July 10, 2007

The Honor Of Enemies

Richard Cohen writes about his discovery of a photograph from 9/11 that he had put out of his mind, but that CQ readers have probably never forgotten. The picture showed Palestinians joyfully celebrating the mass murder of 3,000 Americans in four terrorist attacks, the final one aborted by the victims themselves before the plane could reach its final destination. Cohen correctly diagnoses their hatred of America -- and then explains why we can't address it:

Still, the chief reason for the cheering on Sept. 11 was U.S. support for Israel. Sometimes that support has been mindless and sometimes it has been over the top, but fundamentally it is based on certain truths. The first is that Israel is a legally sanctioned state, created by the United Nations in 1948 and recognized soon after by most countries, including -- amazingly enough -- Cold War adversaries the United States and the Soviet Union. The second truth is that at least one Islamic state (Iran) and a host of militant organizations -- Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and, of course, al-Qaeda -- fervently wish for Israel's destruction. There is no way the United States could appease these groups and not, in the process, trample on its own moral values. Israel on occasion is wrong -- and the settlements are an abomination -- but its existence is right.

Granted, George Bush and his calamitous war -- not to mention his swaggering unilateralism -- have made matters worse. It's hard, for instance, to overstate the impact of Abu Ghraib in the Arab world. When a couple of years ago my driver in Jordan brought up the abuses at that prison, he became visibly upset. He was a college graduate who had been abroad -- what might be called Westernized. Yet the wanton contempt for Islamic and Arab sexual taboos was almost more than he could take. Soon, he had to stop talking. All in all, Bush's presidency has been a tear-down for America's image. The next president will have to start almost from scratch.

But, in a way, America has little choice about being hated in some parts of the world. The United States is never going to be truly popular as long as it insists on adhering to certain principles. Russia, which is creeping back to totalitarianism, does not have this problem. China, which is already authoritarian and obstructionist on Darfur, does not have this problem. Cuba, which is authoritarian, obstructionist and vile, also does not have this problem. Many Serbs hate America for the NATO bombing of that country, but the bombing stopped the killing in the Balkans. Tell me that was the wrong thing to do.

I agree with Cohen in the first and last paragraphs above, but the middle paragraph is nothing but twaddle. George Bush did not order abuses at Abu Ghraib, and neither did Don Rumsfeld. Abu Ghraib resulted from a lack of discipline one of the units assigned there and a lack of oversight by its officers. Those responsible were court-martialed and sent to prison, and the general commanding that unit got sacked. And while it certainly did give us a black eye in terms of our image, the idea that it somehow outstripped the murders, tortures, and rapes conducted their under previous management is preposterous.

However, in his main point, Cohen is dead on. For six years, we have heard people say that America must address why people like the Palestinians hate us so much that they would cheer our deaths. What they mean is that we have to abandon Israel, as Cohen notes. We've known that for decades, and we have refused to respond to it. Israel has been the one stable democracy in the region with Western values such as free speech and free practice of religion, while the lunatics who cheer for mass murders have no respect for our values. Why should we align ourselves with them?

Americans want to believe that everyone can be our friends. We would certainly like that, and thanks to our diversity, we can relate to a wide range of cultures and sensitivities -- but we seem to have a blind spot about values and motivations. Not everyone wants American friendship, and even if we did abandon Israel, they would still hate us for other, secondary reasons, such as our support for moderate Arab oppressive states like the Saudis. The more radical populations hate us on our own, regardless of Israel, precisely for the values of free speech, gender equality, and religious expression that bind us to our Israeli allies.

Does anyone want to give those values up, as well as turn on our reliable friends? What kind of nation would we be if we did? What would we win with the friendship of those who ululate in glee at our destruction?

We make our share of mistakes, and Abu Ghraib qualifies as a big one. That isn't what America is or where our values lie. Cohen makes a big mistake in arguing that it does under any presidency, and the swift punishment of those responsible demonstrates the fallacy of that thinking. The response showed that we take our values seriously, even in how we deal with our enemies. I will also note that we have seen how those who hate us and array themselves against us treat Americans they capture, and we can see their values clearly in how they handle themselves.

I'd rather have them as enemies than friends.


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Comments (54)

Posted by swabjockey05 | July 10, 2007 5:52 AM

Good points Captain.

It seemed to me the main point of his piece was the Palestinians dancing in the streets after 9/11….then he says: “Granted, George Bush and his calamitous war -- not to mention his swaggering unilateralism -- have made matters worse.”

They hated us so much that they were dancing in the streets…but…but…wasn’t that several months BEFORE the “calamitous war” started ? How much “more” do they hate us now? Do the ghoulish trolls have some kind of measuring device?

