View Full Version : U.S. Releases Near-Naked Saddam Photos
Fri, 20th May '05, 11:11pm
Unbelievable. Seriously, for once in my life, I'm at a loss for words.
Fri, 20th May '05, 11:12pm
Geneva convention, anyone?
Fri, 20th May '05, 11:24pm
Loss for words about what?
Is it content of the pictures, that some idiot who took them sold them for 'an amount more than $900,' that a newspaper actually printed them, or do you actually believe that it's a US government conspiracy?
This is the work of a very stupid and inconsiderate member of the US military and an equally stupid and inconsiderate press.
I've heard a few weak arguements that this could be a violation of the Geneva Convention -- but that's quite a stretch.
Chandos the Red
Fri, 20th May '05, 11:29pm
Well, I was just listening to the conservative pundits on TV (MSNBC). Here's what one idiot had to say:
"These pictures really show how well Saddam is being treated. He has nice clothes and nice surroundings. This proves how well he is being treated..."
Honestly, that's what one of them was saying just about 5 minutes ago. These guys have no shame.
Fri, 20th May '05, 11:36pm
I can't believe that with all the damage already made to the international reputation of the US, crap like this keeps coming up. Nothing is done to rectify the current situation, only more dirt keeps being added to it, day by day. I can't believe that whoever is responsible for this is actually such a colossal moron as to think that pictures of Saddam in his underware would be a deterrent to any terrorist. They're the stuff these people are fighting against, for God's sake! Don't these imbeciles realize they're only feeding the fire?
I mean, this is like watching a man intentionally hammer nails into his body. Surreal.
Fri, 20th May '05, 11:52pm
I'm in full agreement, Taluntain, I'm always amazed at the stupidity of many of my fellow Americans. As much as I defend the military, I also accept the military gets more that it's share of bottom feeders.
On the gripping hand, I'm almost never surprised at the press....
Fri, 20th May '05, 11:57pm
Well, I, for one, am becoming very curious as to who is leaking this stuff. It appears that it certainly is intentional, but to what end. Photo money? Perhaps. An American who's unhappy with the state of affairs over there or someone with an axe to grind? Don't know...but it's clear someone has an agenda.
Sat, 21st May '05, 6:37am
Is it content of the pictures, that some idiot who took them sold them for 'an amount more than $900,' that a newspaper actually printed them, or do you actually believe that it's a US government conspiracy?I'm shocked that the guy was paid that much for them. But this begs the question of who took the pictures...
This is the work of a very stupid and inconsiderate member of the US military and an equally stupid and inconsiderate press.This doesn't sound like anything new. You get some yahoo that's more interested in getting to play with guns as opposed to the important function that the Army is supposed to provide, this stuff will happen. Then you get a the biggest band of unscrupulous vultures outside of politics together, and this gets out...
I can't believe that with all the damage already made to the international reputation of the US, crap like this keeps coming up. Nothing is done to rectify the current situation, only more dirt keeps being added to it, day by day. I can't believe that whoever is responsible for this is actually such a colossal moron as to think that pictures of Saddam in his underware would be a deterrent to any terrorist. They're the stuff these people are fighting against, for God's sake! Don't these imbeciles realize they're only feeding the fire?It's jackasses like that that are the reason that many foreign countries don't like Americans. Truth be told, I'm willing to accept that these idiots are the minority, but they are the ones that go forth to represent your country in the minds of the people elsewhere...
Well, I, for one, am becoming very curious as to who is leaking this stuff. It appears that it certainly is intentional, but to what end. Photo money? Perhaps. An American who's unhappy with the state of affairs over there or someone with an axe to grind? Don't know...but it's clear someone has an agenda.This clearly is the most frightening aspect of this debacle. The fact that someone is dumb enough to take a picture like that is almost a given. They would regard a picture like that as a trophy, but when someone gets a copy of that picture, and not only makes it publicly exposed (no pun intended), but prophits from the deal, this is truly dangerous. One would think that after 9/11, people would be careful about potentially divisive stuff like that...
Sat, 21st May '05, 3:01pm
Well personally unless they show any signs of torture on Saddam I don't care much about these pictures. They might be a violation of the Geneva Convention but that convention has been violated in this war so many times that these violations are so minor that I quite frankly could not care less.
