Friday, May 14, 2004

Prisoner Photos - My View
I am putting up an email that I wrote to Mandeep Gill, a good friend and one of the leaders of the progressives on campus, regarding the prisoner abuse scandal. At the time I wrote this, I was unaware (and still am unaware) of any photos regarding forced sodomy or rape. If those photos exist, my opinion will be different on the issue of whether this is no big deal.

I haven't been web searching as of late because I've been swamped with exams.

About the prisoner issue. I think it is a non-issue and has been vastly oversimplified, which I have been saying for a week. Nor have I found the photos that surprising. The military has long said that they had effective methods of breaking the will of prisoners that didn't rely on physical torture. This fits with past statements (though that does not mean it was in line with actual military protocol). Either way, I still view this as overblown. Why?

1) I view this as potentially us betraying ourselves rather than any so called global moral community.

2) It is impossible for me to tell if the use of these tactics were in truth a betrayl of the American people without further information (what were the soldiers trying to achieve with the methods, what kind of information [through breaking them first psychologically] were they expecting to get, was there an expectation that was sufficient to justify the risk of sullying our reputation

3) I have little faith that this will severly enrage anybody in the middle east to dampen our war efforts. Ohy, there might be posturing. But in reality, those that are mad at us over this were already pretty fucking pissed beforehand. Others of them are going to be less likely to want to fight us. Islamic terrorists/freedom fighters/holy warriors aka mujhadeen (sp?) (take your pick, I'm not passing judgment here) may not fear death, but they are likely to fear being dog piled by a dominatrix in S & M gear while she laughs at the size of their manhood.

4) That being said, now that this issue is at the forefront, we have to ask ourselves if we as a country want to be a part of such actions. Just because they might make us safer does not mean that we should do them. The idea of breaking the spirit of a person is always repugnant, to break it so graphically is quite beyond the pale. I like having the moral ground, even if the rest of the world does not acknowledge it, which these actions clearly undermine.

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