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Someone on another blog posted an email exchange he had with a WaPo reporter. The gist was the WaPo reporter wasn't sure all the good news amounted to a 'trend', so they weren't comfortable reporting the surge is 'working'. I loved his reply.
As well as I can remember it:

"It's a good thing you weren't reporting on WWII. Just try to think of a day back then when the American casualty count was 6".

Exactly.

The few remaining followers of Bush are getting pathetic.

For several years, the media propagated Your lies about victory being just another Friedman unit away.

Now they finally start publishing true but critical reports, and you start whining.

One can debate whether the situation in parts of Iraq has temporarily improved during the Surge (an adoption of the old-fashioned idea of using enough boots on the ground, anathema to Rumsfield, advocated by experts and this humble poster), but there is no doubt that the Taliban have been gaining ground in Afghanistan.

Face the reality: You wanted a little glorious war, You got it, You fumbled. Stop blaming the messenger (the evil liberal media and anti-American Germans) like some Parthian despot, but acknowledge Your mistakes and crimes, and try to repair the damages.

"... but there is no doubt that the Taliban have been gaining ground in Afghanistan."

Actually there is. Unlike you I get my information directly from people there. One area-wide operation in late summer resulted in around 2,000 Taliban killed with only 4 coalition casualties. For the Taliban that's called 4 steps forward and 2,000 steps backward -- not exactly "gaining ground."

@Tropby
another Friedman unit away.

What the hell is a Friedman unit?

Here's something the American media will NEVER report.

(h/t LGF)

LTC Stephen Michael at St John’s. LTC Michael told me today that when al Qaeda came to Dora, they began harassing Christians first, charging them “rent.” It was the local Muslims, according to LTC Michael, who first came to him for help to protect the Christians in his area. That’s right. LTC Michael told me more than once that the Muslims reached out to him to protect the Christians from al Qaeda. Real Muslims here are quick to say that al Qaeda members are not true Muslims. From charging “rent,” al Qaeda’s harassment escalated to killing Christians, and also Muslims. Untold thousands of Christians and Muslims fled Baghdad in the wake of the darkness of civil war. Most of the Christians are gone now; having fled to Syria, Jordan or Northern Iraq.
[]
Today, Muslims mostly filled the front pews of St John’s. Muslims who want their Christian friends and neighbors to come home. The Christians who might see these photos likely will recognize their friends here. The Muslims in this neighborhood worry that other people will take the homes of their Christian neighbors, and that the Christians will never come back. And so they came to St John’s today in force, and they showed their faces, and they said, “Come back to Iraq.

Come Home

The photos - well, take your mascara off first, it'll just get all over everything.

@Tropby

The media is a leftist propadanda organ aimed at sociliast litte twats like you. Thus keeping you misinformed and ignorant, you continue to gobble up the spoon fed tripe to further wrap yourself in false self-righoutness. It gets boring listening to you regurgitate it all. Your opinions are crafted for you, so you don't have to think.

Don Miguel: "One area-wide operation in late summer resulted in around 2,000 Taliban killed with only 4 coalition casualties."

A few years ago, the Pashtuns were debating whether they should support the Taliban or cut their ties with said madmen. Now their tribal leaders have rallied under the black turban, and the Taliban are making lots of money from opium production.

Remember the warlike tradition of the Pashtuns (see e.g. Kipling), their large population base (40+ millions IIRC) and their infiltration of the Pakistani intelligence service ...

Our NATO-Allies cry "Germans to the front!", citing a resurgence of Taliban activity. Are they lying? I do not think so.

@Pamela: For several years, Thomas Friedman regularly predicted success in Iraq in the next six months.

This stay-the-course attitude, just another six month, is being ridiculed by said term.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedman_unit

The church scene is moving, showing that most people are basically decent people.

But the ethnic/religious cleansing has already happened: About 2 millions left Iraq, about the same number are displaced inside Iraq, mixed city quarters have been segregated etc. .

Christians, Mandaeans, Yazidis, ethnic Turks and other minorities have little or no future in Iraq, sorry in the Islamic Republic of Iraq.

Oh, THAT Friedman. He lost me when he wrote an artilce about sitting down with some Saudi muckety muck, talking about Friedman's idea for and Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The Saudi sez "Oh, have you been reading the files in my desk drawer?"

I forget who broadcast it, but Friedman did a special on the fence the Israelis built/are building. All spontaneous encounters with the locals. Then, out of the blue, saunters up to Friedman - gasp! - a real live Palestinian! Just pure happenstance!

Dressed straight out of a Ralph Lauren advertisement.

Friedman is dumber than he thinks I am.

After all those years I'm still amazed by the toxicity that emanates from minds à la tropby.

Friedman also predicted that the schools churning out engineers by the thousands in China and India would prove a huge and insurmountable advantage for those two countries. Except many of these degrees proved no more useful than sending off for a diploma from the back of an X-Men comic book. And considering Thomas Friedman has been incommunicado from the internet for two years, behind the Times Select wall, it surprising anyone, except someone with an axe to grind and a touching faith in Wikipedia, would even pay attention. Plus, for what its worth, Friedman predicted that the next six months were critical and that things could get better. Much like saying he's fairly certain that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow.