Posted by B. English | July 10, 2007 6:52 AM

One reason the US is loathed, is because it will not negotiate with terrorists, and terrorist/ rogue nations. This fundamental value goes back to America's earliest times, when in the late 1700's America refused to pay tribute money to rogue North African states for "protection" against nationally sponsored (Muslim) pirates. (US independence meant that US merchant ships were no longer protected by the England.)

Meanwhile, other nations, including France and England paid off these rogue states and put up with murder and enslavement of their merchant sailors.

Posted by Boludo Tejano | July 10, 2007 6:57 AM

After 9/11,when many said that a reason for 9/11 was that the US supported Israel and not the Arabs, I was reminded of a conversation my mother had with a Palestinian Christian from the Bethlehem area, a student of my father's, back in the 1960s. In response to his statement that the US supported Israel and not the Arabs,my mother reminded him of Eisenhower in 1956. Soon after Nasser's nationalization of the Suez canal, the British, French, and Israelis had invaded Suez. Eisenhower unequivocally ordered the British, French and Israeli governments to withdraw their troops. The Palestinian Christian's response? Eisenhower did it only because of the Russians. Conclusion: the US is damned if we do, damned if we don't "support the Arabs."
Some years later, the father of this Palestinian Christian visited us in the US. The father expressed his strong dislike to us of the Israeli occupation. The father had also given his children some advice well before the Six Day War in 1967.The father, who was employed in the Jordanian civil service in the West Bank, told his children to get of of the West Bank. The Muslims will not let Christians advance, they will favor Muslims over Christians for promotions, he informed his children.

Posted by syn | July 10, 2007 7:07 AM

Of course Abu Ghriab and George Bush are the reason why Arabs hate America, nothing to do with the incendiary rhetoric about the Great Satan Ameriki preached in Mosques.

Personally the way Richard Cohen writes about his closet self-hating jew I get the sense that he would have rather had his ancestors fried in the German ovens than to have Arabs hate him.

Posted by Fight4TheRight | July 10, 2007 7:09 AM

" I'd rather have them as enemies than friends "

Those are the BEST eight words you've ever entered onto this blog, Cap'n Ed.

Posted by The Yell | July 10, 2007 7:16 AM

"When a couple of years ago my driver in Jordan brought up the abuses at that prison, he became visibly upset. He was a college graduate who had been abroad -- what might be called Westernized. Yet the wanton contempt for Islamic and Arab sexual taboos was almost more than he could take. Soon, he had to stop talking. "

Funny, Cohen thinks going to a Western college reduces susceptibility to BDS.

Posted by Pine Knot | July 10, 2007 7:49 AM

Yes, Mr. Cohen ignores the savagery Islamics practice in the name of their religion, and in furtherance of their own aims. Lebanon was once 70% Maronite Christian. Today, thanks to the Arab birth rate and violence against Christians, that number has fallen to 30%. The Jordanian father was a wise man, when he counselled his children to get out of the West Bank.

Posted by sherlock | July 10, 2007 7:50 AM

Every Abu Graib photo was taken on one night-shift.

The reason it looms so large is that the MSM used it to attack us, and thus it serves as a universal excuse for our enemies and their brainwashed followers.

Anyone who talks about Abu Graib isn't worth trying to reason with - they think in slogans as they have been taught to by the media.

Posted by the fly-man | July 10, 2007 8:09 AM

Couple of questions: "Has the administration properly sold to the American people the conflation of US and Israeli interests as being indisputably indistinguishable? Is it in our interests, worth sacrificing blood and treasury, to assume an attack against Israel is an attack against us?

Posted by LarryD | July 10, 2007 8:35 AM

fly-man, they hate us and the Israelis for a lot of the same reasons, and if Israel didn't exist, they would still hate us.

We aren't Arab, we aren't Muslim, and we're prosperous and successful. They, on the other hand, are poor and still 17th century. We are a rebuke to their pride.

So explain to me, why the #@!! should we abandon the only ME country which shares many of our values.

This really is a cultural/religious conflict, and making nice will only get you stepped on. Arabs will at least respect strength, and they see appeasement as evidence of weakness.

Posted by DCM | July 10, 2007 8:41 AM

“Many Serbs hate America for the NATO bombing of that country, but the bombing stopped the killing in the Balkans. Tell me that was the wrong thing to do”.

Richard, that was the wrong thing to do.

See ' We bombed the wrong side?" where Canadian Maj-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie explains how we helped Albanian Muslims ethnically cleanse Serbs from Serbian territory.

Maj-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, now retired, commanded UN troops during the Bosnian civil war of 1992.


(The original National Post (Canada) doe not appear to be online anymore.)


We helped the wrong side and created unnecessary tensions with Russia for no gain for ourselves.

At least we generated at great deal of good will among the Islamic street - didn’t we?? Well, no, but at least it gave Clinton a pretty safe way to look like he was willing to use military force to protect someone even if not to protect the US.