I agree with T2Bruno on this one. There are whole bunch of people who are very willing to violate all sorts of rules in order to profit from this war. This includes soldiers, press, corporations and possibly even a few governments. ;)
Sat, 21st May '05, 3:32pm
Well, the Pentagon itself has said this could be a possible violation of Geneva conventions, so I don't see why people need to rush to their defense (they wouldn't have said something like that without consulting their lawyers first)
From the article:
"The U.S. military in Baghdad said the publication of the photos violated U.S. military guidelines 'and possibly Geneva Convention guidelines for the humane treatment of detained individuals.'"
Sun, 22nd May '05, 11:40am
Point about violation of Geneva is to protect POW from ridicule. These photos of a half-naked Saddam in his underpants do ridicule the former strongman if Iraq, and portray him as a helpless old man.
The 'they great him oh so well' line is aimed on distracting from that simple point.
So, if publishing the photos would clearly violate the Geneva Convention, why were they taken anyway?
I guess it's this: Among those who believe the Iraqi resistance exclusively consists of Saddam loyalists, these photos are probably believed to have a demoralising effect on the resistance. For them the publication of he photos could be a 'psy-op'.
If so, that's a quite disingenious, as if the Iraqi resistance needs Saddam to have a reason to fight Americans.
Tue, 24th May '05, 5:53pm
I agree that whoever took those pictures is an idiot for taking them and an idiot for selling them. The Editor-in-Chief who permitted their publication is an uber idiot. If the US wants to salvage any reputation from this debacle, they will find the soldier who took the photos and punish him for his violation of military policy, the Convention, and the bounds of good taste.
On the flip side, who was concerned about the dignity and feelings of the Kurds who Saddam gassed? He's still alive and breathing fresh air, which is more than his countless victims can say. While I agree that violating international law and convention is not acceptable, I find it very hard to feel any sympathy for Saddam.
Tue, 24th May '05, 7:03pm
It's not about sympathy but principles.
Wed, 25th May '05, 8:35am
It's not about sympathy but principles.That's why these "Rogue states" continue to embarass the US in their war on terror. That's why Osama Bin Laden hasn't been caught. That's why terrorism is still a threat...
Wed, 25th May '05, 8:45pm
The pictures where not "released by the U.S."...it was a British tabloid.
We do not know that they were taken by US Military personnel...Saddam has visits with his own defense counsel, defacto Iraqi prosecutors and others...to assume that the pictures originated and were leaked by Americans shows a presupposed bias.
Stop assuming what you don't know, just because it fits your conceptions.
Oh...and Gnafflinger...OBL hasn't been caught yet because he's alive and well and living in the White House basement. :eek:
Wed, 25th May '05, 9:13pm
... to assume that the pictures originated and were leaked by Americans shows a presupposed bias.Well, after U.S. intelligence did take these degrading photos of detainess, possibly in order to blackmail them into cooperation, that bias is well earned.
Thanks to George Bush Jr's & Cie's countless screw-ups the U.S. no longer have the benefit of doubt. They have lost their credibility, absolutely, and no one to blame but themselves.
Oh, I forgot, there still is this evil liberal media bias :rolleyes:
Thu, 26th May '05, 12:52am
If it turns out that no one from the US had anything to do with the pictures, I'll gladly change the title of the thread. Let me know as soon as you have any evidence to warrant the change.
Btw, Hacken Slash, you did read the article?
The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch, said the photos it published Friday and Saturday were provided by a U.S. military official it did not identify who hoped their release would deal a "body blow" to the insurgency.I'm not sure how much more clearly it could be spelled out.
Thu, 26th May '05, 1:46am
Well, for once I agree with Ragusa :eek: :
It's not about sympathy but principles. But, Depaara, I'm in sympathy with your point as well. However, no matter how much sympathy we have towards Saddam's victim's, we cannot allow ourselves to lose all principles.
However,(and this is a BIG however), looking at this on the flip flop -- it's very easy for each of us to talk "principles" -- we sit in our soft comfy chairs, eat our favorite foods, turn on the TV maybe and mull over the day's events right before bed. In war, when you've been shot at day in and day out (REGARDLESS, of the circumstances that put you there), ...or are living with the THREAT of being shot or stepping on a mine, or haing your truck blown to bits by a hidden mine...."principles" become a little more blurred and basic -- I think the focus is on survival. Now, given that a person is in this state of mind for months on end -- they may not give a flip about showing Saddam in his underwear -- in fact, they may simply be disappointed that he's even still ALIVE. I believe the LAST thing they would feel is outrage at the incident.
A different and unpopular perspective.
