Politics of Torture
If the torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel is revolting, almost as shocking is the reaction of American politicians to the scandal. Under political pressure, President Bush grudgingly apologized only after the apologies by his subordinates. His description of the abuses as "abhorrent" failed to dampen the furor. In interviews with networks broadcasting in the Middle East, the president probably further inflamed the Islamic world by using the arrogant and commanding phraseology, "people in Iraq must understand..." and, "the people of the Middle East must understand..." The New York Times characterized the president's tone in the interviews by writing, "In responding to the Muslim rage over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, Mr. Bush sometimes sounded as if he was chiding angry Arabs for not appreciating the United States' good intentions."
At congressional hearings, Donald Rumsfeld, the embattled Secretary of Defense, repeatedly defended his failure to inform the Congress and the public about the abuse by claiming that he wanted to avoid violating defendants' rights in the abuse cases. Since when has Rumsfeld-who has jailed Iraqis, Afghans and U.S. citizens indefinitely and without due process-cared about defendants' rights? Only when they are the rights of U.S. military personnel and it suits his interest for political survival.
As for the members of Congress holding the hearings, they seemed more concerned about the release of the photos than with the barbaric behavior depicted in them. Would the behavior have been more acceptable if no photos or videos had been taken of it? Hardly.
Representative Mac Thornberry, (R-Texas) was outraged that the person in the U.S. government who leaked the photos was exploiting them to harm American efforts to end repression in Iraq. Similarly, Rumsfeld noted that the disk containing the photos-classified "secret"-had been improperly leaked to the media. But Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists noted that the government's classification system was supposed to be used to safeguard national security information, not illegal activities. Contrary to the spin of the administration and its allies, whoever leaked the photos did the American public a service by exposing the flagrant disregard of U.S. military prison guards for American values.
Meanwhile Representative Phil Gingrey (R-Georgia) was trying his best to keep blame at the lowest level possible. He advocated prosecuting the lower level "miscreants" but giving only a "slap on the wrist" to their superiors.
During the hearings, members of Congress fell all over themselves to argue that this aberration didn't stain the valiant efforts of the U.S. military to bring democracy and prosperity to Iraq. Unfortunately, the abuse may not have been an aberration and even if it was, the Bush administration's culpability should not be lessened.
Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, the Army's own investigator, reported that the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was "systemic." He charged that the Bush administration ignored complaints from the International Red Cross, which characterized the use of excessive coercion as "standard operating procedure" and the prison conditions as "tantamount to torture." The Army is investigating the circumstances of many prisoners who died in U.S. custody in Iraq. Brig. Gen Janis Karpinski, the defrocked commandant of U.S. prisons in Iraq, claims that the euphemistic policy of setting "favorable conditions" for interrogations was made at a higher level. Suspiciously, it took a while after Saddam Hussein's capture to declare him a prisoner of war, subject to the protection of the Geneva Convention. Was this period used to "soften him up" for interrogation?
Even if the torture and abuse shown in the photos are an aberration, the administration cannot escape blame. In any unnecessary invasion, the moral responsibility for any torture or abuse of prisoners, no matter how isolated, must accrue to those that set the war in motion.
The administration clearly tried to keep Congress and the public in the dark about the photos. General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted that General Abizaid, the Commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, reported the abuses and photos to Washington early on and characterized them as "a big deal." Apparently so much so that Myers didn't tell Congress and actively attempted to keep them from the American people. The day of the CBS "60 Minutes II" broadcast, Myers testified on Capitol Hill, but did not warn Congress about the impending release of the explosive photographs. Of course, Myers knew about their imminent disclosure because he had already attempted to delay the release of the photographs by pleading with CBS that televising the images would endanger U.S. troops. That rationale is unconvincing and comes from a man who should have worried more about the lives of U.S. troops at the time of the internal administration debates over going to war in the first place. In this instance, Myers' concern about soldiers' lives is about as believable as Rumsfeld's defense of defendants' rights.
All parties-the Bush administration, the uniformed military and members of Congress-appear to be behaving badly in this scandal.
Ivan Eland is the Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California and author of the book, Putting "Defense" Back into U.S. Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World.
Topics: Abu Ghraib, Crime And Justice, George W. Bush, Government And Politics, Iraq
You Americans are a sick breed. You defend terrorism when its committed by your own and denounce it when you are on the receiving end of it.
The only criminals in Iraq are the invaders, the US and its "coalition of the bought." Iraqis have every right to fight back against these terrorists. Maybe you should have yourself shipped off to Iraq since you're so gung-ho about the war....then again why are all you warmongering chicken hawks hiding behind computers safely in your homes...?
