Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Amazing. Read this, it's just amazing.
Serious, don't be a MO-ROn, read this!

I've been in a grouchtacular state of mind the past few weeks. I've been chipper and upbeat yet underneath it all is a steady dissatisfied, indeed downright pissy, undercurrent.
C'est la vie.
White House officials say they've got a "working premise" about terrorism and the presidential election: It's going to happen. "We assume," says a top administration official, "an attack will happen leading up to the election." And, he added, "it will happen here."

Not to traffic in conspiracy theories, but what if the Bushies were sick enough to stage an attack?

Worse, what if only half the electorate believed it? How would "code red" alert pan out?

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Oh, I get it now.

Things aren't going so well in Iraq right now, as David Brooks admits. No longer drinking the Kool Aid, he admits at longlast "The predictions people on my side made about the postwar world have not yet come true. The warnings others made about the fractious state of post-Saddam society have."

But the drive to cover the ass is never far. "To earn their own freedom, the Iraqis need a victory. And since it is too late for the Iraqis to have a victory over Saddam, it is imperative that they have a victory over us. If the future textbooks of a free Iraq get written, the toppling of Saddam will be vaguely mentioned in one clause in one sentence. But the heroic Iraqi resistance against the American occupation will be lavishly described, page after page. For us to succeed in Iraq, we have to lose."

So our inevitable pull out is actually in the interests of the Iraqis now. Interesting. I thought that most of the Iraqois want us to stay, that the insurgency is the work of "thugs and foreigners."

In any event, this isn't dave's idea. I saw this at some other blog, a left wing blog, and I scoffed then too.

To the Editor:
From the New York Times Letters
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's declaration that the United States supports the rule of law was gratifying (excerpts from the Congressional hearing, May 8). It might have been more convincing if we had not repudiated the International Criminal Court and continued to pressure other countries into guaranteeing that no American would ever be sent to The Hague for war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Credibility suffers when we approve international law, but only for others.

New Rochelle, N.Y., May 8, 2004
The writer was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

Monday, May 10, 2004

The New Yorker magazine said the photos had been held by a member of the 320th Military Police Brigade, the same unit implicated in other abuses at the prison, west of Baghdad. One photo, which the magazine published, showed the prisoner cowering while the dogs barked; others in the series, which were described, showed a soldier pinning the same man on the ground while displaying a bleeding wound to his leg.

If the sequence was accurately described, it would be the first to surface from the prison that displays an act of deliberate wounding, stretching beyond the humiliation and acts of physical abuse of naked Iraqi prisoners depicted in photos already published.

I wonder if Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and the rest of the Big Mouths want to reconsider their notion that this amounts to little more than "frat hazing"? Before these latest shots came out sure, I could see their point of view. After all, everyone knows that fraternities are notorious for having rape-room (they're called "pledge's bedrooms", I understand, and also known as "keg parties"), but it's also generally known that frats don't sic dogs on people in fun.

Which brings me to another topic: not only has NO ONE outside blog-world taken Rush and the rest of the Nazisauri dinosaurs tot ask for comparing torture to hazing, no one has said anything about Joe Lieberman's despicable comments at last week's Warner Hearings.

new shots have us siccing dogs on naked iraqis prisoners. look at his hands at his face, the position of his legs. He's recoiling in abject terror, you can see that he's screaming and sobbing. I'm not a crybaby by any means, but you know, this put me over the edge, it really did.

Some people have said the photo of the guy on the box is Christlike. He's not: he's the carnival barker, the circus geek welcoming you into the freak show. I'm not making light here: this is like looking in some weird kid of funhouse mirror. This is the worst thing.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Rummy highlights:

MCCAIN: Anyway, who was in charge? What agency or private contractor was in charge of the interrogations? Did they have authority over the guards? And what were the instructions that they gave to the guards?

SMITH: I'll walk through the chain of command and...

MCCAIN: No. Let's just -- you can submit the chain of command, please.

WARNER: General Smith, do you want to respond?

