Saturday, July 29, 2006

Abu Ghraib: The Las Vegas of Iraq

From Media Matters:

... nationally syndicated talk-radio host Jay Severin criticized President Bush for calling the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal "a mistake," stating: "[W]e took terror prisoners, and we treated them essentially to a week in Las Vegas. I have to pay good money to have that done to me." Severin added of Abu Ghraib: "I didn't see anything that equates with torture being done in Abu Ghraib. ... [E]xplain to me what it is that was so terrible at Abu Ghraib, but the facts don't matter anymore, you know, they walked around naked. Big deal."
After reading this, I have to ask what Mr. Severin uses as his safe word. Obviously this man is into some really sick games.

It's absurdities like this that not only make me question people's morals, but make me question their intelligence. For example, waterboarding isn't something you do behind a speed boat on Lake Mead.

Donald Rumsfield may write "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours?" but he knows very well, or he should, that the comparison is absurd. Detainees are not given offices without chairs. What this implies is a deliberate PR spin, like that used in campaign ads to give the public a nice cozy feeling about actions that can easily turn deadly.

If the motive for torture is military intelligence then doing anything that threatens the life of the detainees threatens the ends being worked toward. If the detainees' lives are treated casually then we have no choice but to believe that the motive is NOT military intelligence.

To use the example from an earlier blogathon post, V. I confess: I am!

'You hold a terrorist who knows the location of a diffusable bomb which, if exploded, will kill x million people. Do you have the right to torture him/her to find the bomb?'
If we say yes, how do we justify killing the sources of information so valuable that ethics must be thrown out the window?

From Human Rights First

Most troubling among all of these cases are those we describe as detainees tortured to death, a number we put at 8-12. These are detainees who were beaten, suffocated, or otherwise died in circumstances meeting the definition of torture set out in the federal law banning the practice, which criminalizes acts “specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.”
Each of these deaths represents a setback in the war on terror. Either because we are losing valuable information or because these people were tortured simply to make us feel safer.

It isn't just those who have been charged with abuse who need to answer for the deaths of detainees, it is also those who created the environment where abuse is something people would pay for on a Las Vegas getaway and those who will buy that analogy because to do otherwise would be depressing.

Marcella (like my other posts this one will be cross-posted on my personal blog)

15 Comments:

Blogger The Heathlander said...

Thanks Marcella. The stupidity of those on the right (and, depressingly, in power) when it comes to issues like torture is just astonishing, and can never be pointed out too often.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Marcella, first off, please to meet you! Haven't had the pleasure and seeing all those smart posts, I need to bookmark you for continued reading!
I have had a full day with the kids, outings, and cooking a mean curry that was (what's new), too hot for me but with enough raita to slather on my plate..edible! My husband loved it. Now, the kids and dh are off to the community pool to leave me in peace and quiet and hopefully some blogging. Heathlander..are you awake still? Who's on next? I can volunteer to go next but I have to say, did you guys not surpass the number of posts (56 did I see that correct??) of 48? The usual suspects have been diligently at work and I think we could start up our own veritable torture round table! All you needed to know about the dirty work of torture..
all of you, Per, nice to meet you too, same kudos apply! 'Ya'll' have done some great writing..I hope I have something left in me to write, but I will gladly try..
so..give me a time slot, I'll fill it..
Ingrid

5:42 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Ingrid - I'm afraid you miss counted (as did I). We've had 23 completed posts so far, and we've filled eight time slots - that's 31 in total.

Yes I am awake still, although I am starting to feel it. Probably not the best time to mention it, but I have never managed to stay awake a whole 24 hours in my life...

Ingrid, we have a slot open from 10:00PM onwards (I'm not sure what that is in your time - basically in four hours' time, onwards - we are free.

If for some reason you are unable to be there at that time, you can always write a post and a save it as a draft, and I'll post it at the right time..

5:48 PM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

I will answer that right wing creep in the only language that he can easily understand...

In Las Vegas, they keep their thongs on for $34.95 and they're willing to run around naked on stage. Big difference there, pal.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

heathlander..I have been awake for more than 24 hrs but that was traveling from Singapore to Cyprus with some stop overs...phooo...
when you say 10, which time zone do you mean? I am central time..
Ingrid
(you're almost there!)
Ingrid

5:50 PM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

I just reread that first paragraph and Jay Severin is creeping me out. I don't want to know where Mr. Severin gets his kinky kicks in Las Vegas. I have a few ideas but I'm trying to repress those mental images.

5:53 PM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

BTW I've been awake for 24 hours before. It was just two nights ago when I was awake for 22.

I might need to make a run to the convenience store in the middle of the night to get some Code Red Mountain Dew. We'll see how I do around 1am.

5:54 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

robbie - yeh, good luck with that. My mind is too tired to conjure up anything, let alone sleazy pictures of Jay Severin..oh eurgh! I guess I underestimated myself..

Ingrid - cheers. I think I mean PST.

5:55 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Some worrying news from the Blogathon front page:

"Blogger has planned an outage between 9-11 PST. There is no way on their site to contact them. If you have a contact at Blogger, please let me know right away."

5:58 PM  
Blogger Dr. Strangelove said...

I went to Vegas last year. I don't recall seeing the torture chambers. Maybe I stayed on the wrong end of the strip.

I am sure plenty of Iraqis would be happy to give Mr. Severin the Abu Ghraib treatment if he likes it so much.

6:03 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

"I don't recall seeing the torture chambers"

You obviously never tried to cheat at a Poker game...

6:09 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

PST..ahm..woops, that makes for midnight my time. Ok..If I cannot stay awake till then (I have been up late) I will put it in draft..
and if I get inspired..I'll try for two. As the louisianans say, it'll be a little lagniappe.
Ingrid
btw...if there will be a power outage..does that mean you'll be up for 26 instead?? good grief...

6:17 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

OK, cheers Ingrid. Nah, I dno't think so...if they can't get word to Blogger, then I guess everyone will just have to miss out two posts. Which will be a shame.

6:24 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Oh, look:

"False Alarm!

The blogger who sent me the notice was actually looking at an old posting. Thank goodness"

We're alright.

6:24 PM  
Blogger De said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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12:33 AM  

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