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October 23, 2004



This post is exactly right. Spread this meme everywhere.


Who can make this into a commercial?


While you're at it, post some pictures of the mass graves we've found in Iraq.


Here you go -


I wonder how many of these the guy in the picture above was responsible for...

No Preference

None. IIRC the guys we tortured at Abu Ghraib were people who had been picked up more or less at random. They were abused because they had been causing problems in prison, fighting and so on.


Check me, Famos, and see if I have this right. OK?

Picked-up and put in Abu Ghraib...guilty of mass murder.

Fighting an occupying invader in your homeland...guilty of terrorism.

Lord help us if your ilk gets (stays) in power.

Just wondering. Thanks.


I'd say "dalai" in comments above is objectively pro-torture.

Davis X. Machina

NoHurryInMissouri,you've forgotten that Arabs are a fungible commodity.

Randy Paul

"While you're at it, post some pictures of the mass graves we've found in Iraq."


Rumsfeld probably has some great photos of them being filled. Click the link below to find out what Rumsfeld was doing when some of the graves were being filled.



Yes, spread it. Please.

The majority of Americans will look at it, likely be reminded of the tiresome pounding of the Abu Ghraib drums in the press and sigh. They will also make note of hearing that one of the perpetrators has just been sentenced to 8 years in prison, which is what happens in America when people do bad things.

Then they will remember how much worse the Iraqi opposition was treated by Saddam and admit it is a good thing he is gone after all.

A good portion will see that one side won't let the horrible actions of a few sidetrack the larger effort, and that the other tends to run when things turn bad.

Steadfast or squeamish.

Yes, go ahead and show it on big screens on every street corner.

It does summarize the election pretty well.

Know YourPerp

I heave heard from a military commander that there were so many "collateral" deaths from Gulf War One that the US army simply bulldozed them into mass graves. I wonder if any of these are the mass graves you speak of.

Randy Paul


What you fail to realize is this (click this for full article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46565-2004Oct19.html)

"Without any change in policy, there is every reason to expect that a second Bush term would produce more scandals like Abu Ghraib. As the history of the past three years demonstrates, such abuses result when the rule of law is set aside. That's why we welcome Mr. Kerry's pledge to resume full U.S. compliance with the Geneva Conventions. Such compliance does not prevent a U.S. president from holding enemy combatants indefinitely or from denying them prisoner-of-war status. It does not prevent American forces from conducting interrogations. But it does ensure that the United States will operate according to the same international standards that it wishes to see applied to its own service members and citizens. 'We will abide by a principle long enshrined in our military manuals,' says the Kerry statement: 'That America does not treat prisoners in ways we would consider immoral and illegal if perpetrated by the enemy on Americans.' That strikes us as a policy that is both more in keeping with American standards, and more likely to be successful in practice, than that pursued with such disastrous results by Mr. Bush."

Anything less is ceding the moral high ground to torture. So, if you are prepared for US soldiers to be treated in this fashion, then vote for Bush. If you are not prepared to do this, then one should vote for Kerry.


Well, for those of us already disposed to vote for Kerry and against Bush (as I am), this argument ("Vote for this or against it") seems strong. However, among those who have not yet made up their minds, or who lean toward Bush but not strongly, this is not a good argument. For many of these people (for shorthand, let's call them "Stupid Undecideds"), the whole Arab/Muslim/terrorist thing is a continuum of foreign (read: brownish) faces who harbor some unknown quantum of desire to kill Americans. To the Stupid Undecideds, putting a few them in hoods and hooking them up to fake electrodes is just dandy, if it Keeps Us Safe. I know, I know, it doesn't do anything of the kind, but remember, these are stupid people we are dealing with. When they see these pictures they see their Enemy suffering, and that is okay with them. They'd rather not see such pictures, but only because they are unpleasant, not because they dislike what is happening in them.

The picture above is powerful - but it is an image that helps Bush. Please do not spread it further.


"That's why we welcome Mr. Kerry's pledge to resume full U.S. compliance with the Geneva Conventions."

Will Kerry also pledge to resign from the Presidency the first time one of the several millions of people that will be working for him commit heinous acts?

Randy Paul

Why should he if he simply takes ALL of those to task up the chain of command including the Secreatry of Defense?


A Bush supporter might as well show a picture of a terrorist beheading somebody and say "The election really is this simple--vote for this (Kerry) or against it (Bush)."

Whenever anybody tells you something is "really not that complicated" or "really this simple," they're usually lying to you.

the aardvark

Wow - thanks to all of you for commenting. Let's see...

I think that a lot of good points have been made. Let me surprise some people, maybe, by saying that I completely agree with IKnowYouDidn'tAsk on one point - we agree that Abu Ghuraib offers a real, clear choice. We disagree on which side to choose, but that's okay: at least we are clear about the significance and implications of the choice. Please note that nowhere in my post did I tell anyone which way to vote based on the picture - only that the picture defines the choice.

