We rewrite, you decide, Vol. 2

Regarding that whole “Mission Accomplished” fiasco of May 1, 2003, from “Bush speech anniversary draws scrutiny, commentary”,, April 30, 2004:

Bush defended the speech as he talked to reporters Friday during a Rose Garden appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.
“A year ago, I did give the speech from the carrier saying that we had achieved an important objective, that we had accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein,” Bush said.
“And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq. As a result, a friend of terror has been removed and now sits in a jail.

Regarding the broadcast of photos of American soldiers and contractors torturing Iraqi prisoners, from “Bush expresses ‘deep disgust’ at prison photos”,, April 30, 2004:

In the face of international outrage, President Bush said Friday that he was disgusted by photographs that apparently show American soldiers abusing detainees at a prison outside Baghdad.
“I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated,” Bush said. “Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That’s not the way we do things in America.”
“I didn’t like it one bit,” Bush added during an appearance in the White House Rose Garden with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Not to belabor the completely blunt irony or anything, but both of the abovementioned remarks were made at the exact same appearance by the President this morning.

16 replies on “We rewrite, you decide, Vol. 2”

While not pleasant, there’s a big difference between someone being humiliated by being nude and having a bag put on their head and having a “rape” room or a torture chamber where peole are being beaten to a pulp and limbs are often burned or chopped off. No matter what charges are brought against the soldiers, there are no rape rooms or mass graves in action in Iraq.

There is a serious distinction between humiliation and torture/pain, they’re almost opposites.
Placing the photos in perspective can seem to be callous but how many of the abused are manic murderous militants? Those in the photos weren’t shot and burned for a cheering crowd either.
Some of them could be people caught in the trajedy that is and has been Iraq, just people who are forced to be somewhere they have little power to change.
All of these photos look too staged somehow.
Thank You for CSPAN.

Summary: Bush feels disgust about Iraqi prisoner treatment both pre- and post-invasion. Not encouraging news.
Among ourselves and our media, we can try to rationalize these atrocities away by categorizing them as a lesser evil compared to Saddam’s rape rooms and mass graves, but the damage is already done. You can be sure these photos won’t be broadcast with moderating qualifications and even-handed commentary in the Middle East, where we’re supposed to be winning hearts and minds.

This is from the BBC:
The station spoke to one of the six soldiers charged, Sergeant Chip Frederick – a reservist whose full-time job is as a prison officer in the US state of Virginia.
Sgt Frederick said he and his fellow reservists had never been told how to deal with prisoners, or what lines should not be crossed.
“We had no training whatsoever,” he said.
I find it scary that a man who normally works as a prison guard would use “no training” as an excuse for mistreatment of prisoners.

Just for the record, reports claim that some of the detainees were raped–with broomsticks and fluorescent lighting tubes. Others were burned with the chemicals from broken fluorescent lightbulbs. And some were beaten.
No, we are not Sadam. But at the same time, I don’t think we can distinguish ourselves so readily from the regime from which we were supposedly “liberating” these people.
It seems young people in perverse positions of power are prone to abuse.
What’s most shameful is that something like 60% of the detainees in this particular prison are likely to be completely innocent.

Welcome to war. It’s funny how much pictures matter to moron Americans. Nobody got this upset about the hundreds of “suspected” Taliban suffocated in storage crates by the Northern Alliance (under our command) in Afghanistan.
The moron majority doesn’t care about the thousands of prisoners IN AMERICA being held in solitary confinement and being tortured by withholding sleep and food.
No pictures, no big deal. The U.S. is courting some major blowback if Bush gets re-elected.

In the 35hrs since the anonymous post the story has gone from abuse to possibly murder/rape/torture.
Monday, :PM EST, Seymour Hersch of the NewYorkerMagazine spoke on MSNBC and clearly implied that the story of murder/rape/torture is going to grow substantially based on information he is aware of.
The story has expanded significantly and apparently will continue to do so. Making distinctions between humiliation and torture is a moot point now.

There’s a vast difference between some rogue elements in the military carrying out these acts (for which there will be punishment), and a regime which engaged in them as a matter of policy. I don’t find Bush’s statements to be contradictory: he decried these practices and intends to see that there are consequences for the perpetrators, no matter which side they’re on.