The "Germans to the front" would only be accurate if the reference was to the Canadians, the Dutch and the the Americans. Why bother asking Germany to fulfill its NATO obligations when its obviouls that Germany has neither the will nor the ability to do so.

@Tropby,

"a resurgence of Taliban activity" does not equal "gaining ground."

And "Germans to the front!" means get off your ass and do your part.

BTW, you're welcome to give me your explanation for how a 2,000 to 4 ratio translates to "gaining ground." I think "on-the-job training" is quite a bit more accurate.

Quote this blog: "slaughtered...thousands" "bleeding...to death"


Yes, let us continue to support these GI actions in the Middle East. "Slaughter them" and "bleed them to death". What next? Drink their blood?

@Phil, Tropby...

all right, put up or shut up..
what is your solution to Iraq? What should have been done about Saddam?
How should the Israeli-"Palistinean" conflict be handled?

Just all hold hands and sing Kumba ya (sic)?

Or "Can't we all just get along?"

or diplomacy conquers all?


How should these things have been handled?
What should be done now?
Come on, now's your chance! Enlighten us stupid neo-cons!!!


All I hear from you are pot-shots, cheap shots, etc..
Dumb Bush, Brutal Americans etc..
and the Schadenfreude!!


That's why I favor the dissolution of NATO. Let the Europeans
be responsible for their own security. If they want Ami protection, great, the USA should sign mutual defense pacts. Something tells me most of Eastern Europe (Poland and the Baltics?) would jump at that offer.
But I am not sure the USA should provide security to Western Europe anymore.
Missiles in Iran? Not our problem. What do you think should be done, Mr. Euro? Go do it!

I am a former Democratic card carrying liberal.
Have plenty of problems with the Shrub.
But I did vote for him in 2004. You should have heard me scream when it was announced he carried Ohio.

BTW, I spent nine years in Germany. Just returned, and happy to be back.
Met many wonderful people, but also experience ugliness of AntiAmericanism first hand.


"what is your solution to Iraq? What should have been done about Saddam?"

How about diplomacy? If you have an argument with your neighbour you go blow his brains out with your .38 Special, right? Typical American.

168,000 coalition troops successfully doing their job every day isn't trend enough for WaPo? It is hard to ascertain the truth because of how bad almost all the reporting is. Most here know how to read between the lines and believe the positive news out of Iraq because . . . it has fallen off the front page these last few months here in the states. Horrible news, losing news, quagmire news, IED news, dead American news, has always been front page so it is not hard to figure out the larger meaning of a positive story buried on page C-28.
And, doing this is only necessary for those who don't know someone in the military. Otherwise you would already know that the stories have always been positive from those serving in Iraq. Oddly none of them are invited to give a "real insight" interview from ABC, CBS, NBC, MSMBC, NPR.

A "resurgence" in Afghanistan means the taliban realizes it needs to get back on the front page and evening news in the west (the real battlefield) because what they are doing on the ground changes nothing militarily. The taliban are saavy enough to know that they can't defeat the Coalition and if they can't get good "patriotic" liberals in the west to stop military operations against them, they will end up like al Qaeda in Iraq. Watching the mopping up operations in Baghdad by "the weak horse" is tough on radical islamic recruiting. The MSM in the west is assisting them by explaining it away as anything but, so spare me the pretense that the MSM in the U.S.A. or Europe is objective

Phil Posts: "How about diplomacy?" If you have a (an honest) memory you can't help but remember the 12 years of sanctions because hussein immdeiately violated the terms of surrender; the 17 broken/ ignored UNITED NATIONS resolutions that everyone winked about but no one seemed to care about; the 18 months of personal warnings to hussein of the coming consequences, 3 trips to the United Nations attempting to gain support; if one remembers the warnings from every major leader and every intelligence agency in the west... and lets not forget the warnings delivered repeatedly by every leading democrat from kennedy to hillary. So after approximately 14 years, how much more diplomacy and consensus should have been attempted?
Obviously one can disagree with the length or amount of diplomacy but it is just another damnable lie to pretend that there was a "rush to war" or as you put it, (suddenly, inexplicably, irrationally) blow his brains out with your .38 special. That is 14 years from pulling your capshooter out of the holster ~ finally pulling the trigger.

I suggest that what might be happening in Iraq is they have finally cracked the code and realized that as soon as things settle down, the imperialistic, capitalist, evil, infidel
"occupying" force will depart of its own volition. Kind of like they did when those world powers Panama (12 months) and the Philippines (18 months) demanded they go.

The truth is out there for anyone with a genuinely open mind and a computer. But, my gosh one just has to be willing to overlook so much that is right in front of us, to believe what modern progressive liberals want us to believe?

@amiexpat: Please quote any Schadensfreude in my posts: I only see disappointment and disgust.

Nonetheless, I shall answer Your questions.

-- Iraq : What should have been done --

Hussein was contained, the nuclear program had collapsed, the only chemical weapons left were decaying Phosgene shells (early WWI-tech) and the conventional army was was out of spare parts and lacked basic training.

