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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

the cancer spreads


this page has already written several times on the destructiveness of the adoption of torture as regular policy in policing the american empire, but said nothing so well as vladimir bukovsky said himself.

When torture is condoned, these rare talented people leave the service, having been outstripped by less gifted colleagues with their quick-fix methods, and the service itself degenerates into a playground for sadists. Thus, in its heyday, Joseph Stalin's notorious NKVD (the Soviet secret police) became nothing more than an army of butchers terrorizing the whole country but incapable of solving the simplest of crimes. And once the NKVD went into high gear, not even Stalin could stop it at will. He finally succeeded only by turning the fury of the NKVD against itself; he ordered his chief NKVD henchman, Nikolai Yezhov (Beria's predecessor), to be arrested together with his closest aides.

So, why would democratically elected leaders of the United States ever want to legalize what a succession of Russian monarchs strove to abolish? Why run the risk of unleashing a fury that even Stalin had problems controlling? Why would anyone try to "improve intelligence-gathering capability" by destroying what was left of it? Frustration? Ineptitude? Ignorance? Or, has their friendship with a certain former KGB lieutenant colonel, V. Putin, rubbed off on the American leaders? I have no answer to these questions, but I do know that if Vice President Cheney is right and that some "cruel, inhumane or degrading" (CID) treatment of captives is a necessary tool for winning the war on terrorism, then the war is lost already.
that descent into abject butchery is apparently now under way in iraq. american marines stand reliably accused of murdering a family of 11 without provocation in the middle of the night in a town called abu sifa. furthermore, time magazine has revealed a similar raid in which 23 were gunned down in haditha, evidence of which was documented on video by an iraqi journalism student. these are, amazingly, only two of many, many such reports -- none of which have corroborating video evidence and so remain unaddressed by any american authority and unknown to the american public.

american soldiers here acted very much as one would expect of the terror squads that were proposed over a year ago to be modeled on the el salvador version. one wonders how long this kind of openly immoral and horrifying behavior has been practiced by americans in iraq, and with what degree of hierarchical sanction. this writer would guess both too long and too much. one wonders how many iraqi "victims" of "roadside bombings" were in fact murdered by bloodthirsty americans adrift in a sea of violence and nihilism without rudder or compass and covered up by other americans no less evil in their intentions to systematically lie about it. this writer would again guess too many -- far, far too many.

whether these indescribable sins are a product of american torture or whether both -- and perhaps this entire war as well -- are byproducts of a deeper, advanced, utterly black cancer in the very core and heart of american and western society is an academic argument which, to this writer, seems to matter very little next to the real, actual horror through which these iraqis have been made to suffer at our hands.

this amoral war breeds amoral monsters on all sides.

The problem for the Pentagon is that every new incident involving civilian deaths triggers a new wave of anti-American fervour.

Last week Jalal Abdul Rahman told this newspaper about the death in January of his 12- year-old son Abdul. It was a Sunday evening and father and son were driving home after buying a new game for the boy's PlayStation.

They were a few hundred yards from their home in the Karkh neighbourhood of Baghdad when - according to Rahman - US forces opened fire on the car, killing Abdul.

Soldiers approached the car and told Rahman he had failed to stop when ordered to do so. Rahman said he had never heard an order to stop. The soldiers searched the car and, as they departed, they threw a black body bag on the ground.

"They said, 'This is for your son,' and they left me there with my dead son," he added.

Rahman claimed he had had nothing to do with the insurgency until that moment. "But this is America, the so-called guardian of humanity, and killing people for them is like drinking water. I shall go after them until I avenge the blood of my son."
may god help us to find ourselves again. i cry for america.

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Well written, however when you have in your blog:

"one wonders how many iraqi "victims" of "roadside bombings" were in fact murdered by bloodthirsty americans adrift in a sea of violence and nihilism without rudder or compass and covered up by other americans no less evil in their intentions to systematically lie about it. this writer would again guess too many -- far, far too many."

IMO, posing a theoretical question for which little if any evidence is available; then preface the follow on declaration with carefully thought-out rhetoric, and then conclude it with an extreme estimate for which no evidence has been provided creates the same type of logic which underlies the ideology which you wish to weed out.

 
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i think you do it both too much credit and too much injustice to call it logical, anon.

i would simply call it a cry.

with this, as with many things, by the time evidence surfaces in quarters so distant as ours -- indeed, by now -- the problem will in all likelihood be so widespread as to be unmanagable. if we have come to know it, it is vastly worse than what we know -- the tip of an iceberg. this assumption underpins my thought.

as to evidence, i would now take the claims of iraqis, unfounded though some of them surely are, as far more trustworthy than anything this american government or army has said in many years. i do not wish to trust criminals -- and i know of no political leader who is not a criminal first.

 
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"by the time evidence surfaces in quarters so distant as ours -- indeed, by now -- the problem will in all likelihood be so widespread as to be unmanagable."

Yet again; presumption of the existence of evidence, is not evidence.

While I do not doubt that the us government is engaging in a significant propoganda campaign. How do you know that in your quest to uncover the truth, you are not becoming a megaphone for the MOIS or other intelligence services who seek to push popular opinion in other directions?

 
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evidence is mounting rapidly, anon.

as far as my opinion goes and how it is influenced, i know only what i read. what i read is subject to debate and examination, but i try to keep it diverse and intelligent.

unless nefarious forces are manipulating a large number of sources -- ranging from the the washington post to the lebanon daily star to the economist to antiwar.com to a number of blogs -- i'm hoping to immunize myself to conspiracy.

