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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:02 AM
Original message
Attn: DU military vets (especially matcom) and everyone else: Read this.
Edited on Sat May-15-04 12:03 AM by WilliamPitt
This guy is a truthout editor:

===

http://truthout.org/docs_04/051504A.shtml

Militarism Leads to Torture
By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Saturday 15 May 2004

Drill Sergeant: "El Salvador!"
Troops: "Kill!"...
Drill Sergeant: "El Salvador!"
Troops: "Kill!"
"When the coffee beans come creeping all around in El Salvador"


On our way to the mess hall morning, noon and night we sang that cadence in 1983. The U.S. military was preparing us to kill Salvadorans. They wanted us to think of them as less than human. One of the goals of military training is to prepare you to kill; another is to prepare you to follow orders. The combination of de-humanizing the enemy and becoming subservient to the chain of command leaves many soldiers capable of torture.

I also remember the stories about the CC, or Correctional Custody facility. The purpose of Correctional Custody is to make one last ditch effort to mold disobedient troops into soldiers. The stories were of hard labor, including carrying large rocks up and down hills, sleep deprivation, and humiliation. I was never sent to one of these facilities, but the Marine Corps Manual describes them as boot camp x 10.

It is in these camps where our military police or correctional officers receive training. While many, including myself, are shocked by the pictures of the torture being conducted by our troops in Iraq, I understand why those soldiers were capable of carrying out these shocking acts. From their first day at boot camp, they were trained to follow orders and to kill. I remember being told that I was a private, I was not paid to think, but to do as I was told.

I remember the first meeting with Drill Sergeant Wyatt. I was overweight with long hair. He immediately pointed to me, and said: "I want that one." He always told us that the reason he came back into the military after Vietnam was to get revenge on any recruits that he thought would run to Canada. He was sure I was one, and paid special attention to me. He was in my face regularly, humiliating me in front of my fellow recruits.

In prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and other places, the army acknowledges the use of sleep deprivation, and other techniques to break detainees in the interrogation process. The reports out of Iraq are much more severe and troubling, but we must ask: Once we sanction certain forms of torture, why should be shocked that some will feel it is OK to go further?

Those responsible should be punished, but we are not talking just about those conducting the acts. The actual participants may not have been directly ordered to carry these acts out, but they were asked to soften the detainees for interrogation. It was years of military training that prepared them to not question their orders, and to not sympathize with their prisoners.

I am not anti-soldier. They joined the military, like I did, to defend their country, get an education, learn a skill, etc. I am against militarism, a system where the enemy is de-humanized to the point where otherwise good people can be trained to be capable of the horrors in the photos from Iraq, and capable of massacres. What happened in those prisons was a symptom of the same mentality that led to the Mai Lai massacre. The victims were less than human to those that acted.

Until we as a people reject militarism as a way to resolve our differences, indiscriminate killing and torture will continue to happen.

...much, much more...
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
1. The military cannot allow questions
Soldiers ARE paid to do as they are told--and it has to be that way. A platoon that reevaluates an order in the middle of combat is lost.

The problem comes not from dehumanizing but from the urge to seek revenge. Most soldiers don't have the inner strength to resist it.
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rooboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Guarding prisoners is not in the middle of combat, though, is it? n/t
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:44 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Doesn't matter
You want to create a different set of rules for each and every job a soldier is called upon to perform?

Not justifying anything here. But the DOD's policy itself (or lack thereof) and a criminal neglect in training are the roots of the problem--like cancers, they've eaten into every GI's perception of right and wrong.
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. Wouldn't this have been valid for Nazi soldiers too?
Seriously.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 01:16 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Yep this is the Classic NUREMBERG
Defense, hence why soldiers NEED to be drilled into what
is a legal order and what is an ilegal order.

Oh and MPs are not under fire, they do not have a second to
decide, and are responsbile for keeping POWs safe, secured, segregated
et al... POWs are at tehir mercy and they need to move them to the
rear, and keep them alive

This is part of the deal made when POWs surrender.

When housed the standards are pretty specific. Last time I checked
we do not shove phosphorus sticks or mostly torture folks in our
own army... hence why POWs have to be housed at the very least
with OUR MINIMUM stnadards, and I could go on, and on, and on...