Maintain the embargoes and inspections with posssible airstrikes and further sanctions; any realistic threat of lifting the embargo was gone past 9/11.

Attacking secular Iraq because some Saudi and Egyptian Wahabists committed 9/11 helped AQ. Look at the lives lost, the ethnic cleansing with 2+ millions (often the best educated) fleeing the nation and about 2 millions on the run inside Iraq.

A fraction of the resources in blood and gold spent on Iraq could have been used to turn Afghanistan into a model of a nation, this should have involved more help from NATO IMHO.

While we create some light industry and other jobs in Afghanistan, we invest massively into Fission, future alternatives and power savings at home, reducing our need for oil.

Then we turn the economic leverage and military flexibility on the Saudis and Pakistanis, forcing them to get their clerics and donations under control. At the whole time, we maintain the moral high ground using law enforcement as our main tool to combat terrorism, having military reserves available instead of a decaying occupation force in Iraq.

-- Iraq : What to do now --

Declare victory and run. Put the funds allocated for one or two years of occupation into some long term investments, and use this money to help rebuild Iraq after the violence has stopped.

A continuing occupation does little good: The ethnic cleansing has already happened, non-Muslims have already left, the Iraqi Army and Police a mere fronts for separatist militias, women have de-facto and de-jure lost their rights

etc. .

Switch the Focus to Afghanistan as outlined above; time is working against us over there.

Help the refugees by giving them green cards. Many are well educated, the product of a largely secular society, and may well prove to be an asset. Besides, it is the moral thing to do after the US intervention went so terribly wrong.

-- Israel --

I was always pessimistic about the future of Israel and the occupied territories.

15 years ago, there was some hope of a solution based on the 1967 border, but this was prevented by hardliners on both sides.

Likely outcome: Hamas will take over and launch more rockets at Israel, which will (over-)react with punitive raids, hatred will grow on both sides while an Arab demographic time bomb ticks in Israel proper. Not good.

The only chance is a unilateral Israeli withdrawal to a 1967 border with only minor corrections, a separation of both states by a wall/secutity fence at the border (not inside Palestine!) and massive aid to the Palestinians: They may stop their attacks, if they have something to loose. A few decades of separation may create local leaders willing to emulate Adenauer and de Gaulle. Quite unlikely, but the only possible happy-end.

-- Iran --

I am not afraid of Iranian nukes. MAD works. We just tell them that any terrorist nuke traced back to them ... would have very unpleasant consequences.

But I am willing to support an UN embargo against Iran, if it makes the US happy. No military intervention, sorry.

Should the US leave NATO, then Germany has to consider seeking an European alternative or going nuclear by itself (A few simple bombs would take about 6 months according to an old study, real stuff would take a few years. We already produce the subs and missiles used as carrier systems for Israeli nukes, so our nukes could be deployed - unlike Iranian ones.)

-- Put up or shut up: My questions --

The US kills POWs while torturing them, e.g. the Iraqi general in command of their air defenses, who died from blunt trauma after massive beatings.

A jurist who claims that a president can legally order torture is not laughed out of town, but becomes AG.

International law, including the Geneva Conventions which also protects US soldiers, is openly disregarded. The current legal position of the US is only accepted in the US and Israel.

Torture including anal rape and waterboarding is ridiculed as "initiation pranks".

Citizens of allied nations are kidnapped and tortured, then denied compensation and access to the US legal system.

US citizens are denied Habeas Corpus.

etc. etc . etc. ---

Yet the US electorate re-elected Bush.

What should US citizens do?

What should non-Americans do?

Answer both questions, and please avoid denying the facts ...

Tropby posts:
-- Put up or shut up: My questions --
The US kills POWs while torturing them, e.g. the Iraqi general in command of their air defenses, who died from blunt trauma after massive beatings.
A jurist who claims that a president can legally order torture is not laughed out of town, but becomes AG.
International law, including the Geneva Conventions which also protects US soldiers, is openly disregarded. The current legal position of the US is only accepted in the US and Israel.
Torture including anal rape and waterboarding is ridiculed as "initiation pranks".
Citizens of allied nations are kidnapped and tortured, then denied compensation and access to the US legal system.
US citizens are denied Habeas Corpus.
etc. etc . etc. ---
Yet the US electorate re-elected Bush.
What should US citizens do?
What should non-Americans do?
Answer both questions, and please avoid denying the facts ...

Tyranno's response :
I am somewhat new here tropby so I don't know if you are German or American ... but I can see you are well versed in the dogmas of the DNC, ergo the laundry list narrative of the western Main Stream Medias. A link or two attached to any of your statements/ accusations might have added at least a smidgen of credibility to them.

- What POWs have been killed? Where? Who is making the accusation? You ever wonder why there are no coalition POWS?
- What exactly did AG Gonzales say about presidential authorities on questioning prisoners? Did his response to the President use the words, "torture is legal?" A link to the document would have put this point beyond reproach or . . . shot it out of the water.
- What international law? The U.S. is a signator and abides by the Geneva Convention. Do you know what it says about "combatants out of uniform ?"
- What "current legal position" is only accepted in the U.S. and Israel?
- Who has been "tortured?" Do you know the defintions of torture verses abuse?
- Who has been "anally raped?" Documents? Evidence? Anything?
- Who, what, where, when, Why? Did the government make a statement on the cases?
- Who has been denied the right to Habeas Corpus? What were the circumstances? Why?