Posted by Counterfactual | July 10, 2007 9:05 AM

What is it with conservatives and torture (or prisoner abuse)? They write whole articles on how torture is justified because who wouldn't torture someone who knew where a ticking time bomb is. They support the President in saying the Geneva convention treaties on how to treat prisoners are quaint and obsolete. When Donald Rumsfeld ordered interrogators at Abu Ghraib to 'take the gloves off', they cheered him without any thought as to what that actually meant. Then when information about prisoner abuse becomes public, they profess they are shocked, shocked that prisoners are being abused. However, they always hasten to add, no one should think that all the pro-torture propaganda coming from the conservative political world or Bush's belief/orders that we are no longer bound by old morality or law in any way makes them responsible. No, any abuse is always and only the fault of the lowest level functionary we can find.

I suppose this is what Bush meant when he talked about bringing responsibility back to the White House during his campaign

Posted by gregdn | July 10, 2007 9:11 AM

Yes, they hate us which is why trying to bring them democracy is a fool's errand.

Posted by David M | July 10, 2007 9:26 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 07/10/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by RosaLisa | July 10, 2007 9:37 AM

My father survived the horrors of Omaha Beach. A few years later, he assisted in the reconstruction of Germany. He even married a German woman before he returned to the USA to finish his military career.

And Cohen's driver can't handle some pictures of a few Muslims being humiliated at Abu Grahib? I sure don't need friends as weak as him.

Posted by jay k. | July 10, 2007 9:51 AM

"...George Bush did not order abuses at Abu Ghraib, and neither did Don Rumsfeld..." So you are saying it was Cheney then? I know you can't be so naive as to believe it was just some mis-guided soldiers and lack of oversight by General whats-her-name.

Posted by Chris | July 10, 2007 10:01 AM

Funny how Abu Ghraib is the cudgel that never goes out of style. Never mind that it was the military that found out about the abuse, and began the investigation. Never mind that the investigation was conducted under a free press. Never mind that the prosecutions and penalties were public. Never mind that the people in charge had their careers ruined. And never mind that none of these things could have happened in any Muslim country.

Posted by dave | July 10, 2007 10:10 AM

"...while the lunatics who cheer for mass murders have no respect for our values. Why should we align ourselves with them?"

Israelis were arrested for high fiving each other and cheering the 9/11 attacks while watching the buildings burn in person. Does that mean that the US should not align themselves with Israel either? I'll agree to that.

Posted by docjim505 | July 10, 2007 10:14 AM

jay k.,

I hope you're being sarcastic. If not, then let me ask if you've ever been in the military. I have, and it's (unfortunately) conceivable to me that a bunch of unsupervised junior enlisted men would do something so stupid. In my basic training platoon, there were some guys who wanted to give a blanket party (i.e. savagely beat) another recruit to "motivate" him. In my own unit, we had guys get arrested for driving in a military vehicle around one of the towns near the post, pointing their (unloaded) weapons at citizens. Dumb, dumb, dumb, but it happens.

Or do you take the opposite tack, that Bush would PERSONALLY call Lyndie England and tell her that, when she wasn't screwing her boyfriend, to put panties on a detainee's head and lead him around on a dog leash?

Posted by ibfamous | July 10, 2007 10:14 AM

Sherlock, you are a moron to defend Abu Graib. The techniques and positions used there are standardized, those soldiers didn’t make them up on their own and we know that the same techniques were being used simultaneously at other military prisons.

And B. English, what’s this horseshit about not negotiating with terrorist, were you sleeping through Iran/Contra?

The reasons we’re hated won’t fit on a bumper sticker and most of them are not our fault, however, Georgie has done more to inflame and enlarge this hate than should have been humanly possible. The neoconservative foreign policy is ill conceived to the point of dangerous and Georgie will go down in history as the jackass who thought it would work.

Posted by B. English | July 10, 2007 10:35 AM

Thanks for thei history lesson.

Those neocons are so eeeeeeeeeeeeevil!

BTW, your tin foil hat's showing . . .

Posted by ibfamous | July 10, 2007 10:39 AM

wow, powerful response, i guess you told me.

Posted by jay k. | July 10, 2007 10:54 AM

I've never been in the military...but then neither has the guy who is behind the torture...Dick Cheney. Major General Antonio Taguba was. I would rather believe his account than your sheer conjecture. Do some reading and get back to me.

Posted by ibfamous | July 10, 2007 11:03 AM

yo docjim, in my military unit nothing was secret. whoever you are you have someone directly above you who is directly responsible for your actions, so they tend to keep abreast of those actions. to suggest that these highly unqualified soldiers were left alone night after night with out any supervision is ridiculous. a facility of that sort has no secrets.