Do you have all night?

And I am sure this will be tried by lawyers

Teh modified Nuremberg defense is... we heard it, I had no way of knowing, I did not know... nobody told me...
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atreides1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 01:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
12. Wrong
Soldiers are paid to defend their country, if you want some one who will do as they are told hire a maid.

As for not having the inner strength to resist seeking revenge, that is part of each individuals upbringing. If like you say most soldiers
don't the ability to resist, then there would be more dead civilians then there are now, women, children, the old, the disabled, men.

I agree about the lack of inner strength, but I disagree with you on the numbers. Most soldiers have the inner strength to resist seeking revenge.

And what happened in Abu Ghraib was that the weak minded were taken advantage of by those who are trained in the art of manipulation. The CIA, contractors and the Regular Army MI people knew before they even entered that prison what kind of hicks they would be dealing with. The kind that really believed that Iraq was involved in the WTC and Pentagon attacks, who thought they were doing their patriotic duty by being in Iraq to help in bringing down a dictator.

So they told them what would be humiliating to a Muslim, and let them in on their little drills, and got them to participate. And I'll bet all the intel people had to do was to tell these weak minded hicks that they would be saving other Americans, that some of
these prisoners might even have information on how to stop the IED's.

Do I have any proof, no, but I've worked with MI people when I was on active duty, let me tell you, some of them are so good at what they do, that they could convince a bear to hibernate during the summer.

And the military does allow questions, especially when illegal orders are concerned. But it's up to the individual soldier to have the courage to say no. As opposed to what SPC Sivits said about "going along to get along."
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matcom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 06:59 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. i respectfully disagree
And the military does allow questions.....

questions are discouraged, STRONGLY. even during peacetime, i have SEEN officers questioned and have SEEN the reprocussions. you question your chain of command and you pay the price. oh yeah, occasionally you can get a hearing and occasionally you might right a wrong but not often. and the price you pay during that lengthy process can be unbearable.

once the question is raised for example, the military MUST move you out of the unit. that can be a nightmare and you immediately are NOT trusted within your new unit. soldiers know this.

don't think for a minute that the military is an open society. it isn't.

from day 1, you simply do everything that your told
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Nlighten1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 08:03 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. Very true.
And in the case of the unit I was in you would fear for your life.
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:19 AM
Response to Original message
2. Nice callout of Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Why should he be so surprised? He should know better. Good piece.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:36 AM
Response to Original message
4. I remember drill
Drill is a good way to get you to do things as told

I also remember the cadence songs, and the chain of command

And I was trained as an EMT... but we were reservists technically

The hardest thing I had to do was disobey a direct (and very ilegal) order, from an Army Colonel... due to a newly exploded civil war.
But most were willing to go, and do what they were told

Thankfully MY CHAIN stood by me...

And that is how I left the service... as it were

But many years ago I remember taking a course in College, and it had
to do with militarism. Those who had never been exposed in any way
shape or form to military or paramilitary training were questioning
how you could train somebody to not question orders. I know how you
do it, been on both sides... as a trainnee (not quite boot) and
pushing trainees.

And as easy as it is to recognize the training and not questioning
orders, questioning ilegal orders should be emphasized, and even that one was not emphasized where I learned how to drill, and salute and all that. And we were the ones who should be thinking...

Those who commited those crimes are still responsible but... a Private is not more guilty than a LGen, and we know that
Sanchez today remanded his orders in writing, and he gave them in
writing. So why is it that the theater commander is not yet under
arrest?

Curious, very curious indeed


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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:44 AM
Response to Original message
5. I wonder if it was a blessing we caught it when we did because.....
once a simple abuse or torture is accepted, then it leads to further abuse and torture, each step more advanced than the other, until all sense of humanity is lost....
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:50 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. It has been going on for over
two long years...

Started at Guantamo and in Afghanistan
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 04:47 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. It's methods were honed
in the American prison $y$tem.