MCCAIN: No. Secretary Rumsfeld, in all due respect, you've got to answer this question. And it could be satisfied with a phone call. This is a pretty simple, straightforward question: Who was in charge of the interrogations? What agencies or private contractors were in charge of the interrogations? Did they have authority over the guards? And what were the instructions to the guards?

This goes to the heart of this matter.

RUMSFELD: It does indeed.

As I understand it, there were two contractor organizations. They supplied interrogators and linguists. And I was advised by General Smith that there were maybe a total of 40.

MCCAIN: Now, were they in charge of the interrogations?

SMITH: Thirty-seven interrogators, and...


MCCAIN: I'm asking who was in charge of the interrogations.

SMITH: They were not in charge. They were interrogators.

MCCAIN: My question is who was in charge of the interrogations?

SMITH: The brigade commander for the military intelligence brigade.

MCCAIN: And were they -- did he also have authority over the guards?

SMITH: Sir, he was -- he had tactical control over the guards, so he was...

MCCAIN: Mr. Secretary, you can't answer these questions?

RUMSFELD: I can. I'd be -- I thought the purpose of the question was to make sure we got an accurate presentation, and we have the expert here who was in the chain of command.

MCCAIN: I think these are fundamental questions to this issue.


MCCAIN: Were the instructions to the guards...

RUMSFELD: There's two sets of responsibilities, as your question suggests. One set is the people who have the responsibility for managing the detention process; they are not interrogators. The military intelligence people, as General Smith has indicated, were the people who were in charge of the interrogation part of the process.

And the responsibility, as I have reviewed the matter, shifted over a period of time and the general is capable of telling you when that responsibility shifted.

MCCAIN: What were the instructions to the guards?

RUMSFELD: That is what the investigation that I have indicated has been undertaken...

MCCAIN: Mr. Secretary...

RUMSFELD: ... is determining...

MCCAIN: ... that's a very simple, straight-forward question.

RUMSFELD: Well, the -- as the chief of staff of the Army can tell you, the guards are trained to guard people. They're not trained to interrogate, they're not -- and their instructions are to, in the case of Iraq, adhere to the Geneva Convention.

The Geneva Conventions apply to all of the individuals there in one way or another. They apply to the prisoners of war, and they are written out and they're instructed and the people in the Army train them to that and the people in the Central Command have the responsibility of seeing that, in fact, their conduct is consistent with the Geneva Conventions.

The criminals in the same detention facility are handled under a different provision of the Geneva Convention -- I believe it's the fourth and the prior one's the third.

MCCAIN: So the guards were instructed to treat the prisoners, under some kind of changing authority as I understand it, according to the Geneva Conventions?

RUMSFELD: Absolutely.

MCCAIN: I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I call bullshit on rumsfeld's claim. See Taguba Report, Recommendations:

4 (U) That detention facility commanders and interrogation facility commanders ensure that appropriate copies of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War and notice of protections be made available in both English and the detainees’ language and be prominently displayed in all detention facilities. Detainees with questions regarding their treatment should be given the full opportunity to read the Convention.

Boils down to: regulations weren't posted.

KENNEDY: I know that Secretary Brownlee referred to this.

In particular, in December of 2002, military doctors at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan ruled that two Afghan men in U.S. custody died from blunt force injuries. No one in the military has been held accountable for those homicides.

You and your senior leadership have shown, I believe, a disregard for the protection of the Geneva Conventions in detainee operations. In January, 2002, you were asked why you believe the Geneva Conventions do not apply to detainees in Guantanamo. You replied that you did not have the slightest concern about their treatment, in light of what has occurred in 9/11.

According to the New York Times, you have known about the graphic photographs, evidence of abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison since mid- January. You told President Bush about these reports of abuse shortly thereafter. And yet, rather than work with Congress to deal with the problem together, you and other top Defense Department officials have apparently spent the last three weeks in preparing the public relations plan.

Can you tell us what exactly did you tell the president about these reports of abuse in late January, and what did he say, and what did you do about it, and why month after month after month had to pass before anything has happened and then we find out that the pictures came out and that the president is indeed angry?

