[Marxism] Re: Does NYTimes finally get it?

Carlos A. Rivera cerejota at optonline.net
Fri May 20 15:24:30 MDT 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Brian Shannon" <Brian_Shannon at verizon.net>

> The article is about prison abuse and how persuasive it is.

That might be your take on it. I rather saw it as yet another one "look how 
bad Bush is that he lets these evil men run amok, gee, if we had Bill 
Clinton as commander in chief, this wouldn't happen, he would at least jail 
them more".

Actually, not even that, the Bush administration is not even held 
accountable in the article.

It even speaks glowingly of one Sergeant Yonushonis, for offering to "help" 
against the rotten apples.

> It is an in-depth analysis about the breadth and the depth of the evil, 
> which began in Afghanistan.

I didn't see any "in-depth analysis", at least not of the sort you usually 
see from the NYT on other things (10,000 word reports on Iraqi "Commandos" 
[ie Death Squads] in the Sunday Magazine, for example). It was actually a 
re-hash of an official US armed forces report, with contacting the people 
named to give their side of the story. It was shallow reporting, not 
"in-depth analysis", by any definition of the phrase.

Of course, the American news industry is so deformed, anything that is 
longer than 500 words is considered "in-depth" and reporting becomes 

> The thrust of the article is not that the murders and other tortures "are 
> sole responsibility of a few."

I think we read different articles.

> The emphasis is how long the coverup has been going on, how mild the 
> sentences are, that the offenders were then transferred to Abu Ghraib,

All of this is just blaming the "few rotten apples".

> that the commanding officer claimed to know nothing,

I presume you reffer to this:

"Military spokesmen maintained that both men had died of natural causes, 
even after military coroners had ruled the deaths homicides. Two months 
after those autopsies, the American commander in Afghanistan, then-Lt. Gen. 
Daniel K. McNeill, said he had no indication that abuse by soldiers had 
contributed to the two deaths. The methods used at Bagram, he said, were "in 
accordance with what is generally accepted as interrogation techniques."

Again, this opens the door to the "rotten apple" argument. It is after all, 
just the American commander in Afghanistan, not his higher ups.

And again no questioning of the war itself. Pure liberalism.

> that the Rumsfeld directives gave them cover, etc.

Lets see this specific bit:

"Nor were the rules of engagement very clear. The platoon had the standard 
interrogations guide, Army Field Manual 34-52, and an order from the 
secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, to treat prisoners "humanely," and 
when possible, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. But with President 
Bush's final determination in February 2002 that the Conventions did not 
apply to the conflict with Al Qaeda and that Taliban fighters would not be 
accorded the rights of prisoners of war, the interrogators believed they 
"could deviate slightly from the rules," said one of the Utah reservists, 
Sgt. James A. Leahy."

In other words, it was a policiy decision (arguably one that would have been 
different under a liberal president), that led soldiers to "believe" they 
"could deviate slightly from the rules".

This nicely worded paragraph actually manages to:

1) Accept that Rumsfeld standing orders were to treat prisoners 
"humanely," - This is not true in fact. His definition of what constitutes 
"humanely" is not one fit for a dictionary. I mean, sleep deprivation is far 
from humane, and it was explicitly allowed under Rumsfeld orders. By not 
questioning Rumsfeld's humanitarian wording, the article accepts the major 
defense of the Bush Administration, that "abuses" are a reuslt of wayward or 
misunderstanding troops, not of direct orders from the troops. In other 
words, it accepts there is no cover up, but rather badly given orders (again 
that would have been different under a liberal president)

2) Blame Bush for opening the door for the military to "believe" they "could 
deviate slightly from the rules" - This is the pinnacle of liberal 
disingeneousness. The military in the USA and most in the world is trained 
to follow orders, and retain initiative within a set limit. It is a clear 
doctirine in military justice that "neccesity" take over "rules of 
engagement". Soldiers know this, and officers know this.

And again no questioning of the war itself. Pure liberalism.

> In fact, liberals overwhelmingly, excluding the foul nest in congress (and 
> who knows or cares what they really BELIEVE), believe that these abuses 
> involve much more than a few rotten apples and go all the way to the top.

C'mon??? If this were true, why is Hillary Clinton is the buzz for prez?

Liberals, in particular when facing the war in Afghanistan, flip-flop all 
over the place. Kerry was actually more hawkish than Bush in the debates.

Now, you might want to separate liberals from the people they vote for, but 
I grant them at leats that they vote for those they liked.


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