Funny about Mumia and Charlie, eh?
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Mountainman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 01:00 AM
Response to Original message
8. When I was in basic training we had these things called pugile sticks
Edited on Sat May-15-04 01:13 AM by Mountainman
They were polls about 4 or 5 feet long and about 2 inches thick. They had padded leather bags on the ends. The bags were about a foot long and 10 inches round. We wore football helmets and protective gloves. The object of the training was to use the pugile sticks like a rifle with a bayonet on the end. You jabbed your opponent with the lead end and then using an upper cut motion hit them under the jaw as if you were hitting them with the butt of a rifle. The upper cut motion was the worse because it would knock your opponents head back which left him defenseless. You could then knock the hell out of him. While you were doing this the drill sergeants were yelling at you to "hit him, hit him!" they would start out with one on one then make it two on one. They kept changing the odds. Sometimes there would be three on one. We were to be merciless to the opponent. I remember one particular time when it was three on one and one of the three was not doing anything but standing there watching. I think he felt that the odds were not right or something so he stood back making it two on one. The guy fighting alone was maneuvered around so that his back was to the guy that was just standing there. The drill sergeant yelled at him to hit the guy fighting alone. That meant hitting him from behind while he was fighting the other two. The guy standing there hesitated and the sergeant kept yelling at him to hit the other guy from behind. Eventually he did. He gave him an upper cut with the pugile stick in the base of the neck and almost tore the guys head off. The guy who did the hitting saw the guy he hit fall to his knees and saliva and all kinds of stuff was coming from his mouth. He was almost unconscious and disoriented. The guy that hit him dropped his stick and tore off his gloves and helmet and ran back into the group so the guy he hit would not know who hit him.

At first I was in shock to see the sergeant tell this guy to hit someone from behind like that. It was sadistic. He seemed to enjoy seeing it. I never forgot that and went I went to Vietnam I realized that if you hesitated in a moment like that you could be killed.


This probably sounds cruel and sadistic but if you were going to send someone off to war it is better to train them how to kill well or they may not come back. Not asking questions may save your life and your buddy's life. At times there is no time to think you can only act and do as you are told. You can't have a bunch of guys all thinking for themselves. Yet you are not supposed to obey an unlawful order. It is a tough place to be.
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retread Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 07:09 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. "Can't have a bunch of guys thinking for themselves". n/t
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Career Prole Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 01:45 AM
Response to Original message
11. I read this part and felt a chill..."I also remember the stories...
...about the CC, or Correctional Custody facility. The purpose of Correctional Custody is to make one last ditch effort to mold disobedient troops into soldiers. The stories were of hard labor, including carrying large rocks up and down hills, sleep deprivation, and humiliation. I was never sent to one of these facilities, but the Marine Corps Manual describes them as boot camp x 10.

It is in these camps where our military police or correctional officers receive training."

I didn't know that. The Marines ran the brig on the Ranger when I was in the airwing. I remember the "prisoners" getting double-timed across the hangar deck to chow chanting loudly in unison "Gangway, PRIZ-ners!" over and over. The Marines would stop the regular chow line and herd in the "prisoners", all with nearly shaved heads and instead of uniform shirts they wore undershirts because "prisoners" have no rank. They were only allowed spoons to eat with and sat at an isolated table They ate silently under the stern glare of Marines standing at parade rest at either end of the table. When they had finished eating they'd turn in their spoons, form up and get double-timed back out. "Gangway, PRIZ-ners!"
If you walked the hangar deck at the proper time of day you could see them performing calisthenics. Other than that and chowtime, they were kept out of sight in the brig. We used to wonder what all the yelling was about in there, but no one ever asked. We were in the main uncomfortable when they were around. The chowline chatter would die down, conversations would stop and we'd get suddenly curious about the condition of the paint on the overhead. I used to wonder why they had to stay in the brig. We were at sea, for God's sake. None of us were going anywhere.
I keep putting the word "prisoner" in quotes because these guys could be subjected to this treatment for offenses no more criminal than not showing up for work on a day when the skipper was in a foul mood.
One day during the "Gangway, PRIZ-ners!" hustle across the hangar deck one "prisoner" broke ranks as they passed one of the elevators (the big ones used for bringing aircraft to the flight deck). He just stopped chanting and went at a dead run to the elevator and jumped over the side without ever hesitating. The nearest dry land was Guam, 80 miles away.
We never found him. We were never told what he had done to end up in the brig to begin with. We never talked about it at all except in hushed tones in private. I've always wondered what they told his folks. I doubt that anyone who saw it has ever been able to forget it, or ever stopped wondering why. I know I didn't, and it was 30 damned years ago.
If we train our guards in correctional custody units where they practice their skills so efficiently on their shipmates I have to wonder how much worse it could be for an enemy.
Nothing against the Marine Corps, mind you...don't be slappin' knots on my head! Sailors would have run it the same way if they'd been given the job.
Sorry...must be the coffee. I couldn't shut up. I guess I needed to tell someone. Thanks for the therapy. :)