You seem to have much to be righteously indignant about ... I just wonder how much of it is true.
It is well neigh impossible to talk someone off of their emotional opinions and without any evidence, that is all you have offered here.

@:Tyrano

I am a German, as shown by my Teutonic cruelty to the noble English language.

I did not provide links, as my factual claims (recent US human rights abuses, treaty violations etc.) are generally accepted as facts outside of certain limited circles within the US, who seem to be in denial ... but once more into the breach:

About anal rape of children see Annex 26 of the Taguba Report, esp. the statement of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Detainee # 151108, which General Taguba considered credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence. I may add his statement from the New Yorker:" I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable."

About torturing POWs to death, see e.g. Iraqi Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mowhoush

"Do you know the definitions of torture verses abuse?", "Do you know what it says about combatants out of uniform ?" This may sound arrogant, but I do. I could explain said stuff, but I would have to charge You a Grundberatungsgebühr. ;-)

About Alberto Gonzales and torture, just read his memo written in 2002. I have to admit that American legalese is as convoluted as German one.

About Habeas Corpus, read about Jose Padilla. If You distrust Wiki (because facts have a liberal bias), then read the comments by the Cato Institute, a known bunch of anti-American leftists.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Padilla_%28prisoner%29
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3510

The truth about current politics in the US is painful if one has any philo-American feelings as I do, but one has to face the reality. Carl Schurz said “Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right.”, and a US patriot has to put the US right again RIGHT NOW.

@:Amiexpat

I assume that You are going to - as You put it - "shut up", as You fail to "put up".

@Tropby
"The truth about current politics in the US is painful if one has any philo-American feelings as I do, but one has to face the reality..."

Tropby, what does putting the US "right again RIGHT NOW" entail exactly? Also, do tell us- what is the "reality"? Tell us the final conclusion you are trying to make.

Or could it be you don't really have one? Could it be that your recipe is:
- sift the facts, leaving only examples of American failure
- cut away any context and/or perspective
- put in a bowl together with overly simplistic & conclusory understandings of complex international law
- get out your mixer, turn on high and whip it until it resembles a foamy/frothy meringue-type substance which can be easily and conveniently spread over weakly contrived arguments which have no real aim except to blacken the image of a nation, instill a feeling of foreboding dread which must be rectified lest we suffer some vague and ill-defined future calamity

OK- so the above is snarky and smart-assed, but if you really want to put up then please give us your predictions on America's long term fate. An economic depression? Worldwide collective revolt against the US? Basically, what is going to happen if we don't set things right as you would see it?

You can go blah blah blah all day with all of your "facts" but unless you draw some articulable conclusions which are reasonably quantifiable (i.e. saying "it's bad, getting worse" won't work), my conclusion can only be that you have no interest in thinking these complex issues out, don't care about putting things in perspective and your only aim is to rail against the US while never running the risk of having yourself proven wrong. If you are a confident in your own ability to observe and diagnose a nation on its cultural, political and military levels (current and future), then you should have little trouble with my request.

Ah, denial.

Followed by some unsubstantiated personal attacks and an amusing comment about "overly simplistic & conclusory understandings of complex international law", which totally disregards the ruling opinion of the international legal community.

Cute.

And I bet You read neither the Taguba report nor the memo of AG Gonzales.

About a long term prediction, here we go:

It is telling that You only fear an economic depression or a "worldwide collective revolt against the US". Your term "revolt" implies a subservient status of all other nations, which is quite arrogant.

The economy (military power is mainly its reflection)is important, but I also care about human rights, about the rule of law, about national values.

But do not fear, oh torture apologist, the loss of the moral high ground will not result in any major economic problems for the US or any real decline of its military might. Caveat: I am neither an economist nor a military expert.

It will simply fuel anti-Americanism abroad, because human rights violations are not en vogue.

There will be some loss of US Soft Power, but diplomacy has not been a strong point of the current administration anyhow. Getting things done internationally, maintaining or expanding basing rights and military access will cost more, because the US is no longer seen as basically a good guy but as a superpower with human rights problems and a dubious record of keeping international treaties.

Simply forget about America being a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere

- Tell me smart guy, what exactly do I deny and where exactly did I apologize/defend torture?

- Yes I read parts of the Taguba report and several memos from Ashcroft, Gonzales, et. al. (I was taking International Protection of Human Rights in law school at the time, fyi) Nobody here is denying that certain abuses and illegal torture took place. It happened, but picking out several specific instances of abuse while not putting it into perspective based on the scale of the military operation is wrong.

You also put entirely too much faith in your ability to intuit my own state of mind and attitudes:
- So I give two examples of potential negative future consequences for the U.S. Does this necessarily mean that these would be my ONLY concerns? (Both of them are pretty broad, anyhow) OF COURSE NOT! Should I have listed 3, 4, 5, 6?
- The word 'revolt' might not have been the best choice, but it comes to mind considering the number of times I've heard people accuse the US of global hegemony and attempted empire building. Maybe I'll just stick to my own vernacular.

