May 12, 2004


There is no Arab country - none - in which prisoners aren't treated immeasurably worse than the victims of the sadists in uniform at Abu Ghraib.

Ralph Peters kicks off a mini wrap-up of various Abu Ghraib pieces. My own view? The prison abuse is abominable, in and of itself, but doesn’t speak to wider issues involving the war, the occupation, or the liberation of Iraq. The racism of some western coverage -- which assumed Iraqis would be universally hateful towards the US following publication of the torture photographs, as though Iraqis aren’t capable of telling good (liberation) from bad (naked men menaced by dogs) -- is blatant, and is refuted by sites like Iraq the Model, among others. Iraqis, more than most, are aware that good and evil can co-exist within nations. Anyway, the wrap-up:

In Canada’s Globe and Mail, Laura Robinson writes that the abuse nearly reached the level of hockey hazing:

The brutal sadomasochistic acts themselves are hardly original. They are strongly reminiscent of the initiation rites some soldiers themselves report taking place at the start of their military service.

The truth is, they also bear a striking resemblance to what junior and NHL hockey players have told me formed part of their own initiations in playing hockey in this country.

That via Ed Willett. Dennis Prager questions media priorities:

One day, a Sudanese black will scour the world press archives to find out what the world was preoccupied with while her family and hundreds of thousands of other Sudanese blacks were raped, enslaved, ethnically cleansed of their lands and murdered. She will learn the world was deeply concerned with a couple of dozen Iraqi men photographed in humiliating sexual positions.

Musa Keilani is quoted here on related matters of outrage imbalance. Rachel Ehrenfeld raises similar issues:

While the world is busy denouncing the United States for the deplorable behavior of a few soldiers, it is oblivious to growing incitement by Islamist clerics against America and the West. Calling for jihad earlier this month in London, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammad told his disciples: "All Muslims of the West will be obliged to become his sword" in a new battle. At the same time, another Islamist, Imam Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, is preaching in London that "it's okay to kill [those who] work against Islam, by slitting their throats, or by shooting them."

Blogger Cicada catches The Guardian in its latest contradiction, wherein it first denounces “coalition partner” Britain as implicated in the Bush regime’s crimes before declaring of Bush:

More important, however, is his international policy agenda, which has been consistently unilateral and destabilising.

Consistently unilateral -- but with partners. Guess it makes sense to The Guardian.

(Much thanks to contributor J.F. Beck)

UPDATE. You want your abuse of prisoners? Click here.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 12, 2004 05:35 AM

So, who is more responsible for inciting the murder of Nick Berg: The idiots who took the pictures at Abu Ghraib, or the idiots at CBS who released them to a bloodthirsty Islamic world? Of course, from what we've seen, the bloodthirsty Islamic world didn't need Abu Ghraib as an excuse.

May all of the Islamists roast in hell.

Posted by: BarCodeKing at May 12, 2004 at 05:50 AM

They slit Daniel Pearl's throat years before the US was in control of Abu Ghraib; they've been circulating films of Chechens jihadis slitting Russian throats for years.

The Abu Ghraib story has bugger-all to do with their barbarity.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at May 12, 2004 at 06:15 AM

I expect the Islamists to overplay their hand once again, and the American public response may well be to say, "go ahead and torture the bastards. Do whatever it takes to get the point through to the murderous scum."

I truly don't think the American Left (or Progressives or whatever those ijjits is calling themselves today) or the bien-pensant in Europe understand the basic American psychology. We'll leave you alone if you leave us alone. We'll lend a hand if you ask. We'll compete hard and shake hands, win or lose after the competition. We'll celebrate your victories and mourn your losses. We'll try to be good neighbors. We'll play by any rules we can agree on.

But. If you push us, and if you harm us deliberately, and if it looks like you mean it, well, we'll do our damn best to be sure you change your mind, whatever it takes. We won't shirk at doing whatever dirty work it takes, if you make it take that. I don't mean break international rules, such as truly exist. I do mean you can't count on us "playing nice" if you don't. Were I you, I think long and carefully about it before opening up the "Gates of Hell."