[ May 26, 2005, 04:09: Message edited by: Spellbound ]
Thu, 26th May '05, 11:27am
The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch, said the photos it published Friday and Saturday were provided by a U.S. military official it did not identify who hoped their release would deal a "body blow" to the insurgency.Wonderful, just wonderful. Thanks for the link and the Murdoch quote, Tal. Among those who believe the Iraqi resistance exclusively consists of Saddam loyalists, these photos are probably believed to have a demoralising effect on the resistance. For them the publication of he photos could be a 'psy-op'.:roll: So I guessed right after all .... :roll:
Thu, 26th May '05, 11:41am
@ Spellbound: I can agree (somewhat grudgingly, of course :) ) with the second part of the statement, but I do not think the pictures were made by someone who had spent the last six months on the battlefield. After all, being a prison guard is likely much less dangerous, isn't it?
Thu, 26th May '05, 3:23pm
The article is very unclear as to what rank the "Military official" was. It could have been some 2nd Lieutenant who that it would be a hoot to see Saddam humiliated, and got at least $900 for his efforts.
There is no proof that this was ordered by or endorsed by any agency of the US government. To state that the "US released" these pictures implies that our gov't made a conscious decision to do this, and there is not a shred of evidence to prove that.
IMO this is just another example of the witch-hunt that has become popular, and just as with the other witch hunts involving detainees, there is no evidence that there is any gov't policy that condoned or encouraged this behavior.
Before I get accused of it, I am not condoning or defending the fact that these pictures were released. If it turns out that a US gov't agency decided to release these pictures, then they should be indicted for violation of the Geneva Conventions, and any other applicable crimes, but until there is proof (beyond a reasonable doubt), everyone should be presumed innocent.
It is really sad to watch people say that while they don't personally mind the fact that Saddam was humiliated, we have to maintain our principles, but then they are willing to through other principles like innocence until proven guilty right out the window because it fits their political expediency.
Thu, 26th May '05, 3:34pm
The Shaman -- It's not the idea of exactly WHO took the picture -- what I was trying to relate to was the pervasive atmosphere over there. Sure, a prison guard could have taken those pictures, but do you really think that person is immune to what the other "front line" soldiers experienced? Do you think that the stink of war misses them altogether? That the horror stories of what the "real" soldiers see don't get related to "just" a prison guard? I'm willing to bet they do indeed get an earful, which could very well warp their sense of decency.
Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Thu, 26th May '05, 3:38pm
@ DW - highly doubtful. As a second lieutenant doesn't even have the authority to command a platoon under normal circumstances, it is extremely unlikely that anyone with a rank of O1 would be considered a "military official". While I cannot say with any certainty that an O1 was NOT responsilble for this, it seems like this possibility is pretty far down on the list behind several other more probably events.
@ Spelly - I was under the impression that Saddam wasn't even in Iraq anymore. I thought he was transferred months ago - most likely to Gitmo - and there the soldiers are several thousand miles away from the action.
Thu, 26th May '05, 3:43pm
I don't care if Sadam is humiliated after what he has done, its such an injustice that civillians are raped, beaten, and even murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet Sadam is well looked after.
Thu, 26th May '05, 4:20pm
You are assuming that the Sun is trying to be as forthcoming as possible. As this obviously is not the case, by a little liberal interpretation of the definition, any military officer could be described as a "Military official", and it could be an intentional misdirection to protect their source.
I agree that it is not likely a 2nd lieutenant, but I also seriously doubt that a General officer would be stupid enough to accept any payment for the pictures, unless it was enough to be worth throwing away their retirement. So it is likely to be someone in between.
The real question though is, was it authorized, and if so, by whom?
Thu, 26th May '05, 5:37pm
Darkwolf, so it'd make you feel all better if I edited the topic to say U.S. Military Official Releases Near-Naked Saddam Photos? :rolleyes:
As for this being "ordered by or endorsed by any agency of the US government", no one said that (apart from you). I certainly didn't. What my title means is that someone from the U.S. (with or without inside approval) released those photos. And as far as that goes, it's completely accurate. So spare us the "witch-hunt" accusations until you actually see any witches being falsely burned.
but until there is proof (beyond a reasonable doubt), everyone should be presumed innocent.You crack me up. Just like the US is doing in Guantanamo, and was doing in Abu Ghraib, huh? Shining example of advocating double standards right there.