It's very touching to know that human rights violations are not en vogue and that you care about human rights. Naturally, I seriously doubt you put in as much time worrying about violations in such places like Cuba, Iran, Syria, many of the former Soviet "Republics", etc. How much do you protest these regimes (many of whom have been engaging in such behavior for decades on a greater scale against their own people), and any cozy relationship your own government might have with them?

- Finally, as for the US being a shining city upon a hill....well I can't forget about it because I never really choose to believe in such stupid idealistic illusions. You might as well describe America like that magical land the Pied Piper of Hamelin lured the children away with because it simply won't break my heart to find out that America isn't really the place where "honey-bees had lost their stings, and horses were born with eagles' wings".
BUT do check back with me after about a year or so. You see, although I neglected to take immigration law in school, I am trying to enter the field of corporate immigration practice. If this area of law slows down and starts to greatly decline presumably because nobody wants to live & work here, then I'll know that maybe you were onto something. So far, the indications point in the opposite direction.

It’s not as though there is no common ground between Tropby and the rest of us. Your suggestions regarding leverage against Saudi Arabia and Pakistan bring up some interesting theories regarding the real motivations behind the war. However, as long as you come screeching in totally consumed with self-righteousness the conversations will never go anywhere.

"Tell me smart guy, what exactly do I deny and where exactly did I apologize/defend torture?"

"sift the facts, leaving only examples of American failure
- cut away any context and/or perspective
- put in a bowl together with overly simplistic & conclusory understandings of complex international law
- get out your mixer, turn on high and whip it until it resembles a foamy/frothy meringue-type substance which can be easily and conveniently spread over weakly contrived arguments which have no real aim except to blacken the image of a nation"
"putting it into perspective"

sounds quite apologetic/relativistic to me.

"How much do you protest these regimes"

Our little firm initiated criminal proceedings (erstattete Strafanzeige) against members of both the Kohl and Schröder governments. This failed, of course, but one has to start at home. We failed to organize support for judges defying Mugabe, but had some success in collecting funds for the Ukrainian democracy movement.

I participated in a EU program supporting the establishment of modern legal structures in Eastern Europe, teaching about the rule of law and the role of independent lawyers in St.Petersburg. I donated money to the local opposition, when Neo-Fascist parties were part of the ruling coalitions in Austria and Italy.

Maybe I should do more, but German lawyers tend not to earn as much as our US colleagues do, and I have bills to pay.

I care more about the failings of the US or of an European ally than about some Arab nation or China, as an alliance should be based on minimal standards.

"specific instances of abuse while not putting it into perspective based on the scale of the military operation is wrong"

The US largely avoided using torture (yes, I know there were some cases and facilities ...) while fighting Nazi Germany, a much larger operation against a much deadlier opponent.

"So I give two examples of potential negative future consequences for the U.S. Does this necessarily mean that these would be my ONLY concerns?"
"I am trying to enter the field of corporate immigration practice. If this area of law slows down and starts to greatly decline"

Both Your examples as well as Your benchmark deal with the economy. But one does not e.g. avoid torture because it is bad for the economy and might harm immigration, but because it is wrong.

Torturing my grandfather to death was wrong. Not because such actions by the Nazis damaged the German economy, which they did, but because torture and murder are wrong.

Being "totally consumed with self-righteousness" feels good. Sometimes one has to adopt a Manichean outlook, even as a jurist.

Tropby posts:

@:Tyrano
I am a German, as shown by my Teutonic cruelty to the noble English language. I did not provide links, as my factual claims (recent US human rights abuses, treaty violations etc.) are generally accepted as facts outside of certain limited circles within the US, who seem to be in denial ... but once more into the breach:
TY: Your English is excellent compared to my non-existent German and marginal French. Alas, I am a product of the U.S. government school system. Though not a jurist, I have endeavored to persevere on my own.
Reading your response isn’t convincing so I must stick to my point. To claim what is very much a disputable opinion as a ‘generally accepted facts” is subjective to the point of meaninglessness. It certainly doesn’t suffice when making the substantial allegation as you have here. Thoughtful people can disagree without being accused of being in denial. If anything your verbiage betrays your own bias. One must think like you or they are in denial??? And the best support you can come up with is that it is a “generally accepted fact?” Thin gruel to sustain an argument.


About anal rape of children see Annex 26 of the Taguba Report, esp. the statement of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Detainee # 151108, which General Taguba considered credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence. I may add his statement from the New Yorker:" I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.
TY: Some points of reference for anyone interested:
http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2004/08/09/abu_ghraib/index1.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A43785-2004May20.html http://www.npr.org/iraq/2004/prison_abuse_report.pdf
I have not heard anyone nor read anything attempting to defend or rationalize the systemic meltdown that happened at Abu Ghraib. But lost in the anti-Iraq war hyperbole is the fact that it was a U.S soldier who turned in his fellow soldiers. It was the U.S. military that conducted a very thorough investigation. It was the U.S. military justice system that prosecuted, fined, fired, relieved and imprisoned those involved, and then released the SECRET report. And it was the U.S. military that instituted doctrinal and procedural changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. So, I am left to wonder what else you think needed to be done and, what is it that you wish us to find this indicative of?