RUMSFELD: First, Senator Kennedy, your statement that other agencies of government were concerned about detainees and the Department of Defense failed to act is simply not correct.

KENNEDY: This wasn't brought to your attention by the secretary of the State Department?

RUMSFELD: I'll respond. I did not say that. I said your statement that the Department of Defense...

KENNEDY: Well, it was brought to you then by the State Department. We don't want to parse words.

KENNEDY: Was this brought to you by the State Department? I mentioned Secretary Powell. Question is whether this was brought to you and when did you know. When did you know it?

You gave us a laundry list in your presentation about the timeline on it. I'm trying to find out, because it has been published, that you were notified about this a series of times and advised to do something about it and nothing was done.

RUMSFELD: It's not correct to say "Nothing was done." You're making a set of conclusions that are just simply not accurate.

We've had numerous discussions, interagency, on detainees. All in all, there have been some 43,000 people who were captured or detained in Iraq, of whom 31,850 have already been released. That is a big task for the Army to undertake. The...


RUMSFELD: ... the actions of the ICRC -- you said they came in and indicated concerns about the Abu Ghraib prison. That's correct. And the prison officials began the process of making corrections and the general's report -- Taguba -- found that a number of those things were already under way, in terms of corrections. And when he made his study, a number of additional things and corrections were made.

So it seems to me that the ICRC report was helpful, and that the military command, as I understand it, undertook a series of corrections.

Now, with respect to when were we knowledgeable of this, the situation was this: Specialist Darby told the CID that he had information about abuses in the prison. I believe it was on the 13th or 14th of January.

RUMSFELD: By the 15th or 16th, an investigation had been initiated. And the Central Command public affairs people went out and told the world -- they told everyone in the world that there were allegations of abuse and they were being investigated.

Again, by mid-March, when some criminal -- I don't know the legal term but -- some criminal actions were initiated, the Central Command's public affairs people went out again and announced that not only were there allegations of abuses but they listed the types of abuses. And then this is to the world. Everyone knew it. CNN was there asking questions.

And that is the time frame when General Myers and I were meeting with the president and discussed the reports that we had obviously heard because they weren't hiding anything. They disclosed it to the world.
You'll find that this tactic changes. Rumsfeld refers to CNN's January report as "released to the world, everyone knew" but later will assert the report was secret, no one knew about it. I believe this is during the Clinton questioning.

Joe Lieberman, not content to have people simply think he's an asshole, opens up his mouth and proves it:
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Secretary, the behavior by Americans at the prison in Iraq is, as we all acknowledge, immoral, intolerable and un-American. It deserves the apology that you have given today and that have been given by others in high positions in our government and our military.

I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized. Those who have killed hundreds of Americans in uniform in Iraq working to liberate Iraq and protect our security have never apologized.

LIEBERMAN: And those who murdered and burned and humiliated four Americans in Fallujah a while ago never received an apology from anybody.

So it's part of -- wrongs occurred here, by the people in those pictures and perhaps by people up the chain of command.

But Americans are different. That's why we're outraged by this. That's why the apologies Joe, Iraq and 9/11 are two different things. Stop tying the two together.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

I heard Rush say this today, courtesy of Air America (thanks to media matters for the transcript).

CALLER: It was like a college fraternity prank that stacked up naked men --

LIMBAUGH: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off?

Indefensible. And ill-considered; after all, Bush has of this writing chastised Rumsfeld for not informing him (this is theatre of course, but whatever. What's truly amazing is that as of this writing Bush is saying he hasn't read the damn report because it hasn't come up the chain of command yet. What the FUCK kind of excuse is that?

Congress is calling Rummy up on Friday to yell at him. Whatever. And more pictures have come out. And it's still unfolding...

As you can see, Media Matters has links to Hannity and Colmes making the same "it's a frat hazing" "argument" as well as some ass from Dennis Miller's show.

My challenge to these guys: give me a gun and a stick, then allow me to force you to suck each other's dicks. Be prepared to be fucked in the ass with a broom handle. Perhaps beaten to death, wrapped in saran wrap, then snuck out on a gurney with a fake iv as camoflage. Then tell me how this is just "frat hazing."