Posted by the fly-man | July 10, 2007 11:19 AM

Why aren't the Germans responsible for the formation of the Israeli state and the displacement of the Palestinians? After all the jews were given the land after the world recognized that 6 million jews were slaughtered by the nazis. Tell me the state of Israel would have been as easily founded in palestine if the atrocities of the Germans hadn't happened. i just wish that the Administration would just come out and tell us in unequivocal terms that we are never going to accept a Palestinian state in the currently occupied territories around and in Israel. Regardless of whether the poor bastards could govern for themselves or not. We are paying dearly for our facade of democratization as a vehicle for peace involving tribal units of Muslim populations. It's manifest destiny all over again. Just admit it.

Posted by docjim505 | July 10, 2007 11:34 AM

jay k.,

Wow. Smeared Cheney both as a non-vet AND hinted that he ordered the Abu Ghraib abuses. Great two-fer. Are you trying to imply that Taguba has evidence that Cheney ordered the illegal events at Abu Ghraib, because I think that's information known only to you and the voices in your head.


I'm glad to know that the officers and NCOs in your unit were completely, totally, 100% informed about everything that ever went on, even in the wee hours of the morning. This was not my experience during my military service, and I think I can safely say that none of my family or friends who were also in the military every experienced such total control by their superiors.

But you're right about one thing: it IS hard to keep a secret. That's why the Army was investigating Abu Ghraib long before the MSM and the filthy dems in Congress ever even heard about it.

BTW, what were the soldiers "highly unqualified" to do? As I understand it, they were merely supposed to guard the prisoners, something that I would think MP AIT would have qualified them for. They took it upon themselves to have a little "fun".

One last note about leadership. This is from the Taguba report regarding BG Janice Karpinski, the commander of the morons at Abu Ghraib:

During the course of this investigation I conducted a lengthy interview with BG Karpinski that lasted over four hours, and is included verbatim in the investigation Annexes. BG Karpinski was extremely emotional during much of her testimony. What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony was her complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among its soldiers. [emphasis mine - dj505] (1)

I seem to recall Karpinski whining when the story broke that "they wouldn't let me in" at Abu Ghraib. Guess she wasn't quite as good as the officers you've had. Frankly, I can't imagine even some of the dumbasses I had to deal with being quite as incompetent, and she wasn't an exception: Taguba's report reads like a laundry list of incompetent and derelict officers and (to my shame) NCO's in the 800th MP Brigade.


(1) Taguba Report, "Other Findings / Observations", para. 2.

Posted by gaijin88 | July 10, 2007 11:43 AM

The left says Abu Ghraib, I say Al Qaeda Torture Manual. The left saturates us with Abu Ghraib, but says nothing about gouging eyes out of the socket, using a blowtorch on human flesh, and severing hands with an axe. The left holds the U.S. to an impossibly high standard in conducting warfare, but holds terrorists to no standard - essentially condoning and supporting the terrorists barbaric behavior.

Posted by Tim | July 10, 2007 11:58 AM

Wow. What a hot news story, eh?

Anything to distract from the lowest approval rating in history and the announcment that the Chief Law Enforcement officer lied to Congress, and that Bush is losing even more support from his own party.

But all that pales in importance of a picture of cheering Palistininas, right?

What next? Engaging stories about Brittany and Paris?

You're doing a heckava job, Cappy.

Posted by Sam | July 10, 2007 11:59 AM

In all fairness, the original article said that "Bush's war" made the hatred worse, and that the Abu Ghraib abuses were a big issue.

That doesn't make the claim that they were sanctioned, just that they had a big PR impact. Which is true.

I'd lay it on the Bush administration that they have not articulated our position and values well enough. We are not running an effective propaganda machine in the Middle East.

Posted by MarkW | July 10, 2007 12:32 PM


Would you be so kind as to give me the page number in the army manual where it instructs interegators to put women's panties on suspects heads, and lead them around on dog leashes?

If you can't, can I presume that your claims that these techniques are straight out of the manual are just more of your paranoid delusions?

Posted by Ken Hahn | July 10, 2007 12:51 PM

It is impossible to overstate the effect Abu Ghraib had on Richard Cohen, It's effect of the average Arab was almost nonexistent. Yes, it is regularly quoted as an excuse for some Islamic barbarianism, but like the Danish cartoons it is just an excuse. Even Israel is an excuse. The Muslim world hates the west because we have prospered while they have failed.

If we withdrew from the middle east, helped the Arabs destroy Israel and gave them a trillion dollars to build an Arab paradise there, it wouldn't take a decade until all the money was spent, the Palestinian state collapsed and al Qaeda ruled Arabia. And they'd still hate us. And the American left would still make excuses for them.

Posted by Sirocco | July 10, 2007 1:06 PM

Looking for some form of agreement on the Palestinian issue is _not_ equivalent to "abandoning" Israel.

I am fully in favor of providing military assistance and backing in guaranteeing Israel's existence. I am in line with maintaining the existing blockade of the Gaza Strip, given Hamas' recalcitrance in acknowledging Israel's right to exist.

