Sunday, May 09, 2004
I'm reading the Robert Fisk articles I've missed over the last few days. Bad idea if I want to avoid posting -- here's the last few graphs from one of his latest:
Not long after the occupation of Baghdad in April of last year, we got our hands on videotape of the whipping of Iraqi prisoners by Saddam's security police.
I'm not sure which circle of hell the victims were enduring in the 45 minutes of sadism which I still have on one tape. They are whipped, they are kicked into sewers and they cower like dogs. And why were these war crimes filmed? I thought at first that it was intended for the enjoyment of Saddam or his disgusting son Uday. But now I realise the videos were taken so that the prisoners could be humiliated. Their suffering, their pathetic pleas for mercy were to be recorded - to add the final layer of degradation to their fate. And now I realise, too, that the pictures of the Iraqis so cruelly treated - so tortured - by the Americans, were taken for precisely the same reason.
Someone decided that the photos would be the final straw, the breaking point, the moment of capitulation for these young men. Make them simulate oral sex. Make them look at the penis of their best friend. Get a girl to admire their attempted erection. This was truly Saddamite in its perversity. So let's, as the Americans say, get real. Who taught Lynndie and her boyfriend and the other American sadists of Abu Ghraib prison to do this?
I used to ask who taught the Syrian and Iraqi secret police to do this. The answer to the latter question was simple: the East German secret police. But the answer to the first question? Well, we have been told that there were "contracted" interrogators at Abu Ghraib.
I have reason to believe General Janis Karpinski, the luckless prison commander who is going to be dumped out of the army for interrogations over which she had no control, knew "outsiders" were questioning her inmates. She was never allowed into the interrogation room. And I can see why. So, no doubt, can she.
So who were these mysterious "interrogators"? If they were not CIA or FBI staff, who were they? Several names are already doing the rounds - journalists claim they have no final proof - and a number, I understand, hold more than one passport. Why were they brought to Abu Ghraib? Who brought them? How much are they paid? And who trained them?
Who taught them it was a good idea to get a girl to point at an Arab who was being forced to masturbate, to humiliate an Iraqi by hooding him with a girl's lingerie?
We are not just talking "sick" here. We're talking professionals. President Bush at last apologised yesterday to the Arab world for this filth - only, no doubt, because of the latest picture on the front of The Washington Post - but the constant, insistent refrain from US officers that these were a tiny group of unrepresentative Americans makes me very suspicious.
Lynndie and her boyfriend were not part of a "rogue" unit. They were told to do these despicable things. They were encouraged. This was an order from someone. Who? When can we see their pictures, their identity, their passports, their orders?
Yes, it's part of a culture, a long tradition that goes back to the Crusades; that the Muslim is dirty, lascivious, unChristian, unworthy of humanity - which is pretty much what Osama bin Laden (now forgotten by Mr Bush, I notice) believes about us Westerners. And our illegal, immoral, meretricious war has now brought forth the images that betray our racism.
The hooded man with the wires attached to his hands has now become an iconic portrait, every bit as memorable as the picture of the second aircraft flying into the World Trade Centre. No, of course, we haven't killed 3,000 Iraqis. We've killed many more. And the same goes for Afghanistan.[Source -- The Independent]
Quick end note: Hersh also picks up on the aspect of using photography to further the humiliation of the prisoners in his article linked below. Another observation; this really is turning into a sort of holy war. The U.S. soldiers participating in this stuff have arrogantly tried to align their cause to Christianity. This is not the Christianity I practice, nor do I think millions of Christians around the world want their beliefs connected to these acts. It is, however, unfortunately only a drop in the bucket when compared to the negative image that's been spawned of Islam. It is sad to say that the extremists on all sides appear to be winning and their efforts to attach truly evil acts to the faiths of literally billions of people are having the desired effect.
Andrew 10:12 PM : |
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