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Becoming the enemy

June 13th, 2004

I am still yet to fully absorb the implications of the latest revelations on torture, which are far worse than anything previous (start here and follow links – the news gets steadily worse, until you get to this and this.

As one of the links seems a bit flaky, I’ve attempted to archive it using Furl, a marvellous service with which I’m still in the early stages of experimentation. The archive link is here.

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  1. tipper
    June 14th, 2004 at 01:45 | #1

    I find this heading offensive.
    If placing a menstrual stained knickers and sticking a banana up some ones arse can be equated with beheading, A La Berg’s beheading, then I feel sorry for you.
    “Becoming The Enemy”, be buggered.

  2. Anthony
    June 14th, 2004 at 15:39 | #2

    Yeah Tipper. Until we are exactly as barbaric as Al Qaeda, there is no cause for concern.
    \sarcasm

  3. June 16th, 2004 at 12:36 | #3

    That’s a nice straw man you’ve got there, Anthony.

    A few instances of GIs making prisoners wear female underwear does not justify an over-the-top headline like “Becoming the Enemy”.

    Wildly overblown reactions like this will only cheapen the genuine concerns that are raised.

  4. Anthony
    June 16th, 2004 at 23:29 | #4

    No point thanking me for the straw man EP, tipper said it. Also nice to see that Abu Ghraib has become “a few instances of GIs making prisoners wear female underwear” in your world. Wildly underblown reactions like this will help your cause immensely.

  5. Warbo
    June 17th, 2004 at 00:41 | #5

    Evil, would you say that the death of suspects as a result of interrogation justified the heading? Hmmm? Would you say that contests between guards to see who could get most prisoners to involuntarily urinate through the use of dogs justified the heading? Hmmm?

    Good god, do you actually believe the stuff you write, or are you just being a good soldier? Have you ever had an opinion on something that doesn’t come predigested by your favourite completely unbiased news sources?

    Apologies for the lack of civility, but one of the great merits of this blog and others like it is that the bloggers and commenters are generally prepared to discard the party line and give their own ideas about what’s going on in the world.

    Hacks like EvilPundit, while providing some briefly amusing sport akin to shooting fish in a barrel, show absolutely no ability to admit that ‘their side’ might be wrong, might have done wrong, should maybe be called to account.

    I’m explicitly excluding from that anathema others who regularly comment here with whom I, for one, disagree on many things, but who I respect for their independence and maturity. You know who you are – I hope.

    Here endeth the lesson. Sorry. Got a cold. Bad day.

  6. June 17th, 2004 at 12:55 | #6

    “I’m explicitly excluding from that anathema others who regularly comment here with whom I, for one, disagree on many things, but who I respect for their independence and maturity. You know who you are – I hope.” (Emphasis added.)

    Warbo, that’s not explicit, which would mean an extensional definition, a clear listing. It’s not even implicit, since it isn’t specific enough for even an intensional definition, a definition that would let you work out who was defined even if it didn’t spell it out. It simply doesn’t tell anyone who these people are.

  7. Warbo
    June 17th, 2004 at 15:46 | #7

    Well, P.M., I’d have thought the sort of contribution I was referring to was pretty explicit, but perhaps you’re right and the wording is a bit sloppy. Anyway, it’s not worth arguing about.

    I case you’re wondering, yours are the sort of contributions I appreciate and take an interest in, even when I disagree with you. Thanks.

  8. June 17th, 2004 at 18:48 | #8

    My comment did underplay the Abu Ghraib abuse to some extent, but not quite as much as it has been overplayed by the media and some political commentators.

    And no, not even the beating to death of some prisoners and the setting of dogs upon others can make the US as bad as the enemy.

    While some abuses may have been sanctioned by higher authorities, murder is not, and investigations are underway. That in itself distinguishes the West from Saddam and the Taliban, who used murder and systematic mutilation as their official policy.

    Any honest and informed comparison between the treatment of prisoners by the US Army and Saddam’s enforcers would reveal a huge difference — one which has been systematically ignored in the media coverage and commentary.

  9. Warbo
    June 17th, 2004 at 20:29 | #9

    Yes Evil, the revelation that the West is not as bad as Saddam and the Taliban is certainly astonishing and should be given far greater prominence.

    I am also severely pissed off that my local paper has failed to report that I have not beaten my children recently and that yesterday I refrained from mugging an old lady I passed in the street.

    Damn the liberal media! They’re always trying to make me look worse than I am!

  10. Anthony
    June 17th, 2004 at 21:01 | #10

    Is that what this is about EP? Do you really need to be *reminded* that our guys are not as bad as Saddam’s goons? Couldn’t you just write it on your hand or something?
    (I must say though, your last comment is very moderate, for you. Are you mellowing? Say it’s not so!)

  11. June 18th, 2004 at 19:42 | #11

    EP’s last bout of reasoning is like that that used to come out in favour of Israel, saying that at least Israeli atrocities were illegal and got sent before the courts when detected.

    But that leaves two things out. All the breast beating does is verbal; the atrocities continue, and the trials change nothing institutional, so “rotten apples” don’t get prevented and incidents aren’t isolated after all. And what’s more, the verdicts only rarely send real messages either – too often the Calleys of this world get pardons for their “individual” My Lais.

  12. Warbo
    June 13th, 2004 at 15:38 | #12

    John, the first of the ‘this’ links doesn’t go anywhere much.

  13. Kieran Healy
    June 13th, 2004 at 16:23 | #13

    In my experience Yahoo news links never work — the url changes all the time. I think they do this on purpose.

  14. John Quiggin
    June 13th, 2004 at 16:31 | #14

    Yahoo don’t seem to block Furl at present, unlike the NYT, which won’t let you save (though this may be a fortuitous by-product of password access).

  15. June 13th, 2004 at 18:45 | #15

    Furl will only publish the link that you save, not the archive of the page itself. Which is a shame, because there should be some way of stopping the linkrot that’s part and parcel of blogging from online news services.

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