in charge of a prison. Kids who are trained to follow orders. Kids who were told what was being done was okay, even if the regs said it wasn't. After all, we're in a war, right? I'm not sure what excuse the older personnel had. They knew better.

It gave context and detail to the infamous photographs. It showed the mindset of some of these people. Their reasoning and rationale. And what was seen in the pictures was not the worst of it. It never is.

Is it okay to torture a suspect if you believe he is guilty of being an insurgent or a terrorist?
After all, we didn't hang them, or beat their feet with metal rods or shock their genitalia.
THAT'S torture. Saddam did that shit. We didn't (Although we sent people to countries that did it for us).

Lets talk about what our guys did.
Tying someone in one position naked for 5 hours naked isn't torture, is it?
Depriving someone of sleep for days isn't torture, is it?
Forcing prisoners to masturbate and simulate sex acts in front of women isn't torture is it?
Waterboarding and punching prisoners isn't torture, is it?
Keeping high profile detainees from the eyes of the Red Cross isn't illegal, is it?
Our guys just 'softened them up' for the pro's (CIA, FBI, DIA etc).

After all, these guys were the Bag Guys. Except the ones that weren't. And it seems that the vast majority of these people were just dumb SOB's. Drunks & thieves... oh yeah and most of the fighting age males in an area. Fathers and sons. We took them from their homes because they could POTENTIALLY join the insurgency, not because there was any suspicion they were.

Lock them all up and DO NOT let ANYONE out. That was the order. We did not deny them due process, we denied than ANY process. When they finally got out, I wonder how many of those average Iraqi's were willing to let bygones be bygones?
The end result of not following the rules and the law was an increased insurgency and a deep unifying hatred of Americans in that entire region.

Take a look at this list of Memo's. Look at the titles. Some of the details of these memo's are just now coming to light though we likely will never know the full details of them all. Look at the titles: Convention Against Torture has limited application in the U.S., Torture can be prosecuted only if there was 'specific intent' to harm Is this America at it's finest? Is this the beacon of freedom spoken in hymn and song? It this the best we could do? America has the brawn to do these things, but does it have the brains to do something better? To fight smarter?

I highly recommend you check this movie out through Netflix. It's thought provoking. Here's the trailer:


Anonymous said...

This is a very good post and one that would take far longer to properly respond to than I'm going to. Steve you definitely have a knack for provoking statements.


Anonymous said...

Wa...Wa...Wa... OK. We screwed up and screwed up bad. We Americans are alwys the first to bash ourselves. Let's get some balance and perspective here. While I will not take the liberty of soiling this most excellent blog site with video of beheadings done by the bad guys in this fight, I do wish to illustrate some magnitude of the horror they are dealing out. This is not an excuse--there is none---just an effort to bring some balance to this discussion. The following is a short list of video of people not appreciated by our terrorist friends. Those people might have chimmed in on this learned conversation, but they have already lost their heads over this topic: [perspective]

10/08 Kenneth Bigley Executed in Iraq Images and Video Here.
10/02 Iraqi Victim Barie Nafie Dawoud Ibrahim Beheading Video and Images Here
9/22 American Hostage Jack Hensley Beheading Video and Images Here
9/20 American Hostage Eugene Armstrong Beheaded on Video Here
9/13 Turkish Hostage Beheaded on Video Here
9/08 Three Muslim 'Informants' Beheaded by the Religion of Irony
8/31 12 Nepalese Hostages Killed, 1 Beheaded Here
8/26 Italian Hostage Enzo Baldoni Murdered Here
8/25 Alleged CIA Agent Beheaded in Video Here
8/13 Another Alleged CIA Agent Beheaded on Video Here
8/11 CIA Agent Executed: Another Beheading Video
8/09 Another Bulgarian Beheading Video
8/02 Turkish Hostage Murdered
7/28 Bulgarian Beheading Video
7/27 Kashmir Rebels Bomb Hospital, Behead Three
7/27 Paul Johnson Beheading Video and Images Here

I forgot my popcorn. Sorry...what did you want to talk about?

Sir Constantine

Steve said...

Actually there are videos of beheadings in Saudi Arabia as well. You know. Our friends and allies.

This just goes to prove that radical religions do crazy things. Much of the culture of the middle east is messed up. But the source of MUCH of that violence and cruelty is their religion. Really guys. It's the 21st century. We don't need a big daddy-god telling us not to eat pork anymore.

The fact that you (or we as a nation) can say "We messed up" is actually important. The ability to recognize mistakes is the first step in correcting them. The problem with the previous administration is that they simply WOULD NOT admit mistakes. In their view, they might not have done some things well, but they didn't do things that were wrong.

If you never admit to making a mistake your faithful followers will believe that your actions were correct and just. It was WRONG to torture John McCain in Vietnam. But it's okay to torture SUSPECTED terrorists because it MIGHT lead to stopping an attack?

Look, if you know where the guys are who committed these barbaric acts, then go there and kill them. Don't drop a 500 pound "smart" bomb on the house you think they are staying at. There's a chance your intel is bad and you will kill several families. Lets not repeat THAT mistake.

If you're not positive, arrest them and gather evidence of their guilt.

I am not out to bash my own country. But I do want it to understand its mistakes so that they will not be made again. Understanding Abu Giraib is a step towards taking ammo away from the extremists who want to use it as anti American propaganda. It doesn't matter if you're building schools if the locals think you are murdering crusaders.

Fight smarter, not harder.