However, Israel needs to budge too. In particular, Israel needs to remove settlers from the West Bank (which it has said it would do, but not in fact done in any significant way). From the Palestinian side, that's going to be a necessary (and, to my mind, not unreasonable) condition of any long-term agreement in the region ... and making that point is not "aligning" with Palestine.

Posted by ibfamous | July 10, 2007 1:18 PM

Very good MarkW, of course they're not in our manuals, that's why they're illegal, but if your serious in saying that the positions that were being used in Abu Ghraib were not standardized and I’m not talking about humiliating men with underwear on their heads – I’m talking about techniques like the one shown in this picture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:AbuGhraibAbuse-standing-on-box.jpg ) which goes back to the Vietnam war, a conflict none of these MPs were involved in. Did they make these techniques up on their own or were they shown the technique by private contractors as they would testify later?

And docjim, yes, my superiors were responsible for EVERYTHING that went on under their command, ESPECIALLY in the wee hours. I’m sure that over in the mess tent your officers weren’t as concerned about what was happening under their control, but if your in charge of prisoners of war, and suspected terrorist, then you damn well better know what’s going on under your watch and to lay if off on the “highly unqualified” (I think the facts bear me out on this one) subordinates is disgraceful.

Posted by jay k. | July 10, 2007 1:34 PM

cheney's position as the lead person on torture is crystal clear. you can't support him and not support torture.
the left expects the united states of america to act to a higher standard than al queda. this is a pretty basic concept. if you don't understand why then you need to sit down and attempt to think it through. i know you want to get all jack bauer of 24 on those terrorists. but you and scalia need to remember that that is just a fictional tv show.

Posted by docjim505 | July 10, 2007 3:01 PM


Let's be careful about terms. Your original post on the subject of officers and their responsibilities, you strongly implied (if not outright stated) that the officers in your experience "kept abreast" (i.e. knew all about) what happened in their unit. In your second post, you say that they are responsible for what goes on in their unit.

The first position is almost laughable; officers and even NCO's do not possess god-like omniscience. The second is perfectly reasonable and in fact is central to an officer's duty: he most definitely IS responsible for what happens in his unit, whether he ordered it, authorized it, turned a blind eye, or didn't know about it at all. It's a stern and uncompromising standard, and one that Karpinski not only didn't meet but apparently (judging from the excerpt I cited) didn't even understand.

You're right in that the "subordinates" were not especially well-trained, and I was wrong in my post where I wrote that MP AIT should have prepared them for the "simple" job of guarding prisoners. They apparently weren't properly trained. MG Taguba lays the blame where it belongs:

3. (U) There is abundant evidence in the statements of numerous witnesses that soldiers throughout the 800th MP Brigade were not proficient in their basic MOS skills, particularly regarding internment / resettlement operations. Moreover, there is no evidence that the command, although aware of these deficiencies, attempted to correct them in any systemic manner other than ad hoc training by individuals with civilian corrections experience.

4. (U) I find that the 800th MP Brigade was not adequately trained for a mission that included operating a prison or penal institution at Abu Ghraib Prison Complex. As the Ryder Assessment found, I also concur that units of the 800th MP Brigade did not receive corrections-specific training during their mobilization period. MP units did not receive pinpoint assignments prior to mobilization and during the post mobilization training, and thus could not train for specific missions. The training that was accomplished at the mobilization sites were developed and implemented at the company level with little or no direction or supervision at the Battalion and Brigade levels, and consisted primarily of common tasks and law enforcement training. However, I found no evidence that the Command, although aware of this deficiency, ever requested specific corrections training from the Commandant of the Military Police School, the US Army Confinement Facility at Mannheim, Germany, the Provost Marshal General of the Army, or the US Army Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. [emphasis mine - dj505] (1)

To the extent that I blame those "unqualified subordinates", it is for acting in ways that a recruit with only a few days of basic training under his belt should know are wrong (going back to my own experiences, nobody had to tell everybody else in the platoon that the blanket party planned by a couple of knuckledraggers was wrong; we knew that before we ever even arrived at reception battalion). Clearly, though, the officers and NCOs in the chain of command were derelict. They apparently DID spend most of their time in the mess tent (or in other conduct unbecoming; the Taguba report details these activities in an seemingly endless stream). They were aware - or should have been aware - that there were serious problems with training, discipline and morale among their soldiers, but did nothing to correct these problems. In short, the soldiers who committed the crimes at Abu Ghraib were f*** ups. They were allowed to be f*** ups by a chain of command that was almost wholly rotten from BG Karpinski on down.

