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Old 05-26-2005, 07:47 PM   #46
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No it isn't, it is using the attributes of the detainee in an interrogation to get information. I do not think that religion is out of bounds in this, if Fundamentalist Christian terrorists could be unsettled by burning a Bible in front of them then that should be done too.
We'll just have to agree to disagree.
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Old 05-26-2005, 08:53 PM   #47
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I don't agree too that
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Old 05-26-2005, 09:11 PM   #48
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Americans are not better people than the rest of the world, you are filled with your share of bad folk.

You are not beyond repproach and the idea that America should be smacks of elitism and a belief in American international exceptionalism. You can however differentiate your country by openly trying these individuals and punishing them for what they did and ensuring that it does not happen again in an transparent manner.

Abu Ghraib pictures were taken over the course of a few days be the same group of individuals, it is clear from the investigation that Karpinsky did not run a proper chain of command and that it was a failure in leadership that enabled it to happen.

There has been no evidence presented that the particular things that happened at Abu Ghraib were sanctioned by anybody. It was abuse of prisoners, it took away their dignity and it has flamed international hatred of the US ~ if it was run to get information then it has to have been one of the dumbest means of getting informaton from a cost/benefit perspective. I mean your intelligence guys must have really been off their game if they allowed the guards to retain the pictures knowing full well the damage that it could do if it was ever found. But it was found, and the millitary announced to the public about infractions against prisoners, and they investigated what was going on and commisioned a widespread investigation, and then the pictures got to the media, and then the media gave you all a great bit of self-flagellation for a great long while.

Sigh. If you think I am an elitist who thinks Americans are better than other people, you are dead wrong. Not only do I have the right to criticize my country, I have earned that right. I have the right to hold my country to the standard it advertises. That is all.
We are not beyond reproach. But if a country sets itself up as a beacon of freedom, human rights, then it damn well better behave in that manner. I am terribly concerned with what my country does. I would like to proud of it again.

I cannot speak for other countries. I can speak for my own.

Our intelligence is horrible. More than that, we have leaders (and always have) who choose only the intelligence (what a misuse of a word) that bolsters their position and ignores the rest. We have a President whose idea (in his own words) of persuasion is just to keep repeating the same things over and over again as if repetition is truth. We have an administration who likes to swagger instead of thinking a situation through. We have squandered our influence and we do have influence.

Many of our populace are undereducated , underinformedthrough their own fault. We are bombarded with information, but are often incapable of analysis. We are mentally lazy. We were given a jewel of a democracy and do not use it wisely. We are often xenophobic. We do not know jackshit about the rest of the world and precious little about our own. We strut under the idea, the flag of America. But we have the opportunity.

I want us to cringe about Abu Ghraib. I don't want us to make excuses. I want us to think about what we do in the name of interrogation. I want us to question whether that makes us more secure or just lets us celebrate our aggression.

You call it elitist to want to live up to the promise we hold out. So be it. But no other country in recent history has held out the same promise. America is in a unique position, if not made up of unique people. We have the resources to do better (for now) and I'd hate to waste it. Like it or not, people watch America and hold us to a higher standard. I want to be held to that standard. I'm not afraid of that standard. If I am falling for a myth, it's a myth I like.

(And PS, we are famous for widespread investigations that do not lead anywhere. We talk the talk....Our authorities are almost always cleared. When have we ever seen high level accountability for anything--oh, I'm sorry. I forgot that blowjob thing a few years back--oh yeah, that's right, it was lying under oath about a blowjob).

Yeah. I'm a cynic. Scratch a cynic and underneath you find a frustrated idealist.
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:19 PM   #49
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Go BonosSaint Go!
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:22 PM   #50
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Thank you.
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:23 PM   #51
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I call it an attitude of international elitism to expect that your country should be beyond repproach. No country should be beyond repproach, it is when people don't bother to find out what is going on that the worst abuses happen.

The same attitude of the uber-patriot America can do no wrong is almost the same as desiring to see your country in that light. I do not think that that can ever exist and I think the best that any nation can manage is a system of checks and balances.

In a country that is beyond repproach such abuses could still take place and nothing could be done about it, the crimes would remain covered up.
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:41 PM   #52
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Perhaps we are defining beyond reproach differently, Wanderer.
The context of my use of it is that we should, whenever possible, act in a manner that would not lead to justified and reasonable reproach. Our government, which represents us and partly makes or breaks our reputation, should not act ethically just when caught or when the media is paying attention. If you think I am saying we should not be held accountable, you're wrong. I'm stating unequivicably we should be held accountable. And if we were not miscommunicating, would you please explain to me why that is international elitism?
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:49 PM   #53
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Great post BonosSaint
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:52 PM   #54
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You think that your country should live up to the highest standard.