Thu, 26th May '05, 5:58pm
Spelly, you are right on the money. The way I see it, the U.S. has been at war for quite a while -- it's only in the past couple of years that they've started shooting too.
I know that's simplistic, and as I have frequently stated before, I do not think the U.S. are anything CLOSE to angels, but they do have a right to defend themselves against those who would attack them, and according to many non-Americans, they have a responsibility to promote freedom around the world. It just seems to me that everyone is johnny on the spot to criticize any flaw in American behaviour, but we overlook gassings, torture, FGM, the use of rape as psychological warfare, and all sorts of other behaviours by other groups, and we say "well, that's their culture and their right; we shouldn't DARE to even THINK about criticizing these people; that would make us intolerant!"
I know that the American government tries to take the moral high ground and they fail, miserably, on a frequent basis. This does not give the moral high ground to the sickos out there, however. IMHO, Saddam is lucky to be alive -- had the Soviets in their time, or the Chinese, Russians, or another state in the area had captured him, he wouldn't be alive to be photographed -- and he would have died painfully.
Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Thu, 26th May '05, 6:25pm
I know that the American government tries to take the moral high ground and they fail, miserably, on a frequent basis. This does not give the moral high ground to the sickos out there, however. Yes, but the problem here (and I think one that many Europeans on the boards are quick to point out) is that you lose the ability to take the moral high ground at all, when you have cases like Abu Ghaib, and near-naked pictures of Saddam from Gitmo.
@ DW - I agree with your correction. I think the more likley scenrio is something higher than an O1, but nothing on the level of general. Not only would the general be risking a cozy military pension upon retirement, the annual salary of a general is enough that they couldn't be bought with a measly payment of $900. Moreover, last I checked, there weren't even any generals IN Gitmo. Like I said, I haven't checked recently, but last I heard Gitmo was under the command of a colonel (full bird not LTC).
Thu, 26th May '05, 8:31pm
In that case, bag the moral high ground and do what you feel has to be done. I say that a lot of those tin plated little sadists in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere need their heads handed to them. The more we mollycoddle them and let them walk all over us ("us" being the western world) the more violent and horrible they will become. Help them to the hilt, fund them, educate them, try diplomacy and decency, but the West should stop with the moral hand-wringing and be willing to use force when necessity arises.
Thu, 26th May '05, 9:01pm
Why is everyone so quick to accept the statement of the Sun that the pictures originated from a US Military Official? Maybe they did...maybe they didn't...but is the Sun a reliable source for any kind of news?
If you're going to take that on blind faith, then you HAVE to believe in the Incredible Batboy, the 1200 pound woman who ate her husband and the Titannic survivor who was found in Boston Harbor.
It's the friggin' SUN!!! people.
I'm surprised they didn't claim the pictures were found in a shoe box under Dubya's bed, along with a collection of love letters from Putin.
Darkwolf! I'm surprised at you...I expected at least a minimal cynicism from you!
It's the SUN!
...and aliens live amongst us...disguised as Amish.
Thu, 26th May '05, 9:13pm
The pictures exist, we control the facility where he is housed, and we allowed them to be leaked. Somewhere there is an American who at the very least allowed this to happen, and possibly was culpable in the actual release.
I know the Sun in the US is a tabloid, but I was not aware that it is the same Sun found in England (I thought they could be different newspapers with different reputations). If that is the case, then the culprit could be an enlisted man, and again the Sun is covering for them.
However, we control the facility, and I think we should have made sure that these didn't get taken in the first place, unless Saddam’s defense council, or the Red Cross took them, but that would be one hell of a conspiracy theory.
Thu, 26th May '05, 10:50pm
Aldeth -- It's not the fact that Saddam isn't in Iraq anymore . The point is, is that soldiers STILL associate him with the war, if not the REASON for the war (although debatable)...but still... I don't think the war's impressions on these people have lessened any, with his removal to another location. I would imagine to those folks, you mention his or his cronies' names, and you get spitting bullets in return. There's no warm and fuzzies there. Just trying to put this in perspective.
Our sense of decency and honor might change if we were to go from coach-potato judgers to being shot at on a day to day basis. Frankly, I have no conception of what that situation would be like -- I can't even imagine it. But I DO know that it's easy to sit here playing my games, drinking coffee and eating cookies all the while wagging my finger at their descent into the bowels of amoral behavior. It's very easy to do that indeed.