Would most Americans side with IKnow, if given that choice (as Mithras suggests)? Perhaps. I don't think so, and I certainly hope not. But if Bush were elected on that basis- clearly and honestly - then at least the rest of the world (and the rest of America) would know what America really is, and what it really stands for.

The thing about Abu Ghuraib is that it really should unite us, and not divide us. There are a lot of people who supported the invasion of Iraq for reasons which they found compelling - and I respect that. Maybe it was WMD, maybe it was liberating the Iraqi people, in any case they grappled with the question, and came down on one side, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I think that Saddam really was a horrific tyrant, and I don't agree with those who minimize his crimes or the horrors of the mass graves. But what gives us a moral leg to stand on in criticizing him is precisely that we don't judge ourselves by Saddam's standards. The mass graves are a horrific atrocity, but that doesn't make the horrors of Abu Ghuraib acceptable or put them into perspective... unless we want Saddam's moral calculus to become our own. Maybe you do want that, in which case we simply disagree. The election will decide where the American people stand on the question.

But Abu Ghuraib has nothing to do with that original decision to go to war. It has to do with manifest strategic and moral failures, which go all the way to the top of the Bush administration, which have more or less made it impossible for the best intentions of the war's supporters to be realized. Abu Ghuraib and all that it symbolizes should enrage war supporters as much as it does war opponents... indeed, it should outrage you more, since it is your hopes and aspirations which have been crushed, not those of the critics.

Jennifer (and the linkback to A Small Victory), if you want nuance go back and read the last two years of the blog. Plenty of nuance there. But with a little more than a week left to the election, it really does come down to a choice: vote one way or the other. No nuance in the voting booth. So I appreciate the sentiment, and I have the utmost respect for those who have rehearsed their reasoning for their vote on their blogs, but that wasn't the point of this post.

Basically it really does come down to whether or not democracy will enforce accountability. This election is the only chance we have to show the world that we are not what this picture represents. If Bush wins, this tells the world that Abu Ghuraib really is who the American people are. And I don't want to contemplate that.


Wow, Jennifer, what a remarkably stupid thing to say.

The Bush administration was investigating legal excuses to justify torture for months before the crimes at Abu Ghraib came to light. Most of the activities there were encouraged by military intelligence as a method for extracting information. This entire problem comes from a culture of disregard for international standards that pervades this administration. They genuinely believe that American exceptionalism allows any behavior.

Until you can find a John Kerry memo looking for ways to excuse beheadings, you need shut up and pull your head out.


Remember what Karl Rove said about Abu Ghraib?

"Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, has told one Bush adviser that he believes that it will take a generation for the United States to live this scandal down in the Arab world."

That seems like more than a small setback in any "war of ideas."



Here's your choices. Vote for someone accused of war crimes, or vote for someone who's claimed to have done them and witnessed them first hand. (unless he simply lied about it.)

"That's why we welcome Mr. Kerry's pledge to resume full U.S. compliance with the Geneva Conventions."

Wake me up when Kerry is held accountable for his violations of these back in the 70s.


I can't even begin to think of a response to something as idiotic as this. If you can honestly say you believe that what happened in that prison is the fault of Bush then how can you explain the fact that one of the perpetrators is going to spend the next 8 years of his life in military prison?

Oh wait... never mind you're a liberal. Facts mean nothing to you.

the aardvark


Oh my god, you're right! I'm a liberal, and facts mean nothing to me! It all makes sense now... when Bush fired Rumsfeld, I totally ignored that. When we found bin Laden sitting on a pile of nukes in Baghdad, the liberal media totally covered that up, too.

A staff seargant is going to jail. All better now.

I was going to say more, but then I remembered the time honored wisdom of Season Four Giles:

Giles: Xander, don't taunt the fear demon.
Xander: Why, can he hurt me?
Giles: No, its just... tacky.

Note to commenters: if you're here for a dialogue, ahlan wa sahlan (that mean's "you are welcome" in Arabic... you know, that language that Iraqis speak); if you're here to leave some droppings on the site and then never come back, then by all means... never come back.


must be that gin-soaked raisin brain, eh aardvark? (is this the price of fame...) keep up the good work!

Steve Rogerson

Though I agree that any decent self-respecting person would and should vote for Kerry over Bush, do so with no confidence that Kerry is going to create a better America. Kerry is just another right-wing reactionary, just not as bad as Bush. A real case of the lesser of two really bad evils.

Doug Purdie

OK. I'll vote Bush, because I'm for torture, crime, drugs and poverty. I'm against the kids, democracy, freedom and peace.

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