Democracy Arsenal

« Media Matters | Main | Where are we on North Korea »

October 13, 2006

It's Official: Congressman Shays Lives in a Parallel Universe
Posted by Shadi Hamid

So rarely have I been revolted as I was while watching this disingenuous piece of obsfucastion and denial by purported nice guy Congressman Chris Shays. Here is a man who has explained away and excused the Bush administration's open policy of facilitating torture while, in Orwellian fashion, calling it something else. See his pathetic performance here. Shays and the other torture-justifiers have chosen to turn a blind eye to some of the most egregious abuses of power our country has ever seen. It has destroyed our crediblity, but, more importantly, it has destroyed our moral sense as a nation.  Progressives should forget polls and remember principle, and start attacking the torture apologists on this issue like there's no tomorrow.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference It's Official: Congressman Shays Lives in a Parallel Universe:


Cheez, Congressman Shays, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, recently suggested Rumsfeld's removal--can we keep him for a while?

Sorry--that link isn't working. Instead go here and under "The Latest" click on: Shays Offers Observations, Recommendations to Improve Security in Iraq, Encourage Iraqi Political Reconciliation (10/4/06)

NOTE: For me, checking links on this site before posting them means not being able to get back to the previous page.

There's a story that north african camel drivers who must beat their overloaded camels to get them to keep carrying their loads through the desert, eventually get the camels so enraged that they try a trick. The camel driver will fill his cloak with sticks and make a bundle that the camel can stomp to death. Once the camel has let its aggression out the camel driver retrieves his cloak and goes back to beating the camel.

Rumsfeld is Bush's camel dummy. His whole remaining purpose as sod is for you to concentrate on getting rid of him.

I like the camel story, but it doesn't apply to Rummy. Rumsfeld rules the Pentagon with an iron hand. He has purged thinking generals and insured that his subordinates are lackeys. He has mismanaged the two illegal and immoral wars the US government is fighting and covered up his many mistakes with arrogant bluster. Worse, he has ordered, or at least countenanced, kidnapping and torture and the gratuitous killing of civilians and the needless death and suffering of the US military and their dependents. He is responsible for the US military using terrible munitions such as depleted uranium (which causes cancer in children) and cluster munitions (which makes their cancers irrelevant). He is a war criminal of the worst order--if he had been on the wrong side at Nuernberg he'd be swinging from the gallows. So I say to Congressman Shays: Go get him. It's so refreshing to see a Repub congressman in this rubber-stamp congress stand up to Rummy that I'm even willing to (temporarily) overlook his dumb torture remarks.

Now I still like the camel story, but I think it better applies to George Bush. He's about as bright as a bunch of sticks and Cheney needs him as his camel dummy on his neocon wanderings in the desert. Stand here, George, read this, George, take the heat, George--that sort of thing.

The term "sex ring" is probably a little hokey, but the folks who committed those acts at Abu Ghraib were sado/masochists. Moreover, to me convincing someone that they're about to be electrocuted when you have no intention of doing so is certainly harsh treatment, but it's essentially deception rather than torture. I know you folks would gladly expand the meaning of the term to include finishing your piano practice, but we're at war with an enemy that wouldn't bat an eye at killing ten thousand people, or more, with one act.

BTW, what's up with this statement?

"We cannot protect the likes of Congressman Schays from defeat."

Is this a Germanification or Hebrewizaton of his name? Isn't there a term for that?

Demosophist, get a clue

Aiden Delgado, an Army Reservist in the 320th Military Police Company, served in Iraq from April 1st , 2003 through April 1st, 2004. After spending six months in Nasiriyah in Southern Iraq, he spent six months helping to run the now-infamous Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad.

Portion of an interview published on Black Commentator:

Q: Your unit, the 320th Military Police, was stationed at Abu Ghraib for six months. Who were the prisoners at Abu Ghraib? Where did they come from? Do you have any new information not yet reported in the media?

DELGADO: There were 4,000 to 6,000 prisoners at Abu Ghraib. I got to work with a lot of officers, so I got to see the paperwork. I found out that a lot of prisoners were imprisoned for no crime at all. They were not insurgents. Some were inside for petty theft or drunkenness. But the majority – over sixty percent – were not imprisoned for crimes committed against the coalition.

Q: How did so many noncombatants get imprisoned?

DELGADO: Every time our base came under attack, we sent out teams to sweep up all men between the ages of 17 and 50. There were random sweeps. The paperwork to get them out of prison took six months or a year. It was hellish inside. A lot of completely innocent civilians were in prison camp for no offense. It sounds completely outrageous. But look at the 2005 Department of Defense Report, where it talks about prisoners.

Q: When you arrived at Abu Ghraib, what did you see, beyond what we all learned from the scandal in the news? And how were you affected?