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matcom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 06:25 AM
Response to Original message
14. FINALLY!
Damnit I have been "remembering" my "training" both privately and out loud for weeks now.

FINALLY someone was willing to put in down in writing.

100% correct and a DEAD ON PIECE!

i need coffee. i'll explain more later.

thank you Will. Sadly, this made my morning.
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Merlin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 07:39 AM
Response to Original message
17. You can get a good sense of this from Kubrick's FULL METAL JACKET (c 1985)
Here's what NetFlix says about it:

One of the most authentic portraits of warfare ever captured on film, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket teems with howling madness, stark images and troubling questions about duty, honor and sacrifice. Raw recruits (including Matthew Modine) suffer the grueling ordeal of basic training and battle with the Viet Cong over the city of Hue during the Tet Offensive.


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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #17
25. Full Metal Jacket was like bootcamp in slow motion
really, nothing ever moved that slow.
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Ernesto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #17
26. Yes, I was in that movie!
But for me, it took place from '65 to '67. I passed thru Hue before Tet & It was trully beautiful. After Tet, it was just another shit hole to try to forget,
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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
19. Another account of bayonet drill (language warning)
Posted at buzzflash:

Consider this from Hal Muskat, who went through basic training at Ft. Dix, NJ, describing a frightening scene during bayonet practice for 1,000 young men:

"In between the call/response of, 'What's the spirit of bayonet?' 'Kill! Kill! Kill!' drill instructors (DIs) would pick up megaphones and scream, 'See those C-130s landing? They are bringing in bodies of dead Americans killed by gooks. The gooks murdered our soldiers! Do you want to be a body on that plane? I can't hear you? What's the spirit of bayonet?' Every once in a while, a DI would pull several of us aside and give us lessons on the proper use of bayonet in performing a 'field abortion.' Stick the bayonet in the gook's cunt and pull up towards her throat. A dead gook in the womb saves Americans lives!'"

Or this, from Roger Domagalski, describing what he was told as a recruit and his duties after basic training: "From the first moment we arrived, we often heard the words, 'girls, ladies, sissies, pussies, and worse' when insulting us. Thus 'women' as a whole became a derogatory concept; very sexist and very dehumanizing...I had been dehumanized to such an extent that I completely lacked all empathy for these frightened, new trainees. Instead of treating them decently, I mistreated them as I had been mistreated. Once you dehumanize a person, you need to maintain control because such a person is liable to do anything, from the relatively mild 'hazing' I engaged in, to the Nazi-like terror tactics used by the guards against Iraqi prisoners. Yes, basic training works...all too well sometimes."

Should we be shocked that good American kids are filling Fallujah's soccer field with corpses, torturing prisoners in Abu Ghraib, raping their own female comrades?



Shocked, we shouldn't be by Mike Ferner
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TexasProgresive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Bayonet Rap by Tom Paxton
I wish that I could post a link to this monologue but can't find one. Tom gave a very funny and moving prologue to his "Vietnam Potluck Talking Blues" on "The Compleat Tom Paxton" around 1970. It recounts bayonet training and I believe it is set at Ft. Dix. I can't find the text on the net.

Here's the closing verse to his "The Willing Conscript":

Oh, I want to thank you, Sergeant, for the help you've been to me.
For you've taught me how to slaughter and to hate the enemy.
And I know that I'll be ready when they march me off to war,
And I know that it won't matter that I've never killed before.
And I know that it won't matter that I've never killed before.

http://www.kramerskorners.com/Paxton/lyrics/twc.htm

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WilliamPitt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
21. Kick
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TacticalPeek Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
22. I have to disagree. AG did not result from militarism or de-humanization.
Edited on Sat May-15-04 10:31 AM by TacticalPeak
If anything, military training should have prevented AG, and probably would have, provided there was good leadership in the chain of command all the way to the top.