Also, technically speaking, we should be considering the detainees in question to be suspects rather than criminals, in as much as they have yet to be convicted of (or apparently even charged with) committing a crime. Also, in my opinion, B52s would serve better than torture chambers and presumably leaking glow sticks in defending Americans against future 9/11s - that and an adequate awareness of what is being done to other people, in other countries, all in our name. After all, slaughter would seem preferable to persecution - would it not? Granted, our "authority" in foreign places would seem limited to enabling the "liberated" to depart for places (hopefully) more accommodating - as far as I am aware. If we Americans do not like the thought of receiving all those "huddled masses yearning to be free" then perhaps we Americans should consider not endeavoring to impose our will on them (perhaps).
Peace be upon you.
I see it as our duty to oppose such things as brutality and genocide, whether such things are occurring in our own country or someone else's. In doing so, I do not believe we ourselves are entitled to steal anyone's property or impose our preferences - or Allah's preferences (as Allah wills that we understand them) - on anyone we subdue in the course of doing our duty, beyond simply opposing that which should not be tolerated. Obviously, I am surely forgetting a number of important points but that is basically the way I myself happen to see it.
In instances where the United States is inflicting torture, it is unconstitutional. The U.S. Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment - and torture inflicted upon uncooperative detainees is precisely that. I do not believe that the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General or anyone else can grant Americans "special dispensation" to act unconstitutionally in the course of doing their duty as Americans. American military personnel are (I presume) sworn to uphold the constitution rather than to obey various unconstitutional orders.
Incidentally, I have read that the government might try to hold Jose Padilla indefinitely, in complete isolation, simply because the interrogation methods used on him were considered state secrets. I think it is beginning to become clear to a growing number of Americans why that might be the case. Also, the expression "intelligence value" - when used to deny long-term detainees access to legal consul - apparently means "political catastrophe" (or so it may seem).
Brother Akbar - sorry for the confusion. I am grateful you asked for clarification.
I'm just asking, could you clarify what you meant br. Yahya by your last post?
who is utilizing torture to achieve their objectives?
Do you mean that if Muslims torture Americans in Iraq then it gives the US forces a reason to stay? If that is what you're saying then I want to know why a movie of Nick Berg being decapitated is allowed to be seen by the public, but videos of Iraqi women being raped, and Iraqi men being murdered in their prison by a slow and torturous death, why those videos are not allowed to be released, such as the one Iraqi man wrapped up in saran wrap and ice.
But if you are saying that if Muslims show support for torture in order to support our comments on this website, then those who attack Muslims WILL yes, attack us, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they are justified in doing so...
I might be wrong about your post, if I am please forgive me.
Allah knows best all that we do.
Torture, give me a break.You all are whining about some criminals (who, by the way, were trying to kill US soldiers) had to lie naked on each other?
Those US soldiers made mistakes and they will be held accountable.But, hello?..there is a frigging war going on.There are bigger things happening.
This war has nothing to do with Islam vs. Christianity or any other religion.It has to do with aggressively pursuing the terrorist network and destroying them before they attack us again.
Remember 9-11? You act as if it never happened.
But it did and we are not going to sit around and wait for it to happen again.
Where is the outrage over the 4 contractors who were burned, drug through the street, mutilated, and hung from bridges?
Where is the outrage over a young man, who foolishly thought he could work in the warzone without protection, who had his head cut off with a knife? There has been minimal denouncing of the act compared to naked Iraqi criminals.
I watched it and that was about as barbaric as you can get.
Are we perfect? No. Have we accidently killed civilians? Yes, its unfortunate but seemingly unavoidable in modern warfare.
How many of his own people did Sadaam kill?They're still finding bodies and mass graves.Everybody who wants Sadaam back in power, raise your hand.
Is war a good thing?No, but welcome to the cruel world.
We have made mistakes, but some of the statements in the article and the comments posted are outright lies and propaganda.At least try to be objective.I recognize that we have made mistakes.Who hasn't and what country is perfect?
By the way, the US media does not like the current administration and they are constantly trying to undermine it.If US soldiers were committing rape and murder as some of the comments say, then the media would have love to expose those "atrocities." But naked Iraqi criminals is the worst thing they can come up with? Waaa..W
there can be no doubt. Just as the abuse of US forces at the
hands of the Iraqi army earlier in the war was a crime. Islam
teaches that the mutilation of the dead is a sin, yet where
was the outrage over the desecration of the bodies of the
murdered American contractors. Or, for that matter, the
Paletinians taking pieces of the bodies from the murdered
Israelies so they could not be buried according to Torah
law? Let the group that has not commited attrocities
complain the loudest I say. As in any war, both sides are
You have posted an eyeopening fact i did not know about. it is bad enough that these filthy animals (aka US army) are occupying our holy land and torturing/humiliating/killing our brethrens but no, thats not enough for them, they have to rape anf pillage our sisters their aswell. It makes me angry to the point where i wish that non of the animals never come back alive from Iraq, espescially the offending animals. If i could kill them myself i would for it would be justice.
