Monday, February 21, 2005

It's That Time of Month Again....

Spiked injects some much-needed reality into the left's PMS-addled hissy fit about Gitmo.

For the record, I still think using sexual provocation to offend the inmates is pretty funny.

9 Comments:

Blogger Decadent Leftist said...

Regarding that article:

The account cited by the author differs greatly from the account reported by the AP, Globe and Mail or BBC News.

The article in question in fact cites none of these sources, while at the same time roundly condeming them.

Additionally, since the actual SOURCE mentioned in the two separate accounts. Mainstream press articles cite a report from a former US Sergeant named Erik Saar in their articles. Your "much needed reality" claim about the article is deliciously ironic, seeing as how the article is deliberately misleading throws out elements that were never mentioned by the LIBERAL MEDIA in their reports.

I think there's a reason why "spiked" is online- at best they're a bunch of poorly trained journalists, reaching for an angle that they know will be picked up by the oh-so self important "blogsphere" as proof of the perfidity of the LIE-BERAL MEDIA(dun dun DUN!). At worse they're a bunch of partisian hacks. I sincerly hoped the article was a satirical piece, but a quick perusal of the front page (which was full of typical UK right-wing blather. Eurosceptics and what i am guessing are UK liberalterians and old men that are too true and blue for the Tories expounding on important issues like the need to resume animal testing) disuaded me.

The piece and "reporting" that you say are proof, proof, I says! of the folly of the "misguided left" begins by quoting man that no one has EVER cited in mainstream press. No mainstream press article ever mentioned prostitues in the first place- neither did I- I refer to them as intelligence officals.

Never mind that you are being selective with your news here. Though i did like how they did the "GITMO IS BAD" excuse, showing tolerance for human rights and the Geneva Convention, but like a typical hack, they follow it up with the attack that they really wanted to make the "BUT IN REALITY WE HAVE TO KILL THE BROWN PEOPLE" argument. Phew. Sure glad they qualified it with their respect for human rights in the first place. Then its back to the cheap moralizing and purple prose!

Nevermind. I'm sure you posted a poorly written and reseached article to provoke people. Kudos to you. Fo course, it provides valuable insight into what you read and respect as news...which is kind of troubling.

Anyhoo...you seem to be avioding the issue re: torture. WHICH IS HAPPENING. Such incidents are symptomatic of a climate of abuse and torture.
Here. These are recent articles about Gitmo. Are these instances of torture?:

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=7668990

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=7562973
(i'd like to point out that this one says Gitmo is milder, compared to sodomy and beatings, but still talks about the FBI warning the Pentagon about using torture techniques in Gitmo).

11:15 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Umm ... the article wasn't journalism. At best, it was a review of journalism, but essentially an analytical opinion piece. I didn't claim it was journalism, nor do I think Spiked has ever claimed to be a journalistic news magazine (maybe I'm wrong ... I've only been going there for a few months.)

Also, it was an attempt to debunk some of the more hysterical claims about sexual abuse, not to refute the more measured allegations that female interrogators have been playing head games with the detainees. As such it is not surprising that the sources tended to be far-left rags like the SMH, as it was those stories that the author was debunking.

As an aside, what exactly is a 'liberaltarian'? I've heard of libertarians before (I am one.) Is a liberaltarian like a libertarian, only further to the left? That doesn't seem to be the context in which you were using it, so I can only assume you mean 'right wing nut job' ... in which case the word seems to have no etymological sense at all. Which come to think of it isn't surprising in a time when 'liberals' generally ignore the principles of liberalism, and 'conservatives' are often to be found with quite revolutionary ideas in their heads. But I digress.

Now, the articles you submitted. Only tangentially related to Gitmo, but anyhow. Most of the incidents described in the first article didn't strike me as torture, more like 'aggravated assault.' There is a difference between rifle butting a man in the head and, say, painting Chinese characters on his skin with sulpheric acid (I lifted that from an Allan Moore comic.) So, no, that's not torture, but it's still wrong. As is violence at any time. It is hardly, however, an indictment of the entire U.S. military: soldiers from any nation have been known to get carried away at times, and it would hardly be surprising if the brass decided to look the other way, or even help cover it up, especially if the troops involved are otherwise good soldiers. As for the notional Afghanistan pictures ... they were taking pictures, not collecting tissue samples to take home as souveniers. Point guns at them? Scary, but not torture. They were hooded, too: you could get much the same emotional affect by saying "I'm pointing a gun at you." Would that be torture? I'd see the deletion of the pics as more a sign of jumpiness amongst the brass after the fallout from Abu Grahib, than an indication that the pics themselves necessarily showed torture.

