No Blood, No Foul

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in The War On Terrorism

And if it’s internal bleeding…ehhh…that’s okay too.

So listen, for those who REALLY think that Abu Ghraib was an isolated incident…please, consider this new evidence and take a hard look at what our military is condoning by their silence.

Placards posted by soldiers at the detention area advised, “NO BLOOD, NO FOUL.” The slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: “If you don’t make them bleed, they can’t prosecute for it.” According to Pentagon specialists who worked with the unit, prisoners at Camp Nama often disappeared into a detention black hole, barred from access to lawyers or relatives, and confined for weeks without charges. “The reality is, there were no rules there,” another Pentagon official said.

Obviously, to a person who thinks our country’s torture policy is borderline illegal, this kind of nonsense really pisses me off. And apparently this place was so bad, even the CIA stayed away? And the Red Cross wasn’t allowed there?

The abuses at Camp Nama continued despite warnings beginning in August 2003 from an Army investigator and American intelligence and law enforcement officials in Iraq. The C.I.A. was concerned enough to bar its personnel from Camp Nama that August.

It is difficult to compare the conditions at the camp with those at Abu Ghraib because so little is known about the secret compound, which was off limits even to the Red Cross. The abuses appeared to have been unsanctioned, but some of them seemed to have been well known throughout the camp.

And just in case you think this type of treatment is getting us a lot of actionable intelligence…think again.

Many were initially reluctant to discuss Task Force 6-26 because its missions are classified. But when pressed repeatedly by reporters who contacted them, they agreed to speak about their experiences and observations out of what they said was anger and disgust over the unit’s treatment of detainees and the failure of task force commanders to punish misconduct more aggressively. The critics said the harsh interrogations yielded little information to help capture insurgents or save American lives.

Our government keeps finding legal arguments to torture. This is the result. How long will it take our leaders to realize how much this policy hurts our credibility?

Something tells me that day will come in January of 2009.


This entry was posted on Saturday, March 18th, 2006 and is filed under The War On Terrorism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “No Blood, No Foul”

  1. Dan Murray Says:

    There is a theory that those who question our credibility over secondary issues don’t posess the mental clarity to see the big picture of a formerly enslaved society charting a new path with their own chosen leaders.

  2. Justin Gardner Says:

    I’ve heard that theory, but here’s a far more dangerous affliction. It’s called “Blind Faith.” It happens to a person when they’re extremely afraid, and it basically makes them unable to see anything wrong with what their goverment is doing as long as it’s in the name of fighting “terror”. Side effects? False sense of safety, lack of credibility and baldness. The only cure? Open your eyes.

  3. Rudi Says:

    For Dan and other of “Blind Faith”.
    If torture is so good, why don’t we “Bring it on” here in the US. We can use it against sex offenders , IslamoFacists and those who “attack our Christian values”. Let’s trust police and prosecuters to find all the terrorist who want to fly planes into are shopping malls. I just hope no innocent victims die while in custody in this search for “Truth”.

  4. callimachus Says:

    Both views can be true and in this case probably are. In going into a protracted war against an enemy who plays by no rules, and with a good deal of anger and frustration already in your own heart, you have to be very careful about falling to the level of your enemy. It requires constant virtues-checks to prevent it happening.

    People who have been telling you all along that you’re a blind follower of a corrupt, evil, wanna-be fundamentalist dictator won’t help, of course, because having to listen to them over years will train you to tune out such suspicions even after they become legitimate.

    You have to tune out the yowlers and just look at the images and read the accounts, and bearing in mind everything else you know and feel, think for yourself if this is right or not.

    We’re not immune to this type of behavior just because we’re Americans. You can find examples in every other war we’ve fought. Historical views see some as “good wars” and some as “bad wars,” and the degree of torture and criminality we used in each is not necessarily reflected in those judgments. But we don’t have the luxury of that. We have to live this one in the present tense.

  5. DosPeros Says:

    Some people express their patriotism by risking their lives in combat for their country. Others express their patriotism by being bloGenerals and condemning the 1st group for how they chose to stay alive. Who says patriots aren’t all equal?

  6. Justin Gardner Says:

    Others express their patriotism by being bloGenerals and condemning the 1st group for how they chose to stay alive.

    Yeah, torture is ESSENTIAL to staying alive. You got me!

  7. debsay Says:

    Justin,

    Just because there were some abuses, doesn’t mean that it was sanctioned by the administration. There are always going to be those that abuse their power in every walk of life. Just as not all Catholic Priests are pediphiles, it’s just that you only hear about the ones that are – you only hear or read about the abuses that were found. Just being able to find these abuses out points out that it wasn’t a sanctioned activity and that some people allowed it to get out of hand. If the administration was sanctioning these things there wouldn’t be any reason to allow them to be logged into a holding facility – you would just take them straight to a black ops place without any paper trail.

    This is a problem of the supervisors on site not reigning in the soldiers when they were getting out of hand.