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at May 12, 2004 at 06:20 AM

Now what are the odds that CBS and every newspaper in America and Europe will have a picture of an American contractor being beheaded in response to photos of sexual humiliation? 5:1?10:1? Who'l l give me 20:1? What are the odds that every news outlet on the face of the earth will rage at this horrifying display? Who among the press will suggest that the entire Arab world, indeed Muslim culture itself has shown itself to be rotten to the core by the example of these few men? Nobody? Why? Because it would be untrue? That didn't stop them before.

Posted by: Kerry Is Unelectable at May 12, 2004 at 06:24 AM

What about all the prisoner abuse in North Korea? You know, where women are forced to strangle their newborn babies and entire families are experimented on with chemical weapons. Lets talk about them for a little while.

Posted by: Oktober at May 12, 2004 at 06:41 AM

Rest in peace, Nick Berg, and my condolences and sympathies to his family.

Burn in Hell, Al Zarqawi and the rest of your barbaric brethern.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 12, 2004 at 06:54 AM

Brave Islamic jihadists, 'avenging' their fellow Muslims on a helpless prisoner, while wearing black hoods. Profiles in courage, every one of them.

They are animals, masquerading as human. I would never use the word 'man', as that denotes someone worthy of the title.

No such disguises on our leash holders, who will rightfully also face the consequences of their actions.

But headlines are already emerging that the family of Mr. Berg blames Bush and the MPs in those photos. I'm sure the apologists will be ramping up the excuse/blame train, instead of focusing on the core fact.

They are despicable animals.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at May 12, 2004 at 06:57 AM

Hockey hazing?

Since when do they beat people to death and dispose of the bodies without trace in hockey teams?

Rape as hazing?

You can minimise this as much as you like but the damage has been done. And there's more to come.

Posted by: bongoman at May 12, 2004 at 08:38 AM

'" They are animals, masquerading as human. I would never use the word 'man', as that denotes someone worthy of the title." :

"tough" Iraqi men under the heels and attached to the leashes of WOMEN (and relatively small women, at that) sends a very powerful message to the "street."

Don't screw with the Americans. Oh, they'll "apologize," be we know that when the hearings are over, and the attention is off, they can do what they want.'

We must avenge Mr. Berg's, Mr. Pearl's, the Falluja Four's brutal, barbaric deaths.

Posted by: Tom at May 12, 2004 at 08:42 AM

So it's about vengeance is it?

Such noble aspirations.

Posted by: bongoman at May 12, 2004 at 09:06 AM

Since when do they beat people to death and dispose of the bodies without trace in hockey teams?

You've obviously never been involved in youth hockey.

Posted by: R C Dean at May 12, 2004 at 09:09 AM

Vengeance is very therapeutic, Bongoman. Once arseholes dead, or humiliated into submission, they don't worry you anymore.

But let's be fair, horses for courses etc. If settling scores isn't your cup of tea, the next time some rug-kissing son of a bitch cuts the head of a fried, family member or compatriot, you go and give old Abdul a nice big hug.

Posted by: superboot at May 12, 2004 at 09:16 AM

"the next time some rug-kissing son of a bitch"...

This is starting to sound more and more like Little Green Footballs...such insight.

Posted by: bongoman at May 12, 2004 at 09:37 AM

I hope Nick Berg's family sues CBS for inciting his murder. Inciting murder is not considered “free speech,” a shield which CBS frequently hangs behind to increase their profits.

Posted by: perfectsense at May 12, 2004 at 09:48 AM

Those who abused Iraqi prisoners will be subject to courts martial likely discharged, and perhaps prison time. And this is as it should be.

However those who beheaded Nick Berg will pay no penalty. Now that is a big difference between the US military and the other guys.

Oh, there will even be some that will write here and elsewhere that Nick Berg deserved what he got. There is no justification for what happened to Nick Berg!!!

Posted by: zzx375 at May 12, 2004 at 09:56 AM

"This is starting to sound more and more like Little Green Footballs..."

Good. Maybe you'll get disgusted and go away. Keep at it, guys!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 12, 2004 at 10:06 AM

What I am afraid of is that Islamofascist f#$&s out there are still really not afraid of us. What I am afraid is that we will have to demonstrate conclusively, that "you kill Americans you are a dead meat". It is not going to be pretty. I am not looking forward to it. But if it needs to be done, if it is a choice between my death and theirs, then there really is no choice, is there. Oh, God, and I always was such a gentle person… so much for that….