The allegations directed at the CIA task force are torture, if true. But operating outside the law is sort of what spooks do. Given the whole secrecy thing, holding them accountable is a little difficult. If it's true - and it can be proven - that the guy was tortured, and forced to sign a confession/waiver of rights, then someone should be held to account. The proof's the tricky part. The assumption of innocence applies just as much to soldiers and spies as it does to criminals and terrorists. If it didn't - if we gave a dishonourable discharge to every grunt who got accused of manhandling a POW - there wouldn't be too many soldiers left before long. Now, sadly, spooks tend to be pretty damn good at covering their asses, so actually proving they did something outside the law is about as easy as proving that your local mafia boss has ten greasy fingers in ten little pies.

As for the second, it's not exactly unknown for prisoners to lie about torture. If what they say is true, then it's a horrible thing and all those responsible, up to and including the base's CO, should be punished. If being the operative word. A beating like that should leave lasting marks, which any halfway competent doctor could verify given even a cursory examination. So where's the medical report? So far, the story rests on the good word of men who are likely terrorists (always a trustworthy source), and their lawyer (ditto.)

In the end, I'm not losing any sleep over any of this. Most of these stories are allegations without any proof, as of yet, to back them, meaning that there's a high probability that they're not true. Those that do have proof are few and far between, pointing to a few over-enthusiastic bad apples rather than systemic brutality.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Decadent Leftist said...

A ONE ACT PLAY

CAST: MATT

SETTING: A ROOM WITH WINDOWS PAINTED BLACK AND SOUND DAMPERS EVERWHERE. THERE IS ALSO A PHONE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM ON A TABLE


*RING RING*
*RING RING*
MATT(answers phone): Hello?
PHONE: Hello. This is Reality. Just wanted to say hi. You and I've been out of touch for awhile

-FIN

Seriously though. Every alligation i've seen regarding prisioner abuse by female intelligence officers has been from a mainstream site. Everyone i know who discusses it cites the AP, BBC, Globe and Mail, Reuters, etc, not the so-called "left wing rags" you talk about. They are marginal and unimportant to the issue. Elements from their stories NEVER reached the mainstream . This is just an attempt at a bait and switch, by citing hysterical and poorly researched articles in an attempt to confuse the issue. It would be like me trying to debunk and discredit stories from the American right wing press by quoting and attacking things from freerepublic.com.
Media like the ones you cite are marginal for a reason- they are poorly researched and lack standards. You (and your ideological ilk) are trying to confuse the issue by citing them as true- its like saying "WELL IF THIS ACCOUNT IS NOT TRUE, THEN EVERYTHING ELSE ISN'T TRUE" that's wrong and you know it.

Fact of the matter is, Gitmo is indicative of a culture of abuse and torture within the US army. Also, since you seem to have ABSOLUTELY NO UNDERSTANDING OF OR BACKGROUND in the study of international law or international relations (save what you are fed by partisian hacks), I'll refrain from asking you to weigh in on what constitues torture. Courts have held that the military is representative of the state and its policies, and prisioners are not to be tortured at all. THAT INCLUDES FAKE EXECTIONS held by "grunts". American pilots who suffered the same fate when they were shot down over Vietnam and Iraq in 1991 are usually successful in their claims that they were "tortured" when they suffered similar abuses. Why doesn't it apply to your personal bete noir TERRORISTS?

Also, when the Red Cross, Amnesty International the ACLU and former soldiers say that war crimes and human rights abuses are taking place, looks like the LIE-BERAL lawyers and their clients MAY have some standing.

Please read something intelligent for once or think outside the partisian box. You seem to be a smart person, at least try to allow for a second that torture is more than bamboo shards under the fingernails- most courts and international aid agencies think so. It's troubling for you (and the US Government) to be out of step with them.