About torturing POWs to death, see e.g. Iraqi Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush.
TY: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mowhoush
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1094984,00.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/02/AR2005080201941_pf.html
This was only nine months after the start of the war. He was an admitted former Republican Guard general and a leader in the growing insurgency. While it is nice to imagine holding such high standards while sitting safe, warm and well fed in the U.S.A. or Europe… in the midst of war and in the interest of saving your friends lives extreme measures are bound to happen. But, once again it was revealed by U.S. other service members and prosecuted; and, once again I am left to ask what you wish us to infer from one case of abuse … that was prosecuted?
I know there are more examples than this one but I think it is a dishonest and absurd argument (modern progressive liberal?) to paint these tens of death in wartime with a broad brush as if it creates some sort of equivalence to the upwards of 400,000 unidentified corpses unearthed from mass graves in Iraqi that were the result of a systemic government policy.
http://www.fas.org/news/iraq/2000/02/iraq99.htm
http://www.afhr.org/download/english.pdf
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/13/iraq.graves/index.html


"Do you know the definitions of torture verses abuse?", "Do you know what it says about combatants out of uniform ?" This may sound arrogant, but I do. I could explain said stuff, but I would have to charge You a Grundberatungsgebühr. ;-)
TY: It appears that a number of third world tyrants (and euro-statists?) have created a quorum to dilute the rules on un-uniformed combatants. I just discovered this as I went to cut and paste the now non-existent paragraph on the illegality of being an un-uniformed combatant.
I think this just highlights again why the UNITED NATIONS and so many other supranational organizations are not taken seriously in the U.S.A. I don’t know who is behind rewriting this portion of the Geneva Convention, but when Cuba or Zimbabwe can sit on the “Human Rights” council; Iran or North Korea on the Disarmament Committee, and create rules for the world that they have no intention of abiding by … the system is horribly broken.
To highlight some of the absurdities that can arise from the rewrite:
http://www.theadventuresofchester.com/archives/2006/06/the_geneva_conv.html
http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/30237.html
http://spqr.townhall.com/g/aa6d969a-2d60-4b8f-9688-0d38bdb11cf6

About Alberto Gonzales and torture, just read his memo written in 2002. I have to admit that American legalese is as convoluted as German one. http://slate.com/id/2111962/ (I like Slate!)

About Habeas Corpus, read about Jose Padilla. If You distrust Wiki (because facts have a liberal bias), then read the comments by the Cato Institute, a known bunch of anti-American leftists.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Padilla_%28prisoner%29
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3510
TY: No matter how we may wish to feel about these topics, they are very much an open question until decided in Court. There are lawyers who agree and lawyers who disagree and in the pundit shouting match that followed each solved nothing. The U.S. Supreme Court has started to clarify the issues recently with some of its rulings.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-6696.ZS.html
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/28june20041215/www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/03pdf/03-6696.pdf
http://www.jenner.com/files/tbl_s69NewsDocumentOrder/FileUpload500/377/03-1027_decision_padilla.pdf
TY: I look forward and will respect the legal decisions of the hundred pound heads as they define those parameters for us. On the personal level I can say that as an ex military man who attended a couple of levels of SERE training I have been water boarded. It sucked but ~ eh voila . . . I am still here! The fundamental difference it seems to me, and the point necessarily purged from the anti-Bush, I mean anti-war claque is that all of the people “allegedly” tortured (Stress positions, loud music, temperature changes) by the bad ol’ U.S. will be rocking on their front porch telling their grand kids about what they did in the war. But that the coalition soldiers (beheaded, burned, mutilated) could share in that same future. (In my best Andy Rooney voice, “you ever wonder why . . . there are no Coalition POWS?)


The truth about current politics in the US is painful if one has any philo-American feelings as I do, but one has to face the reality. Carl Schurz said “Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right.”, and a US patriot has to put the US right again RIGHT NOW.
TY: With all due respect Tropby this sounds much too much like the “I support the soldiers but not the war!” obfuscation. The German version is “I love the U.S. but . . . ___________ (fill in the blank!)
History will be kind to George Bush once we all get out from under the cloud of the Bush Derangement Syndrome created for us by the left. I wouldn’t expect you to know U.S. history but the two most egregious examples of Presidents “destroying the Constitution” were those other “dismal failures” Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Miraculously, as perspective was gained on the threats in those times, the courts started reigning back in the assumed prerogatives of the president(s) . . . not at all unlike what is happening right now.

Much as the turn around in Iraq, and the democrat inability to respond to it, exposes another modern progressive liberal “heartfelt position” as nothing more than cheap political posturing, so will the next grand terrorist attack make George Bush’s actions, even with all of their fumbles and missteps, seem responsible if not down right prescient.