 
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IMHO referencing "the guardian" is not an appeal to an unbiased source. But as you have said, that is, as always, subject to debate.

In any case, however, your statement that, "unless nefarious forces are manipulating a large number of sources" seems to call into question your original proposition that only one nefarious source is in fact manipulating information to the point where deliberate assasinations would be mistook for IED's. Events which apparently ate taking place without any other unbiased source casting so much as a interested glance in the direction of the event.

 
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bias can't explain everything, anon. their editorial page is decidedly left of the american center, of course. but shi'ites are unified in outrage at american transgressions against them, real or perceived, and whether the left or the right reports it is immaterial.

your original proposition that only one nefarious source is in fact manipulating information to the point where deliberate assasinations would be mistook for IED's. Events which apparently [are] taking place without any other unbiased source casting so much as a interested glance in the direction of the event.

was that my original proposition? i had thought that it was to say that american torture and american death squads have a dysfunctional social source in common with the very impulse to pre-emptively make war -- and that dysfunction is a severe one.

as far as the ied's go, american media is reporting american military statistics handed them by american military officers. is there room for manipulation there? is there incentive? and now, with literally scores of anecdotals countering this view, should it be questioned?

i would say, anon, w/r/t what we see, that most of what we are let to consume for information in iraq must be viewed with an exceedingly jaundiced eye. most western journalists do not venture beyond the green zone in baghdad; it is therefore relatively easy for the american military (which, like most any national military or indeed entrenched bureaucracy, has never shown a proclivity toward whole truths at any point in its existence -- in fact quite the opposite) to influence domestic coverage -- vastly moreso than for an unidentified malevolent force to spin in the opposite direction. in addition, the mainstream american media is -- regardless of what some on the right would wish to think -- heavily pro-american and largely cooperative with government, which makes american media no different than most national media. beyond that, we all think and act within a framework of uncerstanding which is particular to our civilization -- one not necessarily shared in the mideast -- which skews our view so as to make our actions understandable and theirs seem senseless.

as a consequence of all the above -- what we see conveyed to us by western media is, by the nature of its construction, distorted, often wildly, in favor of the american point of view. and THAT is the basic universal bias of media in iraq.

 
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Judging from the links, there does not appear to be any official effort to cover up those events. I have to wonder why, if control of the media were so critical, the army would announce that criminal investigators were in route to uncover the details of the shootings.

Your original post included a blanket judgment made against the military in general accusing them collectively of the events which your reference.

"Terror squads" or rather "bloodthirsty americans adrift in a sea of violence and nihilism without rudder or compass and covered up by other americans".

This judgement is based on the report written by individuals who are, based on your assertion, nowhere near where the events took place, but were instead fed the information by corrupt military officials who have spin the information to ensure a positive popular domestic response.

Your assertion implys that you have no evidence because it is impossible to acquire the evidence. And that is in fact evidence?

Ultimately, however, I see your position via your final statement. The construction of western media implys a requirement to deconstruct it prior to assessing the truth. Such methodology also presumes some level of a priori knowledge obtainable through some intuitive process usually closely held by those engaged in the deconstruction. This reasoning is inherently post hoc ergo propter hoc. Observable events are assigned a cause selected based on the observer's subjective beliefs, past experiences, etc. Said cause is in turn validated simply by pointing to the original event.

Apologies, I will not bother you again.

 
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it would be my loss, anon -- i hope you continue to bother me as long as you like. :)

Such methodology also presumes some level of a priori knowledge obtainable through some intuitive process usually closely held by those engaged in the deconstruction.

i see no flaw in your reasoning. but i submit that a priori knowledge is plentiful and widely available by a reading of the historical record and an acceptance of probabilities resulting from it.

an army is a complex bureaucracy -- and i mean not to paint it with too broad a brush. it works, as does every bureaucracy, in many directions simultaneously and often against itself. to say that it is engaging in deception and amoral brutality is to say nothing controversial, imo -- i would be hard pressed to find for you in the annals of human affairs an honest, moral army. american management have applied death squads before and recently, in vietnam in the 1970s and central america in the 1980s. and they of course are far from the first in history.

that is not to say every person within the bureaucracy is working toward that malevolent end. many are working against it -- as they were in the 70s and 80s.

but, just as clearly, many do work toward such evil -- and many feel compelled to and even justified to -- in part because they have been deprived by fear of anything that western civilization would recognize as a moral compass. there is nothing christian in what an army does.

if you feel, anon, that this is insufficient grounds for valid opinion, i grant you that it may be. if you feel it too subjective, i grant you that it may be. it is certainly not a rigorous proof. you can even deride it as a potentially self-reinforcing delusion; it does have that weakness.

but i would argue that it is sufficient to understand the probability of what is occuring in iraq, given the little we do know, interpreted through a historical lens, and calculate accordingly -- in part because rigorous proof will never be forthcoming at any point in which it can be relevant. a demand for rigor in these affairs is, most often, intentionally or no, a strategy of apathy.

for this reason and others, it is imo incorrect and even dangerous to assume that individual rational procedure -- however necessary -- is sufficient to divine what is occuring. i once felt that rigorous rational application was enough; i've since come to understand more fully the severe and narrow limitations of reason in a complex world, and feel a careful interpretation of the historical record despite its suppositional weaknesses is a much more fruitful tool of assessment -- though it is not kind to the american position which my citizenship condones.

 
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in short, i suppose, i have traded for the potential delusion of applied history in attempting to avoid the certain delusion of simplisitic and linear reason in a world that is neither simple nor linear.

 
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