PS: I won't ever try to spell liberaltarian right. It is a childish, infurating and immature ideology. It is below my contempt so i won't spell check. Please reconsider your political beliefs and reorder them by the time you turn 30. Just come out and say you're a right winger. It will save us all a lot of trouble.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Riiight. Okay, I don't think I've ever said, "Allegations about abuse or torture at Gitmo are obviously lies." I have said that, a) I don't much consider the sexual part torture, and b) if the allegations are true, they have to be proven in a court of law before anything can be done. These are serious, career-ending charges, after all.

As to whether sexual head games constitute torture, I don't much care how the ACLU et al define torture; I define it as inflicting pain, usually in order to elicit information. I'm not sure how much clearer I can be about this. I am fully aware that there are many people, some of them much better versed in international law than I am, who disagree with me about this To be perfectly frank, that doesn't bother me. I'm not going to apologize for that. Nor am I going to apologize for making a crude joke about the enemy (and, yes, Islamist terrorists are 'the enemy.' That's what we call people who want to kill us.)

Your characterization of libertarianism as "childish, infurating and immature" is ... ridiculous. I can understand the hostility, though. Libertarians have ideas. Relying on market forces instead of state intervention, ending the ridiculous and counterproductive drug war ... things a lot of people agree with but not too many are willing to state out loud. Liberals, sadly, seem to have lost any ideas, or even any need for them. All they really seem to want is to either take power or hold on to it. Your ideology, DL, is stale. It's been too long without a good wash, and people are starting to comment on the smell when it's worn around in public.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Decadent Leftist said...

"Liberals, sadly, seem to have lost any ideas, or even any need for them. All they really seem to want is to either take power or hold on to it."

That's right.

Canadian big "L" Liberals...don't forget it. OH WAIT. You can't because they've been in power for DECADES.

As for your torture position...welllllll...you're wrong. That's that. I'm not meaning to be personal here, but its out of step with conventional legal thinking on the matter. But you have a right to be wrong. After all, people believe silly things like that the earth is 6000 years old and that Ronald Regan was a good president.

Liberaltarianans-well...usually they're pretty axiomatic, pedantic and usually not schooled in politics or civics. It seems nice to them at a glance "NO GOVERNMENT? AWESOME!" and they rush off to read about it before their mom comes how and kicks them off the computer.
Modern civil society needs the of the State. There is no discussion here. After all, who else would be defending freedom and spreading democracy to the hellholes of the world?

If you would like to see your Libertarian(spelled it right just for you) ideas in action, may I suggest you take the next flight to Somalia?
I understand the warlords in control love deregulation, free markets and personal freedom a great deal.

Also, how come you're
supporting the "abuse" of prisioners in the interrogations? Doesn't that violate your principles regarding the rights of the individual not to be coerced?

please clairfy here

10:48 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

If you support the Liberal government, I take it that you're in favor of corruption and incompetence at home, and weakness abroad. Name one (one!) federal program or department that has worked well over the past, oh, twenty years. Immigration? Nope, that's broken. How about health care? Hmm ... everyone I know who needs it is on a waiting list. The army? Liberals broke that toy decades ago and have been quite content to let it rust in the dirt.

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe you support the NDP. In which case you probably didn't notice that our side won the cold war because collectivism doesn't work.

I do not dispute that, for now, the State is a necessity. For some things. Law enforcement, national defence, stuff like that. Everything else - and I do mean everything - would be handled better and cheaper by the private sector. Having the State gobble up almost half of the economy is an obscenity; it shouldn't be allowed to grow beyond 10%.

Speaking of bait and switch ... Somalia! Hmmm, I could equally well say, "If you think socialism is so great, why don't you move to North Korea?" That would be somewhat more apt, I think, given that Somalia has never had any pretense towards being a libertarian state (there is a difference between minimizing state interference and a complete collapse of public order, you know), while the PRNK has been a self-identified communist state from the beginning in both ideology and practice. But communism isn't socialism, you say? And you'd be right, insofar as it's the difference between strep throat and flesh-eating bacteria. One may be more virulent and dangerous than the other, but the basic principle is the same. If you want to get into this more, well, I'd advise against it: I have a feeling that your grasp of economics is, to put it politely, somewhat week.