Well Tropby you might be surprised how much U.S. lawyers [don’t] make. As Tony Blair once said, one measure of a nation is by looking at how many people want in versus how many want out. In my estimation, this kind of measure has a lot to do with whether a nation is a “shining city upon a hill” and fueling anti-Americanism abroad. I was attempting to respond to your overstated metaphorical “shiny city”, so let’s not split hairs between economic vs. moral benchmarks.

Again, regarding torture: nobody here is trying to defend it. If you haven’t noticed, the whole purpose behind this blog is to try and put things into perspective. I’m not sure why you mentioned our war against Germany in WWII- unless you’re trying to imply that misdeeds today are somehow more widespread than in 1944.

Re: your previous posts about what should have been done. This is all conjecture but I’ve been told by a few people that their belief is roughly the following:
- Yes, of course oil** DOES figure into the equation. The idea being to help set up a stable democracy in Iraq by taking out Hussein, eventually increasing our dependence on Iraqi oil to the point where we could turn around and tell the Saudis where they can stuff it. Of course I don’t know whether this is true or not, but it’s not exactly the kind of plan that you would publicly announce to the world. Yes, everyone is aware that the Saudis are the biggest SOBs in the world when it comes to exporting terror & puritanical Islam, but trying to invade the sacred land of Mecca & Medina would make Iraq look like a church picnic.
- If Iraqi democracy were successful, then the hope would be that the citizens of other nearby nations would also push for their own reforms and follow suit. Naturally there were more dangerous nations and despots in the region, but again, in theory it’s best to aim towards the weakest state that would be easiest to take down. (Machiavelli might disagree of course) Thus, go for Iraq, as opposed to KSA or Iran.
- In line with what Tyranno said: the legacy of W hasn’t been written, and possibly won’t even be during his lifetime. In my view, fair or not, he will be judged more by the actions, successes and failures of those that precede him, both here and abroad. If, after some decades the middle east is a relatively stable, prosperous and peaceful place, then I believe W will be seen as a visionary who had the balls to take decisive action where other politicians would have simply opted for the status quo. The fact that he was vilified and unappreciated in his own time might even make him a more romantically tragic figure. This is neither an endorsement nor criticism of him- but I refuse to be yet another mindless myopic lemming who thinks he can unequivocally pontificate on W’s place in history before he even leaves office. History is full of figures whose stock rose only after they are gone.

** You mentioned reducing our need for oil by alternative energy sources and using the leverage against KSA & Pakistan. To my [limited] knowledge, no alternative energy sources are as effective as oil/coal from a cost and logistical standpoint. Nuclear power (which is heavily subsidized in France I believe) is also not as effective. While I agree that the US should have some kind of leverage to use, simply throwing money into fuel research with the hope that it will replace our use of foreign oil is simply wishful thinking and either successful or not- it would take much to long before we would be in a position to pressure KSA & the Pakis. (Hence, a possible motive for the Iraq invasion, as above)

Re: Iran:
- MAD is a fine concept is a more conventional world. My main concern more in having an nuclear armed unstable regime falling and those weapons falling into the hand of god-knows-who. (like um, maybe the case of PAKISTAN! If the country descends into chaos) Most people are more afraid of rogue terrorists acting outside the boundary of traditional national authority- i.e. plain old terrorists as opposed to a spook or soldier. (This is one of the reasons why arguable the Geneva convention is unhelpful and not applicable in today’s type of ‘war’- but that’s a WHOLE other topic) Plus, as I said above, nuclear power is less cost effective than oil. Combine this fact with the fact that Iran has the 3rd (?) largest oil reserves in the world and I am damned suspicious about any peaceful intentions behind their nuclear development. I doubt a full scale invasion would be wise- but I would reserve the right for a strategic air strike.

Ok, I think this post is one for my own record book, so I better end it here.

I doubt a full scale invasion would be wise- but I would reserve the right for a strategic air strike.

Not to mention that one reaction would be a huge sigh of relief in Saudi Arabia. The last thing they need is the 12th imam popping out of a well - or an oil well, if you like - setting off sectarian war in the ummah.

The Saudi royal family well remembers the siege of Mecca back in the '70s. Whatever their legal system may dictate, each and every one of them prefers their heads firmly attached to their necks.


@ tyrano:

In an Internet discussion, one always believes to politely present a cogent train of thoughts while the other one ... so let us just reset the language level to ´polite´.

I have not served in the Bundeswehr, so take my 0.02 € with whatever grain of salt you want. No, I did not dodge the draft, "my number" - to use that US concept - was simply not called.

I have not attacked actions in a combat environment, even criminal ones like rape, as this is a highly traumatic situation and shit happens in war, whether in WWI or in Iraq. But as soon as a POW is in a prison behind the front lines, then I call for a higher level of professionalism.

The Iraqi general had surrendered himself to US Forces (the US lied about it) while being healthy (lied again). Serving in an elite unit does not remove the protections of the Geneva Convention (US Marines), even if said unit has a political function (Waffen SS, Republican Guard). Even organizing a resistance does not automatically remove said status, but one has to trust the US Army on this, and it has already been caught lying in said affair. I somehow fail to see a military expert on air defense as a main organizer of a resistance campaign ...