All i can say is that Allah will do justice and no one shall be spared for their crimes against Islam and its people, remeber Gulf War 1, most of the US army personel came back after the war and were struck by misterious and uncurable desieses and died. remember,Allah does not have to wait to punish people until judgement day.
As for this article, everything that has been prophesised that will happen near the end is coming true, one of the prophecie states, "The leaders will be the worst of the people" and as this article and everything else in life indicates, its true.
May Allah bless All the Muslims in the world and help us defeat this humiliation. Give strength and Help to those brothers and sisters who are being wronged and the people who are being opressed. may Allah give us guidence and and show us the right way, help us maintain Salat and good intention. may allah make every Muslim defenders of Islam and give us strength to rise.
These people are sick and twisted to the core. Its a "fraternity hazing" when they murder, torture and rape Iraqis yet its a crime against humanity when an American buys the farm. This is standard American practice.
We dont need to answer or apologize to them for anything. I am sick and tired of them, their incessent whinning and lies. Truly an evil nation with an evil people.
I seriously disagree with the claim that murder is worse than torture. Many victims of torture have said that during torture they have often begged for death. Torture is terrible and unbearable pain. When one dies, it's over.
I'd rather be in Nick Berg's shoes than the Iraqis who were raped, sodomized, mutilated with wild dogs, and horrifically beaten.
If Randy prefers suffering to death then that's his view...but I think it's nuts.
"I don't know how the hell these people got into our army," said Colorado Republican Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell after viewing what he called a fraction of the images.
"I saw cruel, sadistic torture," said Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif.
"What we saw is appalling," the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist of Tennessee
"Others, both Democrat and Republican, said the images renewed their determination that the abuse had to be fully investigated, and some said the pictures made them doubt that the mistreatment was limited to a handful of low-level soldiers."
Americans HAVE TO KEEP THE PRESSURE ON the Bush admin & co. We cannot let this atrocity be swept away. The Bush administration has dragged our country through the mud long enough!!!!!!!!!!
I have a photo of a sister and I pray to Allah (SWT)it will not be put out for public view. All she was going through made me color the photo as I cried,so she would be covered once again. The pain and terror in her eyes was what struck my stomach the worst. She is one of the 4,000 rape cases that have occurred in the desert, not in any jail. These cases are just doctor documented, no women wants to admit it. I wonder how many more unreported rapes have occurred that did not need medical attention?
I beg every independent journalist or humanitarian group to find out about the women and children being dragged to the desert and raped. I suggest that you go to every hospital and find out how many young girls have come in with their hymen broken while their mothers cry for the doctor to lie in the report.
No women will admit to the abuse of themselves or of their children because of the shame it would bring to their family and community, but that does not mean it does not exist. The doctors can tell the true stories through their medical expertise.
Sex is an obsession in this country. Check the history records and you will find sexually orientated scandals have plaqued our military a long time. The Phillipines is a good example. In our own Civil War, is was common practice to cut off the genitals of African-American males.
I am pleading to journalists to investigate the history of our militaries' records. We have a serious problem in this country and it needs to be addressed. Compiling an accurate historical account may be a start if the right people get to see it.
The American public AND it's politicians are outraged that U.S. soldiers could carry out such acts. There is a HUGE push throughout this nation to prosecute not only the soldiers that were directly involved, but those in charge of the prison and all the way up the later, as far as Rumsfeld and holding people accountable for these attrocities.
There is a push for the pictures to come out so that we can demonstrate that we are not a nation that turns it's back on the wrongdoings of our own citizens. And also to demonstrate that we bring such people to justice.
Poeple like this author are simply trying to inflame heated passions further by making the baseless claims that American politicians aren't responding appropriately.
People like this will likely never be satisfied with anything we do.
The mistake has already been committed by the world, and it was aided by no other than the closest neighbour of Iraq, Saudi Arabia. The crusade is just beginning. What I fear is that as more attrocities are being made public these three groups may get agitated and the methods of annihilation might change and then what everybody draid, "the clash of civilisations"(?) may unfold with all the consequencies that will make second world war look like a child's play. May Allah forbids. But the American people need to wake up from their sleep and feel the actions of the dumbs they elected(?) to power during the last elections.