Posted by: Katherine at May 12, 2004 at 10:34 AM

This is somewhat OT, but one California Congresscritter apparently had a bad moment when he responded to a constituent's fax complaining about his vote against the condemnation resolution. This is at Citizen Smash's web site.

Said House Representative is Pete Stark (D-Fremont), who called the constituent back, and left a fascinating response on his answering machine. Said recording was sent to a conservative radio station, where you can listen to it.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 12, 2004 at 10:36 AM

I think it is time for Dan Rather to step down for the good of the network. Also I think he should appologise to the family of Nick Berg. Then he should appologise to the American people and the military. Also he should do some meaningful act of contrition to our allies.

Posted by: Papertiger at May 12, 2004 at 10:38 AM

Oh, yes, JeffS. I've been enjoying this for few days now. Been listening to Barbara Simpson when they played the tape for the first time. Our representatives are such a charming, caring, humble bunch, aren’t they?

Posted by: Katherine at May 12, 2004 at 10:41 AM

Oh no, that would be one more chance for Rathers to shine as the star of his own ego-fest: "look at me being all contrite here." Blech. If he had any morals he'd disappear off the face of the earth, into a monastery somewhere or something like that, the way men who had totally disgraced themselves in the eyes of society used to do. But we don't make that kind of man any more -- at least, the ones who become anchorbeings aren't that kind of man. (I haven't forgiven Rather for his "Gunga Din" act in the first Afghanistan dustup, the one with the USSR. Every time he appeared on the teevee news in that absurd turban-and-shalwar-kameez get-up I about tossed my cookies in the vicarious embarrassment he was obviously unable to feel.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 12, 2004 at 10:43 AM

Whoops -- change that to "Gunga Dan," P.J. O'Rourke's nickname for him.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 12, 2004 at 10:44 AM

Yes, Katherine, it's so encouraging to know that our elected leadership is so inspiring. And that the power of the INTERNET can transmit their mistakes around the world so quickly. Accountability in action! It's almost as good as a recall.

re: Your statement, "Oh, God, and I always was such a gentle person… so much for that…"

I think that one can be gentle, and still do what is necessary, no matter how ugly it is, if you do only what is necessary, and no more. Killing people sucks, but if it's a case "Better him than me", so be it. Especially since the Islamofascists set the rules and the stakes.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 12, 2004 at 10:46 AM

I suggest seppuku for Dan Rather.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 12, 2004 at 10:48 AM

The Bunyip has his own, unique view of the happenings in Iraq, which seems to have gone down well with his academic colleagues...

Posted by: TimT at May 12, 2004 at 11:09 AM

Sudan is denying claims of genocide and the like.

I guess they would though, right? And that the UN will move to other priorities...

Posted by: Andjam at May 12, 2004 at 11:34 AM

Well, it's not like those were people who were killed or anything; only Godless Christians and animists.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 12, 2004 at 11:35 AM

Thanks, JeffS. The thing is, I did like our holiday from history. I always wished that everybody had a chance to get happy, and fat, and rich. I wish we were left in peace to make our crazy investments, create new industries and just get on with our lives. But the reality being what it is I believe we have no choice but to fight back.

Forgive me for being melodramatic, but I find the cry" Give me Liberty, or give me death" more and more appropriate.

Posted by: Katherine at May 12, 2004 at 11:54 AM

Yeah, isn't it a blast watching the mistakes of our "elected leadership".

Posted by: Sincerity Slips at May 12, 2004 at 12:30 PM

I'm sorry, SS, but I wasn't aware that we elected soliders and prison guards. Am I that out of the loop, or are you just being stupid?

Rhetorical question.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 12, 2004 at 12:56 PM

Was NICK jewish ?
if so does this mean anyone else gets a bullet in the back of the neck.
Was this the ritualistic murder of a young Jew ?
Like Daniel and the others ?
Is it not time to address the question of ritualistic Islamic killings ?

Posted by: DAVO at May 12, 2004 at 01:38 PM

"Rape as hazing?"

Sad, but true. There was a scandal a few years back where local HIGH SCHOOL boys were sodomized with a broomstick as part of their initiation for the football team. Seems one of the boys was badly injured and needed to go to a hospital.