God these morons. Speaking of air america, Al Franken's show is solidly OK, but Randi Rhodes, 3-6 PM, is amazing. A great show. No wonder she was beating Rush when they were on the same station in Florida.

Monday, May 03, 2004

I'm thinking of getting a new tattoo. Scroll down, it's the third shot on the left. Same one I mentioned a post or so ago. I have it save to my hard drive as "Iqon".
I am so ashamed, so deeply and utterly ashamed.

These fucking shitheads talking about how "oh, those soldiers were never trained in Geneva convention rules." What the fuck kind of logic is that shit? What kind of special training do you need to know "don't rape the prisoners with broom handles" or "don't pee on the prisoners" (that's the Brits, second from top as of 9:30 PM, May 3). "Don't force prisoners to blow each other" just to me seems a kind of given; i don't think I'd need any "special training" to know not to do that.

Look, I can even give leeway toward, say, a group of marines who beat the motherfucking piss out of a guy they catch launching rpgs at them. I can totally understand that, the same way I understand (even if I don't condone)a cop beating the shit out of someone resisting arrest. Shit happens; tempers flare; people go overboard.
But this: these are captive people, people totally forced to submit to the will of their captors. They have no power. They have no defense. It is the moral equivalent of kicking a lame dog.
What the fuck is wrong with people? What the motherfucking fuck??

I remember when I was very young, the year we lived in Maryland. My father had just gotten hired by IBM and I think he was training before we moved to Newport for his job at the navy base. I must have been 3 years old. It's difficult to visualize our home then, but I think it was a rental development a step or two super low-income housing. My folks were friends with the people across the way, and I used to play with their three daughters. The oldest and I were about the same age; her name was Carolyn, I forget her sisters' names.

One day Carolyn and I were playing "ambulance" with the cat carrier, one of those boxes you use to take Mr. Whiskers to the vet. This was the same summer the horse at the farm that abutted the devo bit my sister's hand, the same year that Bad Jimmy from the devo next door shot at me with a BB gun and called me a "fucker" when he missed.

First I played the driver. Carolyn sat in the the coffin-style cat box and i dragged the box along the sidewalk making siren noises.

Then it was my turn to be the patient. I sat in the box and tucked my head down like I was sick. Carolyn closed the box on me, forcing my head between my legs, and locked the box. And then she abruptly got bored, and left me there in the midsummer sun. She just left.

I couldn't move. I couldn't get the lid offbox. I could barely breathe and my back hurt. I couldn't sit up and my face was forced into the floor by the lid. This was in summer in Gaithersburg Maryland. I thought I was going to die. I was terrified. I remember struggling to get out of the box, and alll I succeeded in doing was tipping the box over on its side. It was so hot and smothering.. oh man, just writing about it is bringing on a panic attack, I was panicking and began to hyperventilate. I don't know what month it was, but summer temperatures average in the high 90s. I don't know how long I was trapped; eventually, Carolyn bumped into my dad, who asked where I was. "I locked him in the cat box," she said, "he's in the parking lot," which (thank God) prompted him to rescue me.

I look at that guy in that hood and it's like some sort of medieval shit and I get that same feeling for him. It's just fucking monstrous and makes me want to puke.
Ever heard the expression, "payback's a bitch"? It's clear the Philly Daily News has.

Just days after Sinclair Broadcasting (and major Bush supporter) CEO David Smith refused to show Friday night's "NightLine" (which listed the names and faces of American soldiers who've died in Iraq) on the grounds that such coverage constitutes a "political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq." Atrios has more about Sinclair's recent history, including forcing employees to take loyalty oaths to the Bush administration. The word "rabid" comes to mind.

The Daily News is a tabloid nespaper, much like the New York Post or the Bostob Herald. Splashy covers, peppy headlines, and of course crusades. I'm willing to be the PDN has more crusading columnists than any other paper. There's the Urban Warrior. There's Joe Sixpack. There's the Stinkmeister (he keeps tabs on the various corners, alleyways, and subway stops where Philadelphians have been known to make number 1 and number 2.

