imported from email conversations:
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 1:48 PM
Subject: Re: RE: washpost (sent to me from another friend)
this article talked about how what they’re doing is terrible.. and i get the gist of what’s going on. but i haven’t actually seen much of these photographs (not really any) and i only really know what’s going on beause of the big scandal that was discussed on the radio one morning on my way to work… and about military action on this militaryguy who had probably suffered a cruel doctored photo prank… i know the sexual stuff is extra bad to them.. i don’t actually know what’s being done to them of a sexual nature, tho.. besides photos with them naked… honestly? i’m not really surprised about any of it. what outlets are really offered to these soldiers over there? the behavior is unacceptable, but who’s responsible for educating them/ curbing them, anyway?
Subject: Fwd: washpost
Sent: May 05 2004 12:34:24
It’s really rather terrible. The worst part is that in the Islamic religion, modesty is highly revered. It’s a sin and a shame to be naked in front of another man.
It’s wrong to be a homosexual or to be involved in homosexual acts. So the military people are having them do these grotesque things to them and it’s doubly bad for them.
I’ll send you the new yorker article about it that goes into a lot more detail.
really well written too.
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 2:09 PM
Subject: RE: RE: washpost
The now infamous Taguma Report was drafted in February, so this has been going on a while. What doctored photograph are you talking about? Re: The not being surprised part…first of all, you pride yourself in not really being surprised by anything, so I guess that isn’t new. And what else is being done besides these pictures?“Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.”
It’s a systematic process of breaking them down, humiliating them, and sodomizing them. And in terms of regulation and oversight…that’s the question, isn’t it? How high up does this go? Who encourages/discourages this? Why was the report issued in February…3 months ago, and why is nothing being done until now?
But the political repercussions are serious. In the Arab world where the Bush Administration has been trying to state time and time again that we’re here for their own good…to liberate them, to give them freedom, to make their lives better…and then something like this gets out…as if there weren’t enough people to view the Americans as being hypocritical. We’re here as liberators…and then we make the Iraqis simulate sex acts on one another. We say that we are sensitive to their religion, and then hit mosques and do this to the people.
On an international level, Americans pride themselves on being a beacon of democracy. “But Americans are still as capable of torture as anyone else. Rumsfeld said yesterday that it was “un-American” to abuse prisoners—as if Americans were still somehow exempt from the passions that grip the rest of the human race. But we aren’t, and because we aren’t, we shouldn’t dispense with rules that have been designed to contain them.” (washingtonpost/A2328-2004May4)
It’s also about the mentality that rules shouldn’t apply to us because we’re better. On an international level, that’s what pisses everyone off…
it’s a big deal, and though it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that people are capable of doing this to prisoners…a lot of people believe that American’s aren’t actually capable of this. The Administration is also really trying hard to point out the fact that it’s a limited variation of the norm when the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t look so limited. Several of the prison systems in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo are under investigation for this very same thing.
It’s one thing to strive for a higher ideal that is beyond one’s reach, it’s another to deny the facts and issues and to keep the world as black and white as one thought of before. That’s Bush and his Administration’s tragic flaw. Regardless of all of this, we’re still liberators and anyone that doesn’t see that is on the opposing side. We’re good people, and therefore we shouldn’t follow any rules.
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 5:05 PM
Subject: Re: RE: washpost
so what do we do?
war is bad.
torture is bad.
revelling in other’s suffering is bad.
and we’re not gods and are without God’s powers.
so what do we do as a nation; government; species?—short of what is currently being done.
do you attack the motivations, or stengthen damage-control, or enforce strict policing?
we’re fans of the ‘every angle’ approach, neh?
and why isn’t it being done already, if the answers are reasonable, if not basically interpretable (i started to say ‘obvious’.. but i suppose i can’t) ?
right and wrong. good and bad. circumstances beget motivations beget circumstances…
they hate us. we hate them. why do they hate us? because we didn’t like them enough to treat them accordingly. now we don’t like them because they didn’t like us and treated us accordingly.
and of course it’s not even that simple, but if you’ll step back for a bit… well, it is.
“why should i care?” i know you understand that sentiment.
that can be accordioned short, or long so many times in so many different directions that it doesn’t matter how many things you manage to fix now.
some people.. some things… ..some ideologies.. they just cannot coexist.
human beings become more and more complicated all the time. we ‘evolve’. and we become more complicated. we learn more; we’re aware of more; we’re capable of more.. and that simply translates to bigger, badder bads….—which also allows for greater, gooder goods… (i wanted to say ‘greater, gooder God(s)’.. but offhandedly i’d venture that God has not become much gooder in the past fifty/hundred+ years.. and i wonder whether the desperation for Him is greater now than before,..or not…. a lot of terrible terrible terrible things have occurred in our (human) history. how horrified and indignant and despairing and frustrated and confused and hurt people must have been then—just the outsiders looking in at atrocity—not even the tortured and murdered and mutilated and the innocents so terribly trespassed upon and those from who all grains of decency and human kindness were stolen from… ‘human kindness’.. it’s a whole idea… it’s one word by itself… there simply must be stake in it. and there is. but that’s not what we’re talking about here, is it? now where did this parentheses start..?...) ...yes… greater gooder goods… balance and day and night and all of that… more complicated… bigger… our crimes become farther-reaching, and potentially deeper.. and we have the increasing capacity to be aware of the crimes on a larger social scale, rather than just an individual one. when are you people going to read Grapes of Wrath?
constant struggle for good triumph above evil—however we find it/interpret it/label it/create it.
we take very personally the things that we know. our country. our people. our species.
you take personally your news articles.. your knowledge: composed/collected and delivered en masse. of course there’s beauty in that. that with which you are unfamiliar, though, you grimace at.
and that’s prejudice.
and you know that your way of thinking/doing/being is better than others.
and that’s bigotry.
that, my dear, is missing only means, for exercising ‘good’old-fashioned oppression.
and how far away is torture from there?
but you know all of that.
so what do we do?