Had been going on for years, according to the stories I read.

I've also heard of this happening in some colleges as part of the frat initiation.

It does sound cruel and unfeeling to have mentioned hazing in regards to the treatment of prisoners. But, a large amount of what I read was exactly the same as what would/does take place as part of different hazing rituals.

Humiliation and fear seem to be a big part of the hazing ritual. Secrecy plays an important role as well, which is why we seem to know about these 'rites of passage' (hazing) when someone gets injured.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at May 12, 2004 at 02:18 PM

'Outrage imbalance'

One guy gets his head on the cover of Time.

Another guy loses his head. (Read this earlier report.)

That's outrage imbalance.

Posted by: ilibcc at May 12, 2004 at 02:29 PM

bit off the subject but does anyone out there want to play "name that IDF body part"?

Posted by: godhead at May 12, 2004 at 03:11 PM

Hidileeho Sortelli.
I was alluding to the north-paw love-in your sparring partner, The One The Only JeffS, was having over..... an answering machine message (gasp).
And what a bad, bad man that Pete Stark is. Fancy suggesting that the focus should be on the people who put the policy in place that allowed the prison abuse to occur.
By all means, keep an eye on the elected leaders. But some perspective, please.

Posted by: Sincerity Slips at May 12, 2004 at 04:16 PM

Hey, Sincerity Slips! I see your grasp on reality remains unfirm.

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but up here, elected representatives don't insult their consitutents with impunity. Disagree with, yes. Argue with, yes. Set policy against their wishes, yes. Insult, no. Demean, no. Most Americans call it "respect" or "discretion".

There is no doubt Stark was exercising the perogatives of his elected office when he voted against the resolution; that's not the issue. However, Stark insulted Dow at least twice, on voice mail, in a response to a letter that Dow had the legal right to send, and Stark had the legal responsibility to read. And the moral responsibility to respect. Not like or accept. Respect. Failure to at least pretend respect is considered arrogant behavior.

I know of other congresscritters who have been voted out of office for the same offense (but under different circumstances). So it is not a trivial matter. Only the fact that Stark is in a staunchly Democratic district will prevent his being unseated. I suppose it's a Yank thing.

There! I used as many single syllable words as I could, so you should be able to follow this. Feel better?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 12, 2004 at 04:37 PM

Fancy suggesting that the focus should be on the people who put the policy in place that allowed the prison abuse to occur.

Mindless DNC Talking Point Alert! Since we all "know" Bush is the anti-Christ, anything bad that happens has got to be his fault, right? So what if those morons thought that prison duty was a joke. So what if those morons' commanding officers were derelict in maintaining discipline. So what if those morons are now facing court-martial, after a 4 month investigation, not some hasty CYA press release. Oh yeah, I forgot, in the post-modern world, no-one is responsible for their own actions; it's the fault of the sinister, faceless right-wing power structure.

Or is it, as the DUmbies are claiming, the Mossad?

Posted by: Spiny Norman at May 12, 2004 at 04:47 PM

Thank you, Spiny, I missed that, having focused on SS's obvious clueless approach to problem solving.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 12, 2004 at 04:55 PM

Thanks for the clarification, SS, you'll have to forgive me if I took the scare-quoted "elected leadership" from you out of context to be a jab at the Bush Family Torture Company.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 12, 2004 at 05:32 PM

. . .And just in case the increasingly bad aim of local anti-troll snarkery lands on me again, fellows, please understand that the reference to the Bush Family Torture Company was made sarcastically.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 12, 2004 at 05:36 PM

Wow, Spiny and The Real One and Only I'm So Lonely JeffS dive in with the tag-team smack down.

Try reading the links (your own, in JeffS's case).

The Senator made no reference to other elected representatives, his focus was on the commanders.

No mention of a sinister faceless right-wing power structure anywhere.

But do keep trying, both of you. It is sooooo cute when you try to pin the intellect badge on yourselves,and only succeed in sticking the pin in your own chest.

