The film states that there were thousands in that prison. The odds are that there will be a few deaths. Not from anything else but just being imprisoned. Most people can take it, a few can’t. That is human nature. The film opens up with an experiment on human nature, why didn’t they show mortality rates within any population? Now there are many unanswered questions around this death. They exploit this father’s death to sling mud. The film intentionally implies that the treatment of the father led directly to his death. In all honesty, that conclusion cannot be confirmed. Only imagination can. Why did the guard ignore the son’s pleas? There are so many possibilities. Maybe the father was belligerent and the treatment warranted? The father probably appeared as a “tough old bird” and that the pleas of the son were but a rouse? Maybe both of them were trouble makers and had done this before. The film never tried to go into determining if that family was making explosives.
One does realize that bad things occurred to prisoners prior to the Geneva Convention? Like 5500 years worth. Do you think that the number of bad things drastically dropped after the GC? The US signed the initial treaty in 1882. Do you think that since then every POW has been treated humanely? The fact is that we will never know because we don’t have the pictures if there ever was. But the right answer is no. In some instances the opponent did not observe the treaty. Does that mean that we are bound to still observe it? As with any treaty – no. Should we try? In general, yes but it would be dependent on the local situation. I’ve said this before; the only rule in war is to win. By any means possible. Now after saying that, doesn’t mean rules are not observed. If any are, it is on the battlefield, understood and controlled by the commanders. It’s not something that is regulated by a political body and artificially imposed. The terrorists we face today have violated the GC on several occasions so I would leave it up to the soldier in the field. In this film they do ask the question about observing the treaty even if the terrorists are not a signatory member. Since this film is a bit of Hollywood, if you’ve seen the movies “Rules of Engagement”, “Saving Private Ryan”, and “Band of Brothers” you see a sanitized but intellectual look at why one treats prisoners the way they do in war. It’s not pretty. And this is the thing; you can’t look at war through the eyes of peacetime sensibilities. But that is what too many are trying to do. And this is what the producers of this film are doing.
I’m not trying to make excuses for what happened, but I do think that the military usage of torture is getting a bad rap. Now when most people think about torture, they are probably envisioning some sadistic cop beating the crap out of a kid to get a confession. Well, the proper application of torture in a military atmosphere is not that. Torture done properly is very effective. Torture is meant to breakdown the defenses of mind and body. Pain, disorientation, deprivation, and stress are just some of the means. It is the application of these techniques over a period of days, weeks, or months. I caught part of a WWII era training film (I think it was) that showed the Nazis trying a different kind of torture. They didn’t try to break the body, but tried disorientation by having the interrogators build bonds with the pilots. I wish I could find it again.
John Yoo talks about the language in Chapter 113C of the UN Conventions on Torture. He says that the term “severe physical pain or suffering” is not well defined and that is true. In the realm politicians, diplomats, and bureaucrats this is a vague term. That was the problem with the UN in that it never put any teeth in its resolutions. Then Rumsfeld provided the definition of “Illegal combatant” and you can legally throw out both documents. The memorandum by Alberto R Gonzales of 1 Aug 2002 defined the limits of torture as “Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” This is what happens when you try to regulate war.
To the uninitiated, the photos of Abu Ghraib are indeed shocking, but they do not come close to “organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death”. The stigma behind it causes people not to be objective. That’s understandable and films like this don’t help. As I said before, the photos represent nothing more than college hazing. It’s a matter of degree between plebes and prisoners. The whole purpose is to humiliate and demoralize in order to dominate. And it is vital for the captors to establish that relationship with the prisoners. It actually will save lives.
The real questions from the film are the reasons behind the deaths of the father and al-Jamadi. These are the true abuses. The film never made the link that either of these two was in the photos. So it is never clear how they died. But abuses did occur and the wiki has more definite information. We have to separate the treatment in the photos and the abuses. The photos only distract and inflame from what is important. The film implies that what was going on at Abu Ghraib was known by the commanding officers. When in fact, it was a few sadistic individuals manipulating the naïve youth. It was a failure of supervision of the superiors and a lack of bearing in the enlisted ranks. But when torture is applied properly it is extremely effective.
As far as rape goes; I’m sure that did occur. But as I mentioned before, there are probably more acts of sodomy in college hazing in this country. There are probably more rapes occurring in our prisons than Abu Ghraib. How many of our teachers have sex with their students? We should not worry about the degradation of this nation’s moral fiber for what happens in war, but the degradation of this nation’s moral fiber here at home in peacetime.
My heart goes out to Stacie, but I think this clip is the rule and not the exception. We see it here on this forum when Muslim apologists are confronted. They bend over backwards in denial. I don’t think that most people here are intentionally bashing Islam and Muslims but most are very critical of it. We are waiting to see some evidence of this tolerance but all we get is Taqiya. Even the gentleman at the end quoted 33:1 “O thou prophet, fear God and obey not the misbelievers and hypocrites; verily, God is ever knowing, wise!” Well, anyone who is not Muslim are misbelievers and hypocrites. So Muslims do not need to obey the laws of their adopted country.
I really don’t see a successful level of coexistence. One will always have to dominate the other primarily because Sharia law and the Constitution are incompatible. I still do have some hope for a meaningful reform in Islam but it would take such an internal civil war that the world would not be able to just stand by. I believe the odds are with a Muslim trigger to WWIII, not with China or Russia.
I believe that the Shah was a brutal dictator, especially against his enemies. But he was the rightful heir to the throne. He had brought his nation into a modern world. Under his rule, Iran had become only the third Muslim (first major) nation to give its women the right to vote. By far, the Shah’s regime was better than the current situation. If Cater hadn’t pulled our support for him, we wouldn’t have needed to go into Iraq twice and we wouldn’t be dealing with a belligerent Iran today. We’ve screwed up Iraq because we’re pulling out too soon and we’ve already screwed up Afghanistan for a second time. These are multigenerational commitments. We’ve been there only about half of one.