What's missing from the Taguba report is ANY mention that all this was due to orders from George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, or Karl Rove. Indeed, BG Karpinski blamed her subordinates:

15. (U) BG Karpinski alleged that she received no help from the Civil Affairs Command, specifically, no assistance from either BG John Kern or COL Tim Regan. She blames much of the abuse that occurred in Abu Ghraib (BCCF) on MI personnel and stated that MI personnel had given the MPs "ideas" that led to detainee abuse. In addition, she blamed the 372nd Company Platoon Sergeant, SFC Snider, the Company Commander, CPT Reese, and the First Sergeant, MSG Lipinski, for the abuse. She argued that problems in Abu Ghraib were the fault of COL Pappas and LTC Jordan because COL Pappas was in charge of FOB Abu Ghraib.

16. (U) BG Karpinski also implied during her testimony that the criminal abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib (BCCF) might have been caused by the ultimate disposition of the detainee abuse cases that originally occurred at Camp Bucca in May 2003. She stated that "about the same time those incidents were taking place out of Baghdad Central, the decisions were made to give the guilty people at Bucca plea bargains. So, the system communicated to the soldiers, the worst that's gonna happen is, you're gonna go home." I think it important to point out that almost every witness testified that the serious criminal abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib (BCCF) occurred in late October and early November 2003. The photographs and statements clearly support that the abuses occurred during this time period. The Bucca cases were set for trial in January 2004 and were not finally disposed of until 29 December 2003. There is entirely no evidence that the decision of numerous MP personnel to intentionally abuse detainees at Abu Ghrabid (BCCF) was influenced in any respect by the Camp Bucca cases.

I think that deals (if anything can) with jay k.'s unhinged assertion that supporting Cheney is the same as supporting torture. Taguba didn't find that Cheney had anything to do with Abu Ghraib. Indeed, the word "torture" only appears once in his report, in reference to the morons tying electrical wire to prisoners to simulate torture. What the morons did was sadistic, juvenile, and gratuitous. That they did it is a black mark against the Army. That their officers and NCO's allowed / fostered an environment where this could happen is a bigger black mark.

But, again, there is no evidence of which I am aware that what happened at Abu Ghraib occurred because of orders, suggestions, or even hints from anybody at the White House or the DoD.


(1) Taguba Report, "Regarding Part Three of the Investigation, I make the following specific findings of fact:"

Posted by Only_One_Cannoli | July 10, 2007 3:16 PM

to jay k.

the left expects the united states of america to act to a higher standard than al queda.

No. That's disingenuous of you. Let's be honest, your crowd insists that America be 100% perfect in its dealings with the rest of the world OR withdraw completely.

Those al qaeda types you find to be morally equivalent to us do some pretty nasty things on a regular basis. Pull your head out of your puckering liberal sphincter.

Posted by jay k. | July 10, 2007 3:44 PM

you link to the report that Taguba himself has said is not complete because he was kept from pursueing it all the way up the chain of command...which kind of reminds me of Libby and his perjury and obstruction of justice which prohibited a full investigation. Hmmm...funny coincidence.
"Abu Ghraib was not an exaggeration, nor was it just a bunch of rogue soldiers who acted independently in committing hideous criminal acts in a time of war," Taguba said. "I suspected that they were influenced or instructed by senior officials who were acting from higher authorities on written or verbal guidance, most likely classified." Again, I will chose to listen to Taguba and not your sheer conjecture. You are entitled to your opinion of course, and you are correct, there is no concrete proof. But when you consider the signing statements and the extraordinary renditions and gitmo and on and on it's pretty clear what was happening. Unless you don't chose to see it...which of course is your right.

Posted by docjim505 | July 10, 2007 3:46 PM

jay k.,

Interesting. Have you got a link?

Posted by ibfamous | July 10, 2007 3:51 PM

Now isn't MI (military intelligence) a part of the department of defense and I’m pretty sure the army is part of the DoD... but that aside, Karpinski (how the hell does someone like this get command of such a facility?) testified, and you graciously provided the transcript, that MI had control of that area 24/7? And who has control of DoD? Who was supposed to be keeping an eye on and setting the tone for DoD?

Also, is it so surprised that an internal military investigation doesn’t use the word “torture” except when painting a picture of the low level scapegoats of their choice?

Posted by docjim505 | July 10, 2007 4:46 PM


Oh fer cryin' out loud! By your logic Rummy / Cheney / Bush / Rove must also PERSONALLY have to do with every PFC who gets an Article 15 because they "set the tone" in the Army, right? What's next? Press for articles of impeachment the next time some idiot E-1 gets drunk and crashes his car? Have the president thrown in prison for negligent homocide the next time there's a fatal training accident?

Did Rummy, Bush, Cheney or anybody in the White House or at DoD (perhaps I should say OSD to be more clear) ORDER what happened at Abu Ghraib or not? That's the crux of it. Karpinski, who presumably would have much to gain by pinning this on the White House, passed the buck to her subordinates.