I think that no matter how hard you try that is impossible because there is no way that any country could ever attain such perfection.

Given that perfection is impossible then the next best thing is to make sure that your nation leads by example when it comes to dealing with abuses. This is still having your country live up to the hightest possible standard and leading the world by example; demonstrating how to deal with serious threats to the security and safety of it's citizens while preserving the nations liberty.

I also think that there are things that are perfectly justified when dealing with illegal combatants and terrorists that would not be done to POW's or common criminals (specifically the use of cultural and religious attitudes against them to get information but not carte blanche unregulated torture and murder for the 'greater good'). I think this because the calculus of the cost - benefit is shifted significantly and because by their very nature they have abandoned the principles of civilised combat and forfeited the protections that that entails.

They should still be afforded certain rights, there must also be scrutiny of what goes on, there must be accountability on every level ~ giving the amoral foe legal protections, medical treatment and food is an example of the US seperating itself from the rest of the world that would just execute them for being spies and terrorists, organising a system of millitary tribunals and having debate and working over the juristictions and rights of appeal that your enemies are afforded show how such a thing should be organised rather than the systems of show trials that you see in other parts, having open debate about the value of embarking on such a system and repeated criticism from within your own country shows how a nation should face such challenges.

The basic goal is to effectively neutralise terror organisations and have a coordinated intelligence gathering system in order to defeat an amoral enemy in the most moral manner.
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Old 05-26-2005, 10:57 PM   #55
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I will agree with the last paragraph of your post. I disagree with other elements of your argument, but it is a disagreement of perspective. You answered my question.
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Old 05-27-2005, 06:07 AM   #56
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I agree and don't agree with some of the stuff that's been posted. I do tend to hold my government up to high standards. I realize they are people and everyone makes mistakes, but some mistakes are inexcusable. I think it's inexsuble when the government snoops in the affairs of private citizens, for example. The Patriot Act is controversial because some people consider it too invasive. Earlier on some people who demonstrated against the Viet Nam war got their phones tapped and stuff, and this sort of thing has happened at other times as well.
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Old 05-27-2005, 09:41 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint



Sigh. If you think I am an elitist who thinks Americans are better than other people, you are dead wrong. Not only do I have the right to criticize my country, I have earned that right. I have the right to hold my country to the standard it advertises. That is all.
We are not beyond reproach. But if a country sets itself up as a beacon of freedom, human rights, then it damn well better behave in that manner. I am terribly concerned with what my country does. I would like to proud of it again.

I cannot speak for other countries. I can speak for my own.

Our intelligence is horrible. More than that, we have leaders (and always have) who choose only the intelligence (what a misuse of a word) that bolsters their position and ignores the rest. We have a President whose idea (in his own words) of persuasion is just to keep repeating the same things over and over again as if repetition is truth. We have an administration who likes to swagger instead of thinking a situation through. We have squandered our influence and we do have influence.

Many of our populace are undereducated , underinformedthrough their own fault. We are bombarded with information, but are often incapable of analysis. We are mentally lazy. We were given a jewel of a democracy and do not use it wisely. We are often xenophobic. We do not know jackshit about the rest of the world and precious little about our own. We strut under the idea, the flag of America. But we have the opportunity.

I want us to cringe about Abu Ghraib. I don't want us to make excuses. I want us to think about what we do in the name of interrogation. I want us to question whether that makes us more secure or just lets us celebrate our aggression.

You call it elitist to want to live up to the promise we hold out. So be it. But no other country in recent history has held out the same promise. America is in a unique position, if not made up of unique people. We have the resources to do better (for now) and I'd hate to waste it. Like it or not, people watch America and hold us to a higher standard. I want to be held to that standard. I'm not afraid of that standard. If I am falling for a myth, it's a myth I like.

(And PS, we are famous for widespread investigations that do not lead anywhere. We talk the talk....Our authorities are almost always cleared. When have we ever seen high level accountability for anything--oh, I'm sorry. I forgot that blowjob thing a few years back--oh yeah, that's right, it was lying under oath about a blowjob).

Yeah. I'm a cynic. Scratch a cynic and underneath you find a frustrated idealist.
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Old 05-27-2005, 11:10 AM   #58
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No just a statement.

A statement that is saying that there is a difference between Soviet Gulags and Guantanamo. This is in opposition to the equivalence argument.

We could play it point by point as well.

Soviet Gulag
> Forced labour with harsh working conditions
> Poor quality of care; you could starve to death and you could also die if you got sick .
> Political opponents of the Soviet State sent there as well as their relatives, guilt by association.
> High fatality rates, go well over one million in total between the 1930's and 1950's.
> Systematic brutality by those that ran the Gulags designed to crush the individual and crush any "counter-revolutionary" ideas ~ political "re-education".

