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View Diary: Gonzales Watch: Women at Abu Ghraib (140 comments)

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  •  Do you give the same pass to members of the SS? (4.00)
    I don't.

    I'm not trying to be purposely snarky here, but simply put, there is not and CANNOT be an excuse for rape, for torture, for murder.

    I don't care if the troops all had bad childhoods, or traumatic combat experiences, or whether they were suffering from ADD or whatever. We cannot afford to excuse atrocities. We cannot afford to be lenient with the perpetrators. We've already squandered any scintilla of moral legitimacy we may have had to prosecute members of the former regime, or for that matter, to inveigh against atrocities perpetrated in other parts of the world. In large measure, these other ppl learn their behavior from us.

    If the US isn't prepared to lead by example, not only in terms of conduct but in terms of how it addresses violations of law and morality, then it shouldn't lead, period.

    •  Fuck Godwin anyways right? (none)
      Look I am not going to get trapped into a debate on moral equivalence, that's not what I'm trying to say.

      What I am saying is that we shouldn't get caught up in judging the perpetrators of the crime, and understand why and how instead.

      Remember the famous Stanford Prison Experiment? The  so called best and brightest of our nation tortured and humiliated their peers when given ultimate power over them.

      I think that we had better remember that the worst evils are not committed by Arch-Fiends, but rather by banal people who could be us if it weren't for the twist of fate...

      Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, No one but ourselves can free our Minds.

      by TustonDAZ on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 08:09:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  no doubt, the capacity for brutality (none)
        lurks within everyone. if there are exceptions, they are very few and far between.

        my point is that the moment you either A) differentiate between "our" atrocities and "their" atrocities, or B) avoid "punishing" perpetrators of same, you basically guarantee that the behavior will not only be repeated, but will increase in frequency and seriousness, not only by the original perps but by an ever-increasing stream of followers, until it becomes endemic.

        Someone posted something about The hundredth monkey principle on here earlier today. That's the dynamic that governs virtually all herd behavior, IMO, whether it be voting Repiglican or torturing prisoners. And it's why the "first monkey's" aberrant behavior needs to be stomped out of existence as soon as it surfaces in cases like this.

        Once, there was only one NeoCon (Strauss). then two, and four, and eight, and now tens of millions, to choose a comparatively trivial corollary. By the same token, once there was only one Nazi. And one Khmer Rouge. And one Lt. Calley. And on and on it goes.

        •  I don't disagree (none)
          that the perpetrators must be punished to the fullest extent of the law, that much is obvious to anyone I think.

          I don't buy the anti hundreth monkey principle you have though. It seems more of like something from the twelfth monkey and nightmarish; look out for the guy infected with brutality he's contagious. Not to say brutality doesn' breed more brutality in response-it does.

          I believe there never has been only one Lt. Calley,  or Pol Pot or Nazi or whatever; rather those wretches merely are focal points that spontaneously arise in synchronicity with their millieu.  If there wasn't a Hitler, there would have been a Schimdt or Schwartzenegger.  Because all the ingredients(i.e. an rich tradition of anti semitism, total economic depression, the humiliation of the Germans in WWI etc)were there WWII, the Third Reich and the Holocaust happened, not because there was once one nazi.
            To blame an one human  for  a society's or another individual's failings is to absolve fault and responsibility  and seems more  superstitious rather than reasonable.

          Please allow me to introduce myself, I am a man of Wealth and Taste...

          Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, No one but ourselves can free our Minds.

          by TustonDAZ on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 08:47:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  no, I agree with you (none)
            wider absolution is NOT an option. the torturers did what they did because others fostered the climate they functioned in, and encouraged their behavior.

            as to there being "one" nazi, or "one" khmer rouge: I agree with you here that the conditions first had to exist to make what they did possible - there had to be an appropriate medium for the virus to breed in. however, the situation required a catalyst to transform it from a passive condition into an active  force; hitler was that catalyst. In terms of Abu Ghraib, the catalysts appear to be messrs. Gonzales and Rumsfeld, with a dash of Cheney. Would there still be atrocities...? no doubt. Would there still be orchestrated, sanctioned atrocities? Not so sure.

            My basic point, I guess, is that just because Rumsfeld, say, bears ultimate responsibility, we cannot afford to be lenient on the Graners or Englands. Smashing the Graners helps to render the Rumsfeld terror apparatus less effective: If GI Joe sees his compatriot Chucky Graner heading off to prison, he might think twice before following that "order"/"suggestion" to put that lit cigarette in the prisoner's ear. In practical terms, you have to kill both the seeds and the root of the weed if you are to eradicate it.

            •  "smashing the Gainers" (none)
              Is a time honored tradition in the armed forces and never ammounts to deterent for even reforms the problems that leads to the "abberant" behavior; they   just utilize the case as a smokescreen to cover up how wide spread it is

              Case on point: Lt. Calley, who spent 13 months under "house arrest" on a  base before being quietly discharged after Sy Hersh's article...In the subsequent year SoD Rumsfailed and then colonel Powell managed to bury the Official Pentagon investigation into the 3,000 or so other allegations of war crimes against US soldiers in Vietnam.

              Emancipate yourself from Mental Slavery, No one but ourselves can free our Minds.

              by TustonDAZ on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 09:07:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  It probably was inevitable (none)
            that an authoritarian, militarist government that wanted to refight World War One would have come to power in Germany.  But, without Hitler, it probably would not have been genocidal.  Think of the possibility of a Germany ruled by, say, Göring.

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