If you persist in the belief that Bush and Co. somehow orchestrated what England and the rest of those f***heads did, then HOW did they do it? Did Bush or Rummy personally call England in the early hours when her officers (as usual, apparently) weren't looking and tell her, "Go grab some prisoners and stick dirty panties on their heads! Yeah, yeah, and tie a dog leash around their necks! BWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!"

Neither Karpinski nor any of the officers involved have said a damned thing about calls, letters, messages, or broad hints from the White House. As for the "MI" connection, Taguba cites MG Ryder's report:

Military Police, though adept at passive collection of intelligence within a facility, do not participate in Military Intelligence supervised interrogation sessions. Recent intelligence collection in support of Operation Enduring Freedom posited a template whereby military police actively set favorable conditions for subsequent interviews. Such actions generally run counter to the smooth operation of a detention facility, attempting to maintain its population in a compliant and docile state. The 800th MP Brigade has not been directed to change its facility procedures to set the conditions for MI interrogations, nor participate in those interrogations. [emphasis mine - dj505]

Now, MG Taguba disagrees with this finding to some extent:

... I disagree with the conclusion of MG Ryder's Team in one critical aspect, that being its conclusion that the 800th MP Brigade had not been asked to change its facility procedures to set the conditions for MI interviews. While clearly the 800th MP Brigade and its commanders were not tasked to set conditions for detainees for subsequent MI interrogations, it is obvious from a review of comprehensive CID interviews of suspects and witnesses that this was done at lower levels. [emphasis mine - dj505]

The best even Karpinski could do was to whine that the MI people gave her collection of drooling morons "ideas". If there is evidence that ANYBODY at the White House, OSD, DoD, CENTCOM, etc. told the idiots at Abu Ghraib to do what they did, I'd be interested in seeing it. All I've heard since this story broke a few years back is lurid and silly conspiracy theories that, somehow, Bush or Cheney or Rummy or Rove were behind it all. The fact that there is no evidence of this is considered to BE evidence:

... is it so surprised that an internal military investigation doesn’t use the word “torture” except when painting a picture of the low level scapegoats of their choice?

Yep. Bush, Cheney, Rummy and Rove, the clever swine, were stupid enough to use as their minions idiots like Lynndie England who were so moronic as to take pictures of their illegal activities (conducted at the behest of the White House without the knowledge of anybody in their chain of command!), but clever enough to make sure that MG Taguba sanitized his report so that they didn't get caught.


Posted by bayam | July 10, 2007 6:15 PM


As you know, everything is relative. If some people cheered inside a Palestinian refugee camp, can you really be surprised? Have you ever been to Palestine- how can you be so absolutely certain that an entire people hate Americans so much?

If you talked with Americans who have spent time in Palestine, you'd learn that the hatred you describe doesn't exist. Yes, the Palestinians hate Israel, but the US is not Israel. Don't get the two confused.

In reality, the Palestinians share many of our Western values and, despite all that their people have been through, it's still a relatively safe place to be as an American or Brit. The PLO has always been a secular, and not a religious, organization. (Unlike Hamas, which was basically created by Israel.)

If you want to blame someone in the Middle East, you should target Iran or Syria. Your absolute, burning hatred of the Palestinians isn't justified.

Posted by ibfamous | July 10, 2007 7:03 PM

well doc, you seem to have worked yourself into quite a frenzy. by the way, i don't think i ever said anything about georgie or cheney... but you sure went there fast.

Posted by red | July 10, 2007 9:01 PM

Lets not forget an earlier mix of military aggression and sex which would offend the prurient Arabs. When Bill Clinton was under pressure from Congress, what did he do? He launched cruise missiles.

Don't think that this didn't unleash hatred...

Several critics of the U.S. raids repeatedly stated that President Clinton launched the attacks to divert attention from his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern.

At the rally in Khartoum, the podium was decorated with pictures of Clinton and Lewinsky and bore the slogan, "Clinton: Screw Monica, not Sudan."


Actually, I think our position in the Mideast went into a tailspin after Clinton revealed his contempt for Arabs by killing them in this cruise missile attack.

The direct line of command is much brighter and provable here than the murky line through "Flaming Jack" Karpinski. It was a sad and embarrasing day to be an American. Too bad the media didn't do FOUR MONTHS of stories about this.

Posted by red | July 10, 2007 9:13 PM

BTW the liberaltard places a lot of stock in General Tagabu. Of course, he's probably going by the liberal press's accounts of what General Tagabu said. Not that ibstupid didn't include a link. Does anybody know what Tagabu actually said?

Posted by Del Dolemonte | July 10, 2007 9:56 PM

red sez

"Lets not forget an earlier mix of military aggression and sex which would offend the prurient Arabs. When Bill Clinton was under pressure from Congress, what did he do? He launched cruise missiles."

That's irrelevant-the dawn of recorded history after all began in January of 2001.