Thu, 26th May '05, 11:17pm
I really don't get what's the big deal. Sure it violates the geneva convention and sure it is stupid but it's just Saddam wearing underwear. What is so horrible in those pictures? They degrade Saddam and make him look ridiculous? Please.... I might feel for him if he was an ordinary soldier but Saddam is pretty much a public figure and public figures have to deal with this kind of pictures being taken. If he was getting a beating in the pictures or something it might actually be worth talking about
Thu, 26th May '05, 11:32pm
Well, there could be 2 reasons that I can think of.
1. Right is right and wrong is wrong, and the US hasn't been compliant 100% of the time, so these things need to be exposed so that it doesn't continue or get worse.
2. It makes the US look bad, and blowing it up to be as big an issue as possible is a way to protest against the US.
Take your choice.
Fri, 27th May '05, 12:22am
Hardly matter, IMO; by now you should really expect news like this coming from that side of the ocean. Really, these pictures are only silly and showing silly pictures is the job of (cheap) Sunday magazines. They revelled in Diana's death and in many, many other cases and this one is no exception. As long as they keep it inside their turf, I keep mine too.
Fri, 27th May '05, 5:54am
I still think it's more shocking that someone paid $900 for a picture of an old Geezer in his skivvies...
Fri, 27th May '05, 1:13pm
See, I'll explain you why you don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand international law, or the Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949 (http://www.ilrg.com/subject/lawofwar/3conv-pow3.html).
Because it's sometimes so utterly simple that disputing it is a sign of ... well, let's spare us that part and go straight to Art.14: ... prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.For this rule to apply on Saddam Saddam must be a Prisoner of war first. Art.4 of the convention helps us out. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy: (1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflictSaddam not only was a member of the Iraqi armed forces, he was Iraq's head of state and supreme commander of the Iraqi forces. *
So Saddam is a POW and Art.14 is applicable. He has to be protected from public curiosity.
These pics show a half-naked Saddam in his private realm, as far as that can be said of a prison cell, in his bathroom, obviously dressing for the day.
Frankly, it is nobody's business what Saddam does on the loot, or how he looks like under his clothes. Publishing the pic in the SUN, one of the worst manifestations of public curiosity yet, ceratinly meets the definition of Art.14.
To argue otherwise is to deny him the dignity inherent to him as a human being, no matter what he did and what he was.
That's something to be determined in a fair trial and cerainly not by the SUN or by another mob on the street or in the newspapers who feel he deserves it. It doesn't matter.
* Sidenote: Even if it wasn't clear that Saddam is a POW, he would have to be treated accordingly because, like 'innocent until proven guilty', the rules regarding prisoners of war must be followed until a proper tribunal is convened to determine whether POW status is applicable on a case-by-case basis.
When the United States systematically denied POW status to captured Taliban combatants in the 2001-2002 war in Afghanistan, it was in violation of the third Geneva Convention. In the course of an armed conflict involving parties to the Geneva Convention, captured combatants are POWs until proven otherwise.
So, by holding people as so-called 'unlawful combattants' for extended periods, without determining their status in a proper tribunal first, the US has commited war crimes.
Like it or not.
Fri, 27th May '05, 2:00pm
There can't be international laws if no one is there to enforce them. Genocide is happening without anyone caring and so are many other violations. International law is insignificant, like it or not.
When there's a war the geneva convention is thrown to the trash can and is picked up only afterwards. Even though I can't accept shooting civilians, torture, abuse, excessive violence and long time imprisonment without a proper trial, simply because it's unhuman treatment, I don't count in taking a few pictures of a public figure in his underwear to be such a breach deserving of this attention. Quite frankly I don't see it deserving any attention. Now if caught I suppose the guy who took the pictures should be punished but I assume he has breached some sort of military code by selling those pictures.
Fri, 27th May '05, 2:28pm
it starts with the small things. In Iraq the U.S. themselves claimed to come to be the enforcer of human rights and international law over Saddam's tyranny - and turned out giving a s*hit for both of it themselves where and when they felt so.
For you playing the cynic, or one John Bolton international law is considerd arbitrary and basically a non-binding policy recommendation - I couldn't disagree more.
People like Bonkers Bolton look at international law like Stalin looked at the Vatican: How many divisions does the pope have? Or: They can't enforce it against us anyway.
International law has a strong moral dimension, a point that is lost on Bolton. International law isn't a collection of arbitrary rules, there is an international consensus on this, a result of 300 years of development.
