Friday, February 24, 2006

But Jack, Abuse is Not Mistreatment

Marty Lederman

Jack, Jack -- you still don't get it, do you? Yes, of course this sort of abuse was promoted by Geoffrey Miller, and was sanctioned by high-level officials in the Pentagon (who told Miller, but not their own lawyers, about what was legally permissible under their nouveau theory of the Constitution).

But so what?

Apparently you have not yet reconciled yourself to the plain fact that abusive and degrading treatment, such as that described in these e-mails, is not only "humane," but is actually authorized by the Army Field Manual -- which in turn incorporates the standards prescribed for prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. It therefore follows that wrapping Muslim detainees in an Israeli flag and forcing them to watch gay pornography under strobe lights is humane treatment, consistent with the Geneva Conventions. Don't just take my word for it -- that's the conclusion of the Pentagon's own Schmidt Report (at least, the Executive Summary, which is all we've been permitted to see). This explains why the Pentagon spokesperson can shamelessly respond that these recent revelations are "old information" -- been there, done that.

Hey, these detainees were lucky -- at least they were not forced to wear a bra and a thong, stripped naked, and tied to a leash and forced to perform a series of dog tricks (all of which is -- repeat after me -- humane and authorized by longstanding Army rules).

So please, Jack, get with the program -- no more of this talk of "mistreatment."


I already commented on the previous post that I do not believe that soldiers would act that way -- that the abusers were civilians (either government or contractor). In the Abu Ghraib scandal, as well, the perpetrators were not front-line soldiers but rear echelon cannot-get-a-job-in-the-real-world 38-year old MPs and affirmative action 98-pound would- be-on-welfare-otherwise white trash girls. I do not know that this degradation of our military forces can be laid entirely at the feet of the Shrub. Sure, his current AG wrote torture memos which would get lawyers in some jurisdictions disbarred. But it seems to me that the military has been degraded too much by the social experimenters who have limited its ability to choose the best person for the job.

I've known people on gov't assistance and maybe considered "white trash." They have a lot more shame that the leadership here.

Somehow, and reading some history reaffirms the sentiment, I don't think many of the average recruit in various past wars would meet your standards either.

Hey, Joe,

I'm a poor boy too. All I wanted to say was that real soldiers are not the ones who are doing this s__t. It's the borderline Section-8's and 4-F's who were forced on the services by the affirmative action/political correctness crowd.

well, if getting these people to oppose torture requires catering to reactionary preconceptions about "white trash," I suppose that's a decent trade-off. NK isn't all that accurate, though, if you look at who was doing this stuff in Gitmo and Bagram.


I think what's going on here is that the administration, and by extension the military, simply don't regard embarassing people to be "torture". A word they reserve for treatment which actually causes pain and/or physical damage to the body.

And I have to admit I have a hard time getting any outrage up about wrapping people in Israeli flags, even if I think their definition of torture is a *tad* narrow.

Oh Marty, you are such a card. ;)

As for the lingering confusion as to who, what, and how (by posters, not Marty or Jack), please see the remarks of Prof. McCoy, who has a good bit more than a clue here...

Democracy Now! --

February 17th, 2006

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