The facts that Bill Clinton''s own Justice Department indicted bin Laden for being in bed with Iraq in 1998 is not important.

Likewise, Richard Butler was wrong when he said Soctt Ritter was in the tank for Saddam.

And the fact that the anti-war mob's hero, UN "Weapons Inspector" Hans Blix, had previously been duped by Iraq isn't relevant, because it happened before the comet came in January 2001

Posted by gil | July 10, 2007 10:32 PM


Your interpretation of events is a bit unfair my friend.

The missile attack by Clinton on Osama was wrong? What did you expected him to do? Nothing because he was under investigation for a BJ by a partisan hack impersonating as a "Prosecutor"?

Is it your idea that the guy could not go after terrorists because of Monica? Or did he have to ask Ken Star foe permission??

Hans Blix was not finding WMD's in Iraq because there were no WMD's in Iraq. Now the way you put it is like if Hans Blix was some kind of Inspector Costeau. That's slander. That's dishonest. Mr. Blix is a professional, not a partisan. Sorry he did not follow the Neo Con Party Line. Next time offer him a job in the Cabinet.

The fact is Mr. Blix was not finding WMD's, was asking for more time to find them, and patience (sounds familiar) and Bush simply did not have the patience or time that he now constantly requestes from us.

Had Bush had the patiece that he asks feom us now , he would have found that there was no WMD's, and therefore no reason for war..... And we would not be in the mess we are in Iraq.

Posted by red | July 10, 2007 10:32 PM

Of course, that was before recorded history. How ibstupid of me.

Posted by red | July 10, 2007 10:39 PM

The missile attack by Clinton on Osama was wrong....

The missile attack had a sexual component. The missiles were phallic, reflecting Willy's involvement. The timing was questionable, even Democrats admitted. You have a very intellectual explanation. Obviously the Sudanese didn't agree.

This is why Willy should have resigned. A president with no cloud of suspicion could have retaliated and not have been questioned. But hey, panties on his head - you know?

Posted by red | July 10, 2007 10:49 PM

-- and if the media had played this meme every day for FOUR MONTHS, and all the libtards had posted it over and over again for FOUR MONTHS you can be assured that the world-wide Arab street would be saying today that they hate us because of that sexually profligate, muslim murdering Bill Clinton.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | July 10, 2007 10:54 PM

gil sez

"Hans Blix was not finding WMD's in Iraq because there were no WMD's in Iraq. Now the way you put it is like if Hans Blix was some kind of Inspector Costeau. That's slander. That's dishonest. Mr. Blix is a professional, not a partisan. Sorry he did not follow the Neo Con Party Line. Next time offer him a job in the Cabinet."

1. First of all, the tired old word "neo con" won't cut it with me, and shows your bias.

2. Why are you hitching your wagon to Blix' star? He comes from a Norwegian noble family (even though he was born in Sweden). I thought you Socialists hated such people. In addition, he wasn't the first choice to do the job, because Russia and France vetoed the UN's original choice (big surprise, as both were in bed with Saddam)

In addition, Blix's work in the past few years proves that his work with the UN was a joke.

"I have my detractors in Washington. There are bastards who spread things around, of course, who planted nasty things in the media"...Hans Blix, to the far-left Guardian newspaper.

3. I'm not the one who claimed Blix was a hack, the liberal reference source wiki reported it:


"Blix and the IAEA never discovered the clandestine nuclear program that was "initiated" by Iraq in the 1970s on the site where Osiraq was harbored"

Posted by Dr.F | July 11, 2007 6:58 AM

You realize that the "Honor of Enemies" was one of Mussolini's eternal mottos? I think your use of the fascist phrase is very telling.

Posted by scruzman | July 11, 2007 12:55 PM

As a former military interrogator (96C) who ran POW camps during Vietnam, and, later the mock Soviet stype camps. were full of the Abu Grad type methods of obtaining essential elements of information quickly. The purpose of these methods were to confuse and humiliate the enemy in order to obtain information. Abu Grad reminds me of a fraternity initiation I went through. The techniques worked, caused no harm to the individual, and we got everything we wanted. And George Bush didn't tell me to do this, Jimmy Carter did.

Posted by scruzman | July 11, 2007 12:58 PM

As a former military interrogator (96C) who ran POW camps during Vietnam, and, later the mock Soviet stype camps. were full of the Abu Grad type methods of obtaining essential elements of information quickly. The purpose of these methods were to confuse and humiliate the enemy in order to obtain information. The techniques worked, caused no harm to the individual, and we got everything we wanted. Abu Grad reminds me of a fraternity initiation I went through. And George Bush didn't tell me to do this, Jimmy Carter did. Please stop whining.

Posted by ibfamous | July 11, 2007 4:06 PM

scruzman, i didn't realize carter was president during vietnam... no wonder everyone hates him