It is indeed hard to enforce action against violations of international law, because it's about countries acting. The only way of action may well be to go to war.
That is costly and dirty business, too. For war you need public support in your own country. Consequently, the result of the cost-benefit equation often is international inaction.
But that's not the only aspect of it: Just look at the U.S. war of agression against Iraq. No one could stop the U.S. However, the rest of the world sharply disagrees, and refuse support, and the US have quite a hard time persuading anyone anymore for any future adventures, without having rock-solid proof, that because it's from Washington, needs to be triple checked.
The US administration have just started crying bloody murder after the latest Amnesty report (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050525/ap_on_re_eu/britain_amnesty_report), why that if international humanitarian law and human rights are so insignificant?
Because they aren't. The U.S. gvt can ignore it for a while, because no one can stop them, but they can't deny it. The cost for ignoring it is fallout: US standing continues to find new lows, thanks to the relentless blundering from Washington.
For that, organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are so surprisingly effective by merely writing reports on the human rights situation and violations of international law in a given country.
They can, by just stating the truth, hurt goverments where it hurts and pressure them to justify themselves for their actions.
[ May 27, 2005, 14:53: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Fri, 27th May '05, 4:45pm
Our sense of decency and honor might change if we were to go from coach-potato judgers to being shot at on a day to day basis. Spellbound - that's exactly my point. I mentioned Saddam being sent to Gitmo not to make a point that he was no longer in Iraq, but rather to state that the soldiers stationed at Gitmo are in fact NOT being shot at on a day to day basis. In fact, they aren't being shot at even somewhat infrequently. I'm not implying that a U.S. soldier stationed at Gitmo is a coach potato, but only that getting stationed at Gitmo is far preferable to serving in Iraq.
Fri, 27th May '05, 4:51pm
At least they didn't sell a "full monty" of Hussein.
- Actually, I have more to say, but it probably goes off topic... So I'll start a new one!
Fri, 27th May '05, 5:35pm
Aldeth -- *sigh* -- I see your point as well -- but don't you think these individuals at Gitmo are still in the "military", "soldier", 'war" mindset?? As opposed to any of us?? They may NOT be getting shot at on a daily basis, but they still are lightyears from where we are, MENTALLY.
Fri, 27th May '05, 6:03pm
I agree with Spell on this one. Institutions have long memories; these memories persist in the passing on of particular "ways of thinking" into their new recruits (and this includes not only the military, but also the civilian gov't, academia, corporate culture, etc). These memories have evolved according to the history of that institution, so that the military mindset is tempered by the need for people to be effective in the inhuman conditions of war. What these people have to do at Gitmo is tough; by holding people captive you are by definition dehumanizing them to some extent. Restraining people's freedom *is* a kind of violence, and doing violence to others does emotional damage to oneself. The same could be said for civilian prison guards, whatever the culture.
I spent a year a while ago volunteering part time at a hospice for terminal AIDS patients, which was my closest brush to being an "insider" to the health care industry. At first I was totally stunned by the dark graveyard humor of the nurses, and those of you that don't know really don't want to know the kinds of terrible things nurses can say about their patients in private, even (or perhaps especially) the very tragic ones. But pretty soon I joined right in; in some ways, it was also necessary in dealing intimately with people who were dying in terrible ways (and this was before the really good treatements were available). A couple times I saw the mask drop, as when a long time patient who the staff had grown to care for passed away, and you'd see how affected people were by these things. But it would be impossible to do all the drudgery of hospice care and be affected by every little tragedy.
So soldiers and prison wardens become callous to certain things. This isn't an excuse for Lnyddie England type behavior, for taking humiliating pictures of people and sending them around, etc. But there is a limit to how professional one can be, and to ask a soldier to never *privately* engage in the kinds of humor soldiers have always since the beginning of time engaged in is a bit much. And I doubt very much the military asked civilian policy makers to set up Gitmo, a strange, extra-legal prison defined by the need to interrogate prisoners for information, for them and make them run it.
Again, this isn't at all to justify Abu Graib or Gitmo...
Fri, 27th May '05, 6:53pm
Bion -- Very well said. And I know full well about the culture of different types of groups -- I dispatched for 911 Police and Fire for 3 years and was appalled at the dark humor when I first signed on -- thought these people were the most callous and inhuman people I'd ever seen -- until I walked back into the squad room one day, after one of these particular joking sessions after a gruesome murder/suicide of 2 young people -- only to see these very same officers crying, trying to deal with what they saw. They had been called out to that house for numerous domestics, so they knew those people.