Guantanamo Bay
> A holding center for terrorists and illegal combatants. They are declared to be in the camp.
> Does not have a forced labour program.
> Detainees given food that meets their specific religious and cultural needs.
> They are allowed a right to pray and the call to prayer runs.
> Deaths in custody have been investigated by the millitary, the results of these investigations if/when leaked are widely printed in the press.
> No system of capital punishment for prisoner infractions.
> Investigations into claims of torture or mistreatment when they are made and punishment of those responsible, a chain of command within the camp as well as accountability.
> Full and proper medical care given to prisoners.
> All current accusations of torture do not come close to what occured in the Soviet Union. I find it absurd to compare things like: a woman showing her breasts, continuous playing of crappy music, having detainees sit or stand for hours at a time, flushing a Koran down a toilet or exploiting the cultural aspects of a detainee during interrogation to find out exactly what they were doing when captured and information regarding Islamist terror organisations to electrocutions, beatings, removing teeth, removing fingernails, breaking hands or just executing those "counter-revolutionary scum" in a Gulag. The severity and intent is different, and I would argue that in the context of dealing with non-indigenous ununiformed combatants who do not respond to standard interrogation techniques exploitation of cultural weaknesses is justified, making them feel uncomfortable is fine provided that no physical harm comes to them. When an interrogation is conducted by a professional answers are yielded in an effective and proper manner ~ torture is too unreliable to be a standard technique, "breaking" a prisoner will not get the right information. The intent of the interrogator in Guantanamo is to establish the facts. This contrasts to many cases in the Gulag where torture would be a punishment for infractions and where the guilt or innocence of an individual was totally inconcequential. The US has no interest in detaining innocent people longer than they have too because it is very bad PR. It is just that there is a very grey band with the men in Gitmo who's actions and deeds prior to their capture are not clearly identified and who's motives could be sinister. It takes a lot of work to determine if it is safe to release them (please bear in mind the US has released "innocent" men who turned out to be operatives or in one case a Taliban Field Commander ~ just like there are genuinely innocent Afghans who were setup by others to get bountys and who's identity and stories had to be corroborated).

I do not in any way shape or form approve of the deaths in custody, they are disgusting and do not occur when a suspect is worked on properly. Kicking detainees while they are tied down is wrong and those responsible must be tried and punished accordingly. There must be accountability at every stage. Having a working system will require the tribunals to go ahead, but they are delayed time and time again as the legal framework is nailed out (rights of appeal etc.).

The US domestic legal framework does not accomidate for terrorists operating outside the US. They are captured fighting on battlefields against US soldiers without wearing uniforms and violate sanctuary (the very action of being ununiformed while carrying concealed arms puts innocent lives at risk and gets civilians killed ~ it goes against the one of the fundamental principles of civilization, one that emerged from the middle east) - they are not entitled to POW status and there is no reason to afford them all of those rights. Holding illegal combatants is the right course of action, identifying exactly who they are and then proceeding is also the right thing to do.

There are marked differences between Gitmo and a Soviet Gulag, one may as well compare it to a Nazi concentration camp.

best post i've read in a long time.

the point being made here is not that what's going on in guantanamo is a good thing... it's just nothing in comparison to what went on at the soviet gulag's, and what continues to go on in other parts of the world today. i have a hard time not seeing the politics behind AI's slamming the United States 100 times more than any other country, when there are systamatic rapings, beheadings and other atrocities going on throughout other parts of the world. Comparing the US's holding of prisoners who represent no country to rapings, beheadings and mass murders is outrageous. Anyone who can in all honesty compare the two has lost all sense of reality.

Is what's going on in Guantanamo wrong? Maybe... probably yes... but I don't know a better solution. As already stated, these people are not prisoners of war. They do not represent a soverign nation and therefore are not protected by Geneva. They are also not American citizens. This is a fight the likes we haven't seen before. There really is no real right or wrong answer, other than simply killing these so called soldiers on the battle field as opposed to taking them prisoner, but of course that would only cause more outrage.

Releasing these people, who's only goal is to see the United States brought down, certainly will not do anyone any good. Putting them on trial would only be a joke. Do you really want to see the likes of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed or Ramzi Binalshibh being let free on some legal technicality? Would that do us any good?

I'm troubled by the camp at Guantanamo... don't get me wrong. But I just don't see a better solution. If you have one, I'd love to hear it. Complaining about it and not providing a better solution is useless.
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Old 05-27-2005, 11:31 AM   #59
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Quote:
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I cannot speak for other countries. I can speak for my own.


No, you speak for yourself. You're WAY overgeneralizing everything. "We" do this, "we" do that. Way to paint 300 million people with the same brush.
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Old 05-27-2005, 04:25 PM   #60
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