As to my "defence" of "torture", I haven't been defending what I consider torture. Sure, you think I'm wrong. Whatever. As to other forms of abuse, well ... libertarian principles apply only within one's society, not to barbarians who want to destroy that society. It's a contract, and they haven't signed it. If they stayed in their shitty little moonscape countries and didn't try and blow up our financial centers, I'd be all for leaving them be. But they don't, so if we want to survive twenty, twenty-five years from now, we have to defend ourselves against a terrorist network. When dealing with a terrorist network, one of the imperatives is to gather as much information as possible, any way it can be gathered. If that means messing with a terrorist's mind in order to get the dirt on his terrorist colleagues who are still at large, well, then that's what it means. Maybe it needs repeating, but given the choice between a truck nuke going off in the middle of a major city and a few terrorists having their delicate sensibilities threatened, well, it's not much of a choice. Or maybe it is for you, I don't know. Tell me, straight up: given the choice, would you rather several hundred thousaand people die, or that a few jihadis have red magic marker rubbed on their cheek?

6:51 AM  
Blogger Decadent Leftist said...

Points:

"Maybe you support the NDP. In which case you probably didn't notice that our side won the cold war because collectivism doesn't work."

What?

This statement wouldn't even make sense to a 12th grade civics student.
Not only have i never made mention of being a socalist, but the NDP isn't even really all that socalist. They're social democrats. As for "winning the cold war", seeing as how most of the Western world subscribes to a social democratic welfare state model (i'd argue that the Canadian welfare state is not really that strong, but one nonetheless) i think THEY "won" the cold war.

-As for your statement regarding the federal government not "working", that shows a supreme ignorance of how goverment works in ANY country. If you said it "wasn't working" that would imply the service totally collapsed. Health Care still functions, so does revenue canada, the RCMP, immigration, Health Canada, etc. Just because Conrad Black and Sun media say they don't work doesnt...well it doesn't count for anything actually.
How is immigration broken as well? We still take in people and assimilate them to french or english and get them working. Its not like they're are taking over the country and getting welfare.
Its better than throwing us to the mercy of THE FREE MARKET- usually ends up being cheaper too.

Also, you're a young man with (i am assuming) very little income. WHy do you want the state to privatize everything and complain about your taxes? YOU DONT HAVE ENOUGH TO COMPLAIN ABOUT IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

-North Korea is Stalinist- an extreme version of fascist communism. I never said i liked the idea of a communist state ever. But the idea of the welfare state is not a bad one. Only a fool (or a liberaltarian) would argue otherwise.

-How come Somalia isn't a liberaltarian state? The free market reigns supreme and their is minimal government involement. Isn't that what you want? Isn't that what Canada would look like if we sat down once day and said "LIBERALTARIAN, HO!"

- The irony of a self-described LIBERATARIAN arguing with me about twho has a better grasp of economics is VERY VERY FUNNY.

-Terrorism. Oh good. Platitudes, hysterical handwringing and doomsday scenarios. Listen, I'm not a midwestern soccer mom (or a liberaltarian)- i don't have SACRED SACRED CHILDREN to worry about so i'm not that worried about "nukes" and whatnot. Since AQ has no nuclear capabilties, (that's why they hijacked planes with BOX CUTTERS) i'd say this point is moot.

Listen- international order and BASIC HUMAN VALUES (some of which are in the liberaltarian social contract you subscribe to) say you do not torture anyone. You are flailing now and are trying to distort the issue.
You are to respect the rights of an individual at all times and abide by certain rules of conduct-even when they are in custody- this is what the civilized world rests upon- indivudal liberties and freedoms. That is what makes us civilized. "WELL THEY WANT TO DESTORY IT". So will we if we resort to torturing people.
That includes not committing war crimes and crimes against humanity such as TORTURE, which includes mental abuse. FAKING EXECUTIONS **IS** TORTURE.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

If you're not a socialist, my apologies. Most leftists tend to be, so I made the assumption.

The reason we won the cold war has dick to do with the welfare state, and everything to do with the productivity of a capitalist economy. We won in spite of the welfare state, not because of it.

As to the government working. Revenue Canada? Yes, they do an excellent job of collecting funds for the government. Few governments ever let that slide. Health care? Everyone gets equally shit access, unless of course you happen to be a politician, or know one. So yeah, it works just peachy. Immigration? I'm constantly hearing stories of war criminals and other security risks slipping through the system, and blithely ignoring our warnings about deportation. The only reason it's not a bigger problem is because airplane tickets cost money; if the world's trouble spots were on our border, we'd be having bad problems.