    Another reason that I don’t believe that it is sanctioned by the administration is that there are people arrested and punished for this type of behavior.

    Another problem is that you have people giving their ‘opinions’ or their perspective of a situation…. it may be classified as torture or it may not. I can guarantee you that if you asked 20 people what would constiture torture you would get at least 15 different answers… what is this definition of torture??

    I don’t know that I would call it ‘Blind Faith’, I don’t want soldiers that particpate in ‘torture’ to go unpunished – but I don’t believe that every soldier participates in it and that it is rampant. It’s not.

    “And just in case you think this type of treatment is getting us a lot of actionable intelligence…think again.”

    Once again you are accepting this person’s opinion – what makes his opinion any more or less valid than someone else’s? What if he doesn’t really know ‘all’ of the information that was obtained?? I’m sure that someone could cherry pick some statements to show the exact opposite of what you are showing here.

    “Yeah, torture is ESSENTIAL to staying alive. You got me!”

    But you can’t honestly say – that it wasn’t essential to somebody… what if they were able to get information about future bombings in Iraq?? Information on where the explosives and weapons caches were before a big raid??? What if that information really was ‘essential’ to staying alive for some soldiers?? Does that change anything with you???

    I don’t think it would… You would still be indignant about how you believe that soldiers should fight a battle, what they should do and what they shouldn’t do. Personally I leave that to the soldiers and their superiors – they know what the situation is over there, I don’t. There are enough superiors and supervisors in all levels over there that this type of illegal behavior wouldn’t stay secret for long – which it doesn’t.

  8. Justin Gardner Says:

    debsay, if you can’t see that the administration is sanctioning this tactic by trying to get exemptions for the CIA to torture people, I’m not sure what else to say. Everything trickles down from them.

    As for all of your other points, I stand by what I said. It appears as if most of your questions (if not all of them) are rhetorical. If you want to really ask me questions, then please list them and I’ll answer them. But I’m not going to get in a row like we have in the past. It’s not worth it.

  9. debsay Says:

    “As for all of your other points, I stand by what I said. It appears as if most of your questions (if not all of them) are rhetorical. ”

    Would this be considered ‘Blind Faith’ on your part???? I think so… kind of fits the same definition that you are attaching to others.

    I guess there is enough ‘Blind Faith’ to go around, isn’t there?

  10. debsay Says:

    I stand by what I said too, the ones that are taking part in these unlawful activities are being punished…. kind of like – being arrested when you break the law…. sounds like it isn’t being sanctioned to me.

    The entire problem with the whole debate is that we cannot agree with what the definition of torture is and what it includes….. that is where the disagreement comes in. So your comment: “debsay, if you can’t see that the administration is sanctioning this tactic by trying to get exemptions for the CIA to torture people, I’m not sure what else to say. Everything trickles down from them.” is a strawman – we haven’t agreed that what the CIA would be sanctioned to do is actually Torture…. it might be unpleasant to the prisoner but is it actually Torture just because you ‘say’ so??? I don’t think so.

    Come up with a plain definition of torture that is acceptable to all of us and we’ll talk… until then you are just spouting an opinion based on your rhetoric.

  11. Justin Gardner Says:

    Hey debsay, quit using so many ????? when you ask questions. It makes it seem like you’re yelling at people.

    Jeezus, after the last blowout we had, don’t you get that I’m not interested in having the same discussions with you? Every time you’d ask the same questions, and I used to answer them point by point. Then you’d systematically ignore my answers and ask the same questions in a related post. It’s tiring and I’ll have none of it.

    If you want a definition of torture it’s out there in the McCain amendment, which I have cited on this blog no less than four or five times. Also, I know you’ve commented on those posts.

    Again, I’m done with talking to you if all you’re going to do is accuse me again and again. It’s not worth my time.

  12. Meredith Says:

    I love the whole “but, it depends on how you define torture” argument. I also like how lots of people like to label things as “strawmen.” What’s so funny, debsay, is that your “depends on how you define torture” argument is the real strawman. “Come up with a plain definition of torture that is acceptable to all of us and we’ll talk”? Are you kidding me? No one could ever comply with that request, and therefore you get to be right. Congratulations. If you can talk yourself into believing that the government is not sanctioning this crap, then good for you. Some of the rest of us are not content with that.

    This country is not supposed to be torturing people, we are the ones who are supposed to be “policing” the countries that do. Remember, that’s part of the main reason we went to Iraq in the first place, right? Mean old Saddam is torturing and killing his own people and all kinds of other people. It does not matter that what he did was way worse than what we are doing. I would never claim otherwise. However, we have stooped to the level of the enemy, even if we have not yet gone as far as the enemy. That is unacceptable.

  13. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    I think it’s easy for a nation to lose its soul in war. We must be vigilliant with our values. We must not let them become corrupted. Cruelty is not our way. No American soldier is putting their lives on the line for our right to be cruel.