And, yes, this doesn't excuse the behavior of taking those pictures -- I still think it was wrong -- but maybe we should stop and think a little bit as to what their world is like.
Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Fri, 27th May '05, 7:03pm
don't you think these individuals at Gitmo are still in the "military", "soldier", 'war" mindset?? As opposed to any of us?? They may NOT be getting shot at on a daily basis, but they still are lightyears from where we are, MENTALLY. Perhaps they are. Having never visited Gitmo, I cannot really say what mental state the soldiers there have. However, I was speaking from my personal experience, as my current occupation is that of a civilian contractor for the Department of Defense. It involves working closely with soldiers at a large army base - Aberdeen Proving Grounds if you're interested in the name. All of the people in the military base - as one would expect - are in the U.S. Army. Most of the people who work for my company, while currently civilians, are retired military.
The point of all of this is I do not see much evidence of this "military", "soldier", "war" mindset that you speak of. Most of them are pretty regular guys. That's why I was pointing out a big difference in the possible mindset of people serving as turnkeys at Gitmo, and dodging bullets in Iraq.
This is not to say that I don't notice a particular mindset at the bases and among retired military personel - just not the type that you describe. There certainly is a sense of brotherhood within current and former military personel. It is a sense that "all are one" for lack of a better phrase. Nearly all of them can be described as patriotic, loyal to each other, and willing to stand up for each other under almost any circumstances. Thus, while you may see these people attempt to defend the pictures of Saddam, I don't see anyone of them requesting transfers to Iraq. While you may still consider that a "military", "soldier", "war" mindset (and it certainly is in some respects) I think it is a different use of those words than you intended. I will agree that being in the line of fire certainly changes people's views of things, but most military personel adjust quite well back to their previous behavior once taken out of harms way.
One last point I think needs to be made concerning the "military", "soldier", "war" mindset - and it is from an expression that is rather common in the military: "No one hates a war more than a soldier."
EDIT: Spellbound, you posted while I was writing, so I have a little more to add. I will admit that those serving at Gitmo are most likely under more stress than those serving locally. However, I think if we were to compare the soldier at Gitmo, I think there stress levels are far more similar to those at Aberdeen than those in Iraq.
maybe we should stop and think a little bit as to what their world is like And I assert that I can provide some of that insight. This is not from one or two people I know in the military. These are from dozens, if not hundreds of people I have met over the years. They are as low as new recruits to as high as colonels (Aberdeen is not headed by a general) to people who in some cases have spent 20 or 30 years in the military prior to retiring. I have met them all, whether through meetings, training classes, operations, etc. I would say that I have met people whose home towns would represent nearly every state in the Union (although I've yet to meet a Hawaiian native), and while all will admit that you act and do things in combat situations that you would never even consider doing otherwise, serving oversees at a military prison and serving in combat operations are, in fact, lightyears apart.
[ May 27, 2005, 19:21: Message edited by: Aldeth the Foppish Idiot ]
Fri, 27th May '05, 11:12pm
Aldeth -- Well your experience in dealing with military personnel as a civilian contractor pretty much correlates with those contractors I have known in the past. However, I maintain that whether soldiers in Iraq or prison officials in Gitmo -- they are still lightyears from US here and I would wager than from many of your military contacts -- as your words state. I wonder how many of your work contacts at this base have seen recent action in Iraq?..... or just came back from serving in a prison camp overseas? Again, it's a little different scenario -- with a different mindset. There are literally TONS of inactive military here -- retired et. al. -- I wouldn't EXPECT them to have the same predisposition to those recently coming out of a war, or in a war, or overseas dealing with war criminals. You're comparing apples and oranges....and yes, I think being a prison guard in a place like Gitmo is a touch different than being on a base stateside.....and certainly different from my civilian mindset here.
Sat, 28th May '05, 7:49am
So if Saddam was a POW, then yes, the pictures constitute a violation of international law. As such, the person responsible must be punished, be it Guard or Paperazzi. The publication of such is also a vioaltion, therefore the SUN must be held accountable. To save face, Bush must cour marshal a guard and then invade England?
As for the issue of Genocide, nobody wants to actually stick their nose into it, so these dictators get away with their murders. The world needs a loose cannon like King George (now Chandos has me calling him that) to send his troops in and make an example out of these dictators. Sure the people that weren't getting murdered en masse might not like it, but international law is satisfied...