Yes, I'm young. I don't make much money, and most of what I make goes to rent and food. Luckily I don't pay much in the way of taxes, yet. I imagine I will as I rise the socioeconomic ladder, though, and I'd really rather not. Just because I'm young doesn't mean I'm stupid, or selfish (and for the record, wanting to keep what's yours is not selfish. Expecting society to pay for everything without my doing a damn thing - as some of the welfare queens who dropped out of my highschool do - that's selfish.)

There is no essential difference between communism, fascism, socialism, or welfarism. Whether you're talking about the individual giving up freedom to the collective, or the collective taking responsibility for the individual, the result is the same. Rights and responsibility go hand in hand. Remove the latter, and the former isn't far behind.

As to Somalia being a libertarian state, I really fail to see the connection here. Libertarianism and total absence of government are not the same thing, unless of course you're talking anarcho-capitalism (something even libertarians consider fringe.) Can I take it that you're suggesting increased private involvement in the Canadian economy would set us on the road to armed thugs patrolling the street and shaking down every other citizen? Please.

Very, very few libertarians argue for a total absence of government; we generally believe that government should handle national defence and law enforcement, and keep its fingers out of everything else. Some, like Hans Hermann Hoppe, argue that private insurance companies could one day replace national armies and police forces, but while his ideas are intruiging we are far from being able to practically implement them. For now, a market society requires the stability of a state, but at the same time thrives best when the state minds its own business and doesn't try to ruin the economy by nationalizing every other industry.

So, you think you know economics, and better than me at that. Really, I'd be surprised; I have yet to meet a single socialist (and very few leftists) who had anything like a realistic grasp of economics. Let me geuss: when you think economics you think Keynes and Galbraith, or others of their ilk. Friedman you probably regard as an extremist, and I doubt you've even heard of Mises.

Hysterical handwringing? Doomsday scenarios? Listen, the fact is, we don't know what the terrorists have. They might have a nuke, not one they made themselves but one purchased from the North Koreans, or from the Pakistanis. Or they might not. We find ourselves in a tactical situation known as 'low probability, high consequences.' I'll leave that for you to puzzle out, on the assumption that your grasp of military matters is somewhat better than your grasp of economics.

I tire of this 'debate'. I find your shrill, confrontational attitude distasteful. It is obvious that you are more interested in craftings insults than in an exchange of ideas. I find it simultaneously amusing and sad that you call me childish, when you regularly resort to the use OF THE CAPS LOCK KEY to give your puerile words the illusion of force. You accuse me of using bait-and-switch techniques, inaccurate or biased source material, and ad hominem attacks, when you are yourself just as likely to use the same techniques without shame or apology. There is no longer any doubt in my mind that you are a troll (though, I will grant, a good one), a distasteful species regardless of politics. I am not feeding you any more. Fuck. Off.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Decadent Leftist said...

OHHHHHH!!!! Did i hit a nerve? All i did was call you on your bullshit. And did i ever call you. That's what real people do. I'd say the same things to you in real life- would you say the same to me, or would you just realize how dumb your position sounds coming from your lips?
I didn't mean to make you angry, but hey, if this is how you react to your shrill and stupid posturing, go ahead.

Last points:
"Expecting society to pay for everything without my doing a damn thing - as some of the welfare queens who dropped out of my highschool do - that's selfish"

You can't live on welfare in Canada or the US. You can't. People on it don't live in the lap of luxury and have trouble surviving. That's why fraud is such a problem. Also, High school? You're still pissed off about people from high school? Jesus. Grow up.

"Some, like Hans Hermann Hoppe, argue that private insurance companies could one day replace national armies and police forces, but while his ideas are intruiging"

WHOA. BAD IDEA. You like science
fiction. I'm sure you've read doomsday scenarios and terrible cyberpunk that goes in this direction.See what i mean about liberaltarians being childish?


Also,
" There is no essential difference between communism, fascism, socialism, or welfarism".

Read a history book dumbass.

Also, i never baited and switched or cited inaccurate or biased source material. YOU DID. (CAPS AHOY).

Typical closeted right winger. Hurt when you realize you've argued yourself into a corner, turning into a hysterical drama queen when you've got nowhere else to go.

Note as well i never insulted you personally- that means i was trying to debate you and carry it on. Yet in your rage, you've shit all over where you eat and made a huge baby out of yourself in front of your online buddies.

YOU LOSE.

1:10 PM  

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