    Even if torture yielded info that saves lives (and there is serious debate regarding the usefulness of torture in information gathering), is our safety really the most important end we hope to achieve? Isn’t our nation founded on more than mutual protection?

    The path of torture is the way of our enemy. Once we take one step on their road, we risk losing our way entirely. I cannot be convinced that torture is anything but horribly un-American.

  14. debsay Says:

    Once again, the fact that there are prosecutions for those involved in the ‘torture’ shows that it isn’t being sanctioned…. if it was being sanctioned there wouldn’t be any arrests or prosecutions.

    “Some of the rest of us are not content with that.”

    Show where the government is ‘sanctioning’ this behavior. Is it where they actually investigated alledged abuses, arrested those involved, held trials and then sentenced them… why not, that doesn’t show that it is being sanctioned. Where has the government came out for true torture and protected anybody involved? Anytime it has been uncovered it has been investigated and punished.

    Yes you are right, I do not believe that loud music, lights on in the cells 24/7, AC turned on too low or heat too high amounts to torture. Nor do I consider head games to be torture, that is just a tactic to keep a prisoner off balance and make it harder for him to plan anything.

    The biggest problem that I had with McCains amendment was the lack of any definitions – or at least workable definitions.

    What exactly is Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading treatment? McCain’s amendment points to the definition in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading treatment or punishment. So what exactly is it?

    From the UN’s own text:

    1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

    That’s just the torture definition and even it’s not very clear… exactly what would you define as ‘severe mental pain’? You can’t even have a set physical pain index because it is entirely subjective… what may be intense pain for me may be a mild irritant to you – so how is this definition denifitive? It isn’t. The only mention of Cruel and Inhumane treatment in the Constitution is:

    “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

    We haven’t even gotten to the Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading part yet… is it going to cover calling someone names? We have 200 years of of lawyers twisting and bending the words of the constitution to be anything that it wants them to be. How is the average soldier going to know what is permitted or not permitted based on this crap? Do we have to read the Miranda warning to the enemy captured on the battle field now? I also don’t agree with laying out exactly what interrogation techniques will be used against captured enemy, all that does is prepare them to ignore any questioning. Sometimes a little fear is healthy in an interrogation… if you actually lay out that we start with a, then move to b, c, d, and then in a last resort e – they just prepare themselves for e knowing that it won’t get any worse than that.

    I also believe that we shouldn’t go down the road of torture, I have faith in our system of government that it has built in protections against this type of thing. That is how the other abuses came to light – somebody from within advised the superiors of the abuses and they were investigated. I don’t agree with getting all knee jerk about it and claiming that these types of abuses are rampant, that Bush initatied them, that the administration supports them, etc. because it just makes you sound hysterical.

    If you don’t have any faith in your fellow countrymen that’s fine, you don’t have to. I happen to believe that they won’t allow anything to go too far – we do not have a dictatorship where the soldiers and government officals are under the threat of death to keep them quiet. We have an open form of government where people within the government can take these issues up with superiors and them investigated.

  15. Justin Gardner Says:

    debsay, read this article “Cheney Plan Exempts CIA From Bill Barring Abuse of Detainees” and this article “Cheney pushes senators for exemption to CIA torture ban“.

    If after reading those two you still don’t think our government is sanctioning torture, then you need to stop commenting on this post because you’re wasting my time. And as far as your “definition” question, obviously the administration has a specific definition for torture if they’re trying to exempt a specific organization from being accountable for it.

    One last point. I, like you, am glad that people have been prosecuted for torturing. But you can’t condemn those men and women for the actions that happened in Abu Ghraib and then try to get the CIA exempt from using those same tactics. And to suggest otherwise is ridiculous. The administration has made their position clear, regardless of how much they condemned the Abu Ghraib torture.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Open your eyes.

  16. Meredith Says:

    debsay,

    I think the definitions are clear enough. How about we just define torture as anything that would be severely painful, whether mentally or physically to YOU. Are you tough? Do you want to push it? Just because someone might obtain a copy of our rules and plan ahead does not give us permission to torture people in order to mix it up.

    Yeah, and the government is prosecuting people alright. They throw lower-level military men and women under the bus so that they can say they did something about it. Meanwhile, as Justin has shown you, top officials with the administration are trying to get rid of the bans against torture, and they do nothing to the higher-ups in the military branches, who should be responsible for that their underlings do, whether they were ordered to do it or not. Isn’t that the way it works if you are a boss that willfully ignores the illegal, not to mention immoral, conduct of your employees?

    For God’s sake, the freakin’ UN has said WE should shut down these camps because they are violative of the human rights of the prisoners. We just can’t be doing this – AT ALL, and the administration could easily say – if it wanted to – that under no circumstances will any of this be tolerated, and to make sure that it doesn’t happen again we are going to institute a policy to take care of it. Instead, the oppose all suggestions that are made and do nothing except arrest and convict a couple of peons.

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