A very revealing study was conducted over thirty years ago by Philip Zimbardo at Stanford, with astounding findings. ABC's Nightline looked back on it recently.

--------

Prison experiment revealed 'descent into hell'

PM - Monday, 10 May , 2004 18:31:10
Reporter: Michael Vincent

MARK COLVIN: The images from the Abu Ghraib prison have shocked the world, but they haven't surprised an eminent professor of psychology in the US, because he's seen something very like them before. It was 33 years ago that Professor Philip Zimbardo carried out a landmark experiment at Stanford University, using 24 student volunteers as guards and prisoners.

The 1971 experiment was supposed to last a fortnight, but it had to be called off after just six days. During that time the prisoners were stripped naked, had bags placed on their heads and were made to simulate sex, in strikingly similar imagery to photos now coming out of Iraq.

Professor Zimbardo, who has become a specialist in the prison environment, says his 1971 experiment does not excuse those reservists who are implicated in the Iraqi prison abuses. As he's been telling Michael Vincent, superiors all the way up the chain of command should also be held responsible.

PHILIP ZIMBARDO: There is direct parallels. The Stanford prison study was designed to go two weeks. I ended it after six days because it was getting out of control because it was seeing similar things as to what happened in Iraq. By similar things I mean the guards stripping the prisoners naked at any excuse, humiliating them, degrading them, putting bags over their heads, chaining them together, then finally, and this is after just four or five days, the guards are doing homophobic things to the prisoners. I mean the guards are telling them "bend over, you're female camels" to one group, second group of prisoners, they're saying "you're male camels, hump them" and they're laughing because it's a play on words, hump, you know.

MICHAEL VINCENT: This is a psychological experiment with students, educated kids, 33 years ago?

PHILIP ZIMBARDO: These are college students, American college students I'm saying from all over the country, who were chosen after clinical interviews, a battery of psychological tests, they had no history of crime, no history of drug addiction, no history of psychology pathology disturbance, the most ordinary, but intelligent young men, randomly assigned as prisoners and guards.

We ended the study, not only because the guards were doing those terrible things, but four of the prisoners who we chose because they were normal and healthy were having emotional breakdowns, had to be sent to student health.

My sense is that what I saw was a microcosm of what happens in all prisons, that the prison in AG is only dramatic because we have these vivid pictures.

more
http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2004/s1105314.htm

-------


It is military training that should enable a commander to tell prison guards "Do not abuse my prisoners." and confidently expect his soldiers to overcome the temptations of power and secrecy. And lest I or Zimbardo be misinterpreted, one more quote from the link:


MICHAEL VINCENT: But at what point will people take responsibility for what has happened in the Abu Ghraib prison? Do you think that the reservists who have been seen in these photos will use, for example, your experiment, your work as an excuse for what they've done, or do you think they should be held accountable?

PHILIP ZIMBARDO: Oh no, no, okay, let me make really one thing clear. I'm not talking about- psychology is not excusiology. What I'm saying is, we can understand what the social psychological processes of transformation were operative in that situation. It does not excuse the behaviour.

I'm saying they were guilty. Guilt is- I'm making a distinction between guilt and blame. That is, in a sense, the model is a public health model. These guys were caught in an epidemic of war, okay, and so they are not the source of the epidemic. The source of the epidemic is whoever put them in harm's way, whoever put, whoever created the war in the first place, and secondly, who did not give them supervision, who created a prison which was veiled in secrecy, not open to lawyers, not open to human rights groups, not open to Amnesty International, not open to family. That secrecy always, always, everywhere invites corruption and these guys are simply carrying out orders.

They are, they will be tried and be guilty. Who should be tried is George Bush. Who should be tried is Rumsfeld. Who should be tried is his assistant, Wolfowitz. Who should be tried is the generals who set up this prison to fail. That's all I'm saying, is we have to start blaming the barrel and not simply saying there are a few bad apples who corrupted the barrel. No, the barrel corrupts most of the people in it and for me that's the barrel of war.


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matcom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
23. kick
:kick:
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matcom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-04 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
24. one last one
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