This is part of the "classic" Geneva conventions, signed e.g. by Iraq, Germany and the US. There were some "progressive" additional rules formulated in the ´70´s about national liberation etc., but neither nation accepted them and they are not relevant to our discussion, as nobody is fighting against Apartheid.

The US may well face a conventional conflict in the future (e.g. Taiwan) and might prefer its soldiers to be given the protection under the Geneva Accords.

The UN is admittedly rotten, but this has no impact on a nation´s equivalent of honoring its word, namely honoring treaties it voluntarily signed. The US drafted the UN charter; it fumbled e.g. by giving full membership to any nation that declared war on Germany. Germany is btw. still listed as an enemy nation in article 53 IIRC.

About Abu Ghraib and the judicial process in the US: Rumsfeld admitted on TV that the pictures of the women´s wing were MUCH worse than the known stuff, yet said pictures were never published and there was no prosecution of these events. I call this a cover-up, General Taguba seems to agree.

Just recently, the Afghan President claimed on TV that his people were denied access to a wing of the Soviet-build prison in Kabul, that is being run by the US. Yet the US is claiming that said prison wing is ran by the Afghans and they are not responsible ... This has been confirmed by one of my few sources in Afghanistan.

About Padilla: I am not qualified to discuss the minutiae of US law. I just imagine the reaction over here if a German chancellor claimed similar powers: I and any colleague I know - left or right, young or old, competent or not - would go berserk. To claim the power to arrest any citizen and disappear him for years without any trial - I fail to understand the lack of outrage in the US.

"With all due respect Tropby this sounds much too much {SNIP} “I love the U.S. but . . . "

Yet I had no major problems with US foreign policy until recently, and I am approaching 40. As a kid, I visited US bases, was driven around in an M113, tasted so-called US beer etc. . If a middle-aged middle-class guy as I, neither left nor right, start to worry about an ally, than something is wrong with said nation or at least its PR.

About PR: Lincoln became popular because he won a war and was murdered, which adds to his mythos. We will see about the War on Terror, but I hope and assume that Bush will not be murdered.

This whole discussion has gone off topic.

@tropby
About Padilla: I am not qualified to discuss the minutiae of US law. I just imagine the reaction over here if a German chancellor claimed similar powers: I and any colleague I know - left or right, young or old, competent or not - would go berserk. To claim the power to arrest any citizen and disappear him for years without any trial - I fail to understand the lack of outrage in the US.

Well, if there had been no outrage, I'd be right there with you.

However, the Padilla case has been front and center in the news media for about 5 years. Nobody disappeared.

The problem we are confronting is that our law - as I am sure is true all over Europe - is based on the idea of the nation-state, Geneva Convention, etc.

What happens when we confront an entity acting outside those norms?

In Padilla's case, the gov't argued 'enemy combatant', i.e., not protected by many laws, domestic and international.

Padilla did win some court battles. But ultimately he was convicted.

It is hardly the case to say he 'disappeared' or that there was no outrage. The gov't was dragged before the highest court mulitple times.

What you are watching, Tropby, is U.S. law being made in the most existential circumstances.

I found this recent article regarding Padilla pretty interesting.

http://www.reason.com/news/show/122100.html

Pamela is right. The case was constantly in the news and nobody "disappeared."

So I guess were off topic now. I can't hardly believe such a thing could happen in a place where people constantly respond to postings with grand platitudes and righteous moral indignation.

Yes Tropby, Lincoln did win the war and get murdered for it. BUT ya' think his many violations of the constitution is somehow connected to winning said war?

oh $hit...can't believe I actually did a were instead of we're

"nobody ´disappeared´."

On June 9th, 2002, Padilla was transferred to a military brig without any notice to his attorney or family. It took nearly two years (March 3, 2004) until his lawyers could meet with him.

I suppose that we are using different definitions of "disappeared". And I quite likely made a mistake when quoting quotation marks ...

"BUT ya' think his many violations of the constitution is somehow connected to winning said war?"

We had to violate the constitution to defend it. I always assumed that outnumbering and outproducing the internationally isolated South led to victory despite several military (mediocre leadership) and political blunders (Trent).

"nobody ´disappeared´."

On June 9th, 2002, Padilla was transferred to a military brig without any notice to his attorney or family. It took nearly two years (March 3, 2004) until his lawyers could meet with him.

I suppose that we are using different definitions of "disappeared". And I quite likely made a mistake when quoting quotation marks ...

"BUT ya' think his many violations of the constitution is somehow connected to winning said war?"

We had to violate the constitution to defend it. I always assumed that outnumbering and outproducing the internationally isolated South led to victory despite several military (mediocre leadership) and political blunders (Trent).

Tropby posts:
"...About PR: Lincoln became popular because he won a war and was murdered, which adds to his mythos. We will see about the War on Terror, but I hope and assume that Bush will not be murdered.

This whole discussion has gone off topic."

Indeed! I was scratching my head throughout your post trying to find a connection between what I had written and many of your responses, again none referenced. Your comments on the Padilla case again highlight that you are not getting complete information from your medias.

If you found my post impolite ? ? ? I don't know what to say except that perhaps a less defensive reading might make it easier to follow the points made.

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