May 26, 2004 | Unknown

Seek for forgiveness for Abu Ghraib

Graham, What can I say. We seem to be inhabiting different universes. Your piece on the Abu Ghraib tortures was crazy really. I simply don’t understand where you are coming from.
Firstly you absolutely refuse to take on board the functionality of torture in a low-intensity operations. In such cases torture is not a pornographic luxury, rather it is a military. necessity. General Massud knew that he could not defeat the Algerian national liberation struggle without torture and he said so openly. Why? Because intelligence is the key to defeating guerrilla warfare. That’s like Military 101 (first Semester!).
Of course every army general knows that what Massud said was true. But most like Abizaid and Sanchez deny it. Yet the evidence suggests that Sanchez himself ordered the interrogation to begin, because the Americans were faced with an insurgency in Iraq. Their information levels were woeful and in desperation they decided to seek intelligence through torture.
What effect will all this have on the Arab world? Professor Juan Cole, who is the kind of moderate I will listen to, suggests that America will never recover in Iraq. He is probability right. In any case let us make the assumption that Arabs are intelligent. Will they think that Lynndie England lay down prison policy in Iraq? (Not to mention Guantanomo Bay and Afghanistan)? Of course not, Lynndie though will go to jail. By your logic that should tip the scales and get the Arabs to be grateful that we went over there to demonstrate democracy in action. But the Arabs will not be impressed because Sanchez and Abizaid and Rumsfeld will get off Scot free, not to mention the Great Idiot in the white House.
I admit though that the continued slaughter may tip the scales here. BTW Graham could you kindly explain to me the justification for the killing fields around Karbala and Najaf and Kufa? I thought in my own naïve way that one of the charges we had against Saddam was that he was killing the Shiites.
Nothing that happened in Abu Ghraib and the rest of Iraq makes sense, Graham, if you assume that we are there for the good of the Iraqis. However if you assume that we are there for the oil and to reconstruct the middle East to suit certain neo-liberal imperatives, then it makes perfect sense. We are talking invasion and conquest here.
Nothing very remarkable about that, but it comes with a truly post modern twist. You bomb a country into the stone age and then you rebuild it and present the bill for your efforts to that country. On the way you pick up some nice controlling interests in previously nationalised companies. Graham that is Imperalism 101, but unfortunately no university teaches it!
What should you do Graham? Well you should read some intelligent right wingers. Start with General Zinni. Go to and you will find a summary of a recent speech of his. It is an intelligent right wing critique of the Iraq disaster. Sadly there appear to be no courageous conservatives in this benighted country. I suppose that is the iron logic of sycophancy. We dare not think independently.
There is also I suppose the pigs might fly option. You and your fellow conservatives could become revolted at the suffering and slaughter that we have visited on the Iraqi people and you could seek in your conscience for forgiveness. I am not holding my breath.

Posted by Unknown at 6:41 pm | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Uncategorized

1 Comment

  1. Where I am coming from is this. War is a brutal business, and things like this happen. That isn’t to justify them, just to accept that when you start a war they will happen. In fact, when you imprison people, they will happen. Having accepted that, the issue is how you deal with them when the do happen.
    If the absuses aren’t stopped and the appropriate people aren’t punished, then the US will gain the reputation that it deserves.
    I’m not a conservative, I’m a liberal. I support human liberty. I did not support the US moving troops to Iraq in the first place, but they did, and I do not live in a world where you can just turn the clock back. I do accept that they had an arguable case for doing what they did. I cannot say with any certainty that leaving Hussein there would not have led to more bloodshed than we are currently witnessing. Part of being a liberal is to live in the empirical world and to be prepared to grapple with it with the most appropriate tools.
    Abu Ghraib has been exaggerated in importance. I do not accept Professor Cole’s assertion that “America will never recover in Iraq”. I am used to academics in Australia, particularly in the social sciences, having a distorted understanding of the areas in which they are supposed to be expert, why should it be any different in Iraq?
    What will count much more than Abu Ghraib is how the US leaves the country. I don’t think anyone has asserted that the Coalition is there solely for the “good of the Iraqis” although that was certainly one reason. They are there for the good of international order. That is a benefit to the Iraqis, and also requires us to leave the country in better shape than we found it.
    I find it hard to find empirical support for your charge that we are there for the oil. Likewise for your charge that there is a “killing fields” around Karbala, Najaf or Kufa. In fact, I really do wonder if you are right about our physical locations – in my universe there is no way that George Bush can be compared to Pol Pot, one of the worst genocidal mass murderers in recent history.
    What neo-Liberal imperatives are we supposed to be reconstructing the Middle East for? Surely Democracy hasn’t become a bad, or respect for human rights?
    How can you talk conquest? What has been stolen?
    I’ll certainly not be seeking forgiveness for my views. I do not resile from the messiness of human and international relations. I’ll balance my support for the US invasion against your presumed support for the Hussein status quo, and I’ll calculate that there would have been just as much, if not more blood shed and misery created that way than this.
    At least in this intervention, unlike Kosovo, we have not consciously committed war crimes by bombing innocent citizens in the hope of pressuring their government to change its policy. We committed men and arms rather than relying on remote controlled weapons delivery and limited ourselves to military targets rather than deliberately targetting civilian infrastructure.

    Comment by Graham Young — May 26, 2004 @ 6:47 pm

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