The most recent campaign mounted has been a crusade against prostitution. Too many johns have been invading too many neighborhoods, and.. well, it's fucking disgusting is what it is. Used condoms littering parks; sleazy characters cruising through residential neghborhoods; prostitution adds nothing good to the 'hood.

The Philadelphia Daily News has,therefore, been publishing the names and photographs of the johns arrested for soliciting, whether convicted or not. Yes, I know, this probably isn't too kosher, especially if you've been mistakenly accused. And I don't really approve of what they're doing.

Writing for the Daily News, William Bunch offers a tidbit from Dave Smith's past in "Naming Names" (you may have to register to read it).

You can see where I'm going with this I hope. Yup: Sinclair's CEO got arrested for solicitation, driving down the freeway with his pecker lodged down some whore's esophagus.

Sure it happened in Baltimore; sure it was almost ten years ago; sure it has nothing at all to do with "to air or not to air; that is the question." But you know what? Payback is a bitch, and thank God for people like William Bunch who brazenly and gleefully point the finger at hypocritical scumbags like Dave Smith.
Josh Marshall hits the nail on the head: An article out from the Associated Press says that the half-dozen soldiers facing courts-martial for torturing prisoners in Iraq "did not receive in-depth training on the Geneva Conventions." That was the message from an Army spokeswoman in Iraq and it's apparently echoed by at least one of the accused's lawyer.

A question: Can this possibly matter? Perhaps as a fine point of law this would be relevant in court-martial proceeding. And the tolerance or intolerance of these soldiers' commanding officers for this behavior is relevant. But surely no formal training in the Geneva Convention guidelines should be needed to warn people off these sorts of outrages.

Indeed. It is always interesting to see how conservative and libertarian ideals of "freedom from government" collide with the reality of man's inhumanity to man. You know, in philosophy, I agree with a lot of conservative bullshit about how the government sucks. But you know, lack of government at all sucks too. Sure both work in favor of the powerful, but at least with "government" as defined in the US you're not AS subject to the whims of feudal lords. Sure paying taxes sucks, but what the fuck, you gotta find some way to fill the potholes.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

You know, everyone's complaining about the torture chambers and rape rooms in cell block 1A, and the Army may be scapegoating Janis Karpinski, but NO ONE one is saying anything about how using Jessica Simpson's new line of "body desserts" might make the Iraqis a little less edgy about their tortu-- I mean interrogations.

I mean, if you're gonna force a guy to suck another guy's dick to humiliate him into answering questions, it just doesn't seem right to deprive him of Ms. Simpsons "deliciously kissable" items like Belly Button Love Potion, Hot Body Topping and Whipped Body Cream with Candy Sprinkles.. What's the point of raping a prisoner with a plunger if you're not going to soften him up with Powdered Body Shimmer, applied with a "Tickle me Anywhere" feather applicator?

We guys already smell bad enough as it is, and the only thing worse than getting a mouthful of uninvited cock at gunpoint is when that cock belongs to a smelly hairy guy. Especially in the desert heat; you gotta figure Ahmed's junk is pretty sweaty and stanky. A little of Jessica's "Sweet Scrotum with Mint Chocolate Chip" could fix that in a jiffy. Same with Fabreeze. We should be sending Fabreeze to Iraq by the case: the way I see it, if you simply MUST attach electrodes to a prisoner and dress him up as an extra from Birth of a Nation (scroll down, third picture on the left hand side), it hardly seems fair that his costume smell like the last guy. And with Fabreeze you know, you don't have to go to the dry cleaner.
Bush: [T]here are no longer torture chambers or mass graves or rape rooms in Iraq."

And look, here's a British guy making a tinkle on an Iraqi.
You know the British have their faults, but when THEY fuck up it ends up on the front page of the newspaper. In the USA, land of the free, you have to go digging around obscure sites like the memory hole to get a gander at the mischief we've been up to. Oh sure, the Times and the Post are yammering on about this latest scandal, but you know, a picture's worth a thousand words. And don't think the folks at the SCLM don't know that.