That’s the idea … no one engages in these actions as a matter of policy…
When we kill some 10,000 or so odd civilians its not out of our policy but a tragedy that comes form our benevolent love for brining democracy to desperate people.
When the we commit any atrocity it is not a atrocity because the intentions where good, everyone’s else’s intentions are evil

Good point mike.
It gets more complicated too. It’s the history of the world, all of this newspeak/oldspeak is the basis of the reason to act. Imagine a federal official saying; “We’re not worried about details like torture because we want to influence other people by force, sacrificing people has historically been part of the business of power.”
My point is that almost all of struggle to believe in a moral high ground and we perpetuate that myth. All human behavior is self-motivated so I don’t think there is any moral high ground. Just having morality implies life has a purpose, it’s a form of denial.
The powerful struggle for power and the weak struggle for fairness.
This may seem cynical but I don’t think it’s possible to have power and benevolence. I also don’t think there’s exclusivity in the struggle for power, if you don’t do it someone else will.
Your point is still well taken here.

Since some of the people here have very short attention spans and are simply more focused on pulling some parallel between Bush and Saddam than anything else, please click on my “Name” for a detailed list of the real torture/death and punishment that occured under Saddam’s leadership. For those who don’t think that things were worse, please realize that at least in America when evidence of something like this happens, we’re doing things to correct this mess. Congressional hearings are happening right now. Rumsfeld resigning is something that might happen. And the soldiers involved on all levels will be court martialed. Do you understand that?
In Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s regime what would have happened to someone who complained about prision conditions and “exposed” toture? They would probably be arrested. tortured and killed and their families would probably suffer the same fate.
What those American solidiers did was bad. But I think some of you people are simply blind to the fact the justice system in the U.S. is actually working and the government here is making very strong efforts to correct this mess. The same cannot be said about Iraq under Saddam’s rule. If you can’t understand that fundamental difference then congratulations for having you ideological blinders fastened tightly on. So tight that you have no real perspective.

You know, Name, “Saddam was worse” is not an argument that holds a lot of water with this American. I’m far from blind to the fact that there’s a fundamental difference between the American actions and Saddam’s, but the difference isn’t so great that it serves as much of a mitigating factor. Especially when you consider that America’s ideals are just a little bit loftier than those of Saddam’s Iraq. So you can keep your “what they did was bad, but…”

This is a time of deep shame in America. We have been believing the propaganda doled out to us by the political machine in Washington and it is shocking to us to discover one more time that we have been lied to, manipulated, used. Our senior citizens are living many times in abject poverty, thanks to Reagan, our streets are filled with homeless mentally challenged people who are incapable of work and have no financial aid, thousands of our citizens have no health care, including children — but our billions are going for GWB’s “Holy War” so that we can take Saddam Hussein to task for his “crimes against humanity.”
Does anybody out there still think our President is sane? Don’t we get it that he is Dr. Strangelove? People, we have a madman in the White House and the terrifying part of that is that a small percentage of Americans realize this? Does this mean that we are so used to insane thinking that this guy looks normal to us? Indeed, looks like a hero?
Oh, please, can’t we make it stop? Where is Jimmy Carter? Where is someone to lead us who actually embodies our “American Values?” who lives our stated American Purpose?
Jimmy. Please come home.

I think at this point it’s important to remember that GWB got us into an unwarranted, fraudulent war that has, in the net balance, probably brought far more misery, deprivation and injustice to a greater number of surviving Iraqis than did the regime of former US-employee Saddam. Neo-cons seem only to understand attack mode, and are presently ordering the attacks on Shi’ite holy ground and edifices, not to mention thousands of innocents. I think the attack mode derives from paranoia and total absense of creative imagination. It is possible in this world to be both strong, just and peaceful. That is not at all the same as yielding to or being intimidated by tyrants and bullies. We are indeed in the “gray zone” by recently disclosed behavior… and that’s a very slippery slope. Retaliation will breed retaliation, and insanity escalate, a la Israel/Palestine. Is there really a willingness on the part of elected officials to pursue both the war “aims” (what are they?) and the culprits who have given the orders for the behaviors that undermine the very rationale for war?

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