Posted by: Sincerity Slips at May 12, 2004 at 07:17 PM

Guys, I guess you didn't use simple enough terms for Silly Slut to read. Here, again, in 'Tardspeak:

[PUCE] Man say bad thing to votar no gud aaah...! Bush no wayyy tel mens smack guy no cloths on! At home. Mens no phone home! Do by self. Aaah! [/PUCE]

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 12, 2004 at 08:06 PM

Democrtic congressmen from Fremont are allowed to be as abusive as they want to be. Much worse then any prison guard. Fremont is a district so gerrymandered the GOP doesn't even bother running a candidate. The only possible way a dem from Fremont could lose his seat is by assassination. Pete Stark is a public fixture in congress short of finding dead hooker parts in his freezer (which will never happen cause the DC police are democrats too)

Might as well declair him a human monument to unresponsive representation in congress. Stark is the reason we have term limits in California state legislature. And we had to vote for term limits thought a referendum and a state constitutional ammendment. Boy them useless democrats sure don't want to let go.

Posted by: Papertiger at May 12, 2004 at 08:35 PM

Yeah, Papertiger, I had that impression of Stark. It's a sad thing when a congresscritter (of any party affiliation) forgets why they are in office.....ultimately, to represent the voters. The voters and the elected official may disagree, but that's a separate issue.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 13, 2004 at 12:42 AM

WSJ's Opinion Journal is today running with another example of what Tim calls 'outrage imbalance.' Excerpt from 'Another U.N. Scandal: At Turtle Bay, North Korean dissidents find only indifference':

They were protesting the most horrific surviving totalitarian regime on the planet. They were making entirely reasonable demands. They knew what they were talking about. Among their number were several defectors from North Korea, who had come to New York after testifying before Congress about horrible abuses of human rights in North Korea, alleging biological and chemical weapons experiments on prisoners in the slave-labor camps of Kim's regime. One of these defectors, Dong Chul Choi, who escaped along with his mother in the mid-1990s and has since become one of an incredibly small handful to receive asylum in the U.S., was wielding a megaphone, calling in both English and Korean a few words that deserve to echo around the world: "Free North Korea."
There were perhaps half a dozen spectators. Apart from that, what registered in the surroundings on that lovely spring day was complete indifference. Tulips bloomed in a nearby flower bed. Traffic went by on First Avenue. Across the street, the long row of flags fluttered in front of the U.N. From within the landmark headquarters, as far as I could see, no one emerged to take a look.

Kofi Annan didn't even ride on down astride his white Segway. What a surprise.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 13, 2004 at 01:34 AM

My remarks did not (obviously, to anyone who actually read them) refer to any posted links, but to the mindless parroting of leftist propaganda by condescending twats such as Sincerity Slips, who has no interest in any real debate, but in clumsy attempts to belittle her/his perceived inferiors.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at May 13, 2004 at 03:37 AM

I got that message, Spiny Norman. Worry not about this node in cyberspace.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 13, 2004 at 04:11 AM

No worries about you, The Real JeffS; but maybe I should have addressed it directly to the idiotarians out there. Their condescending twaddle can really get on my nerves.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at May 13, 2004 at 07:04 AM

Yeah, I have to use [sarcasm] [/sarcasm] tags myself now and then.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 13, 2004 at 07:51 AM

It's about time someone mentioned the ethnic cleansing taking place in West Sudan. The ethnic cleansing by Arabs of the native black population!
Let's see, a 21 year war, 2 million dead, 70,000 displaced people, 10,000 killed in the last 12 months alone, and the Arab world is outraged cause a couple of dozen prisoners were abused?
The U.N. called the situation in Sudan, "the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world today", and what are the likes of Fisk, Pilger, Adams, McGeough & Co. obsessed with??? The all important job of putting the boot into America, yet again! Needless-to-say, as far as the "crisis" in Sudan goes, the U.N. has been as impotent as ever.

Posted by: Brian. at May 13, 2004 at 11:15 PM

Nick Berg was Jewish, and carried a Jewish prayer shawl with him, according to his father.

According to a Christian Science Monitor round-up, Berg told others Iraqi police suspected him of being an Israeli spy. Also, Berg's late aunt had been married to an Iraqi (religion unstated) from Mosul.

Berg's father signed an anti-war petition. He supported the war.

Posted by: Joanne Jacobs at May 14, 2004 at 03:53 AM