DELGADO: I was becoming disillusioned. I expected brutality from the enemy. That was a given. But to see brutality from our own side, that was really tough for me. It was hard to see the army fall so much in my esteem. The prisoners were housed outside in tents, 60 to 80 prisoners per tent. It rained a lot. The detainees lived in the mud. It was freezing cold outside, and the prisoners had no cold-weather clothing. Our soldiers lived inside in cells, with four walls that protected us from the bombardment. The Military Police used the cold weather to control the prisoners. If there was an infraction, detainees would be removed from their tents. Next, their blankets were confiscated. Then even their clothing was taken away. Almost naked, in underwear, the POWs would huddle together on a platform outside to keep warm. There was overcrowding, and almost everyone got TB. Eighteen members of our unit who worked closely with the prisoners got TB too. The food was rotten and prisoners got dysentery. The unsanitary conditions, the debris and muck everywhere, the overcrowding in cold weather, led to disease, an epidemic, pandemic conditions. The attitude of the guards was brutal. To them Iraqis were the scum of the earth. Detainees were beaten within inches of their life.

Q: Were any detainees killed?

DELGADO: More than 50 prisoners were killed.

Q: What happened?

DELGADO: The enemy around Baghdad randomly shelled our base. Under the Geneva Conventions, an occupying power cannot place protected persons in areas exposed to the hazards of war. More than 50 detainees were killed because they were housed outside in tents, directly in the line of fire, with no protection, nowhere to run. They were hemmed in by barbed wire. They were trapped, and they had to sit and wait and hope they would survive. I know what it was like because a single mortar round would flatten a whole line of tires on the Humvees, a whole line of windshields. That’s how I thought about the damage because I was the mechanic who had to replace the windshields. So the mortar bombardments killed and wounded many prisoners.

Q: So your commanders knowingly kept your prisoners in the line of fire? How many U.S. soldiers were killed during the shellings?

DELGADO: There were two U.S. soldiers killed during my stay.

Q: Were there any other incidents?

DELGADO: The worst incident that I was privy to was in late November. The prisoners were protesting nightly because of their living conditions. They protested the cold, the lack of clothing, the rotting food that was causing dysentery. And they wanted cigarettes. They tore up pieces of clothing, made banners and signs. One demonstration became intense and got unruly. The prisoners picked up stones, pieces of wood, and threw them at the guards. One of my buddies got hit in the face. He got a bloody nose. But he wasn’t hurt. The guards asked permission to use lethal force. They got it. They opened fire on the prisoners with the machine guns. They shot twelve and killed three. I know because I talked to the guy who did the killing. He showed me these grisly photographs, and he bragged about the results. “Oh,” he said, “I shot this guy in the face. See, his head is split open.” He talked like the Terminator. ‘I shot this guy in the groin, he took three days to bleed to death.” I was shocked. This was the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. He was a family man, a really courteous guy, a devout Christian. I was stunned and said to him: “You shot an unarmed man behind barbed wire for throwing a stone.” He said, “Well, I knelt down. I said a prayer, stood up and gunned them all down.” There was a complete disconnect between what he had done and his own morality.

Q: Commanders permitted use of lethal force against unarmed detainees. What was their response to the carnage?

DELGADO: Our Command took the grisly photos and posted them up in the headquarters. It was a big, macho thing for our company to shoot more prisoners than any other nit.

You know folks, people like Demosophist really piss me off. Why? Because he hasn't got the brains God gave geese and war criminals like Bush and Rumsfeld couldn't exist without the likes of whats-his-name--he won't use his/her real name and I understand why.
Here's a goose quacking: "We cannot protect the likes of Congressman Schays from defeat." Is this a Germanification or Hebrewizaton of his name? Isn't there a term for that?

The Determinator depends on geese like whats-his-name to promote their wet dreams of world conquest. Our army? Oh, they help little old ladies cross the street and hand out candy to little kids. Any charges that they carry weapons and shoot anything that moves is defeatocrat propaganda. Torture? Just a frat party. Santy Claus will come on Christmas, along with a little death. Depend on it. Rape, torture and death come with an invading army like fleas on a dog.

Rumsfeld depends on people like whats-his-name to buy the line that any torture of Iraqis was only caused by a few bad apples when in fact the whole American imperialist orchard is rotten to the core. Lynndie England took the fall. She says it was command policy to agonize the innocents kidnapped during American army random sweeps and I believe her.

"We're at war with an enemy?" The Iraqi people? I thought we invaded Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people, not to torture and kill them. Dumb and dumber.

Demosophist, get a life. Repent. It's not too late.

I know you guys can't stand the thought that we might be on the right side of this conflict, but it seems to be that your evidence of some sort of conspiracy to turn the US military into the SS is pretty thin. You offer the testimony of an individual, when you
folks have repeatedly touted "individual testimony" that turns out later to be faked.

Moreover, as much as you'd like to claim that we killed people in cold blood, the fact is that inmates were killed during a pitched attack on the detention center. Hence, all you can do is point out that, in a war zone, we used temporary housing that didn't mean some ideal standard.

Repeat: these folks were killed during an attack on thefacility by insurgents, which you interpret in the same light as though we'd murdered them in cold blood. How credible is this?

I note also that no one offered an explanation for the rather clear hate-mongering of the "Schays" misspelling. A bit too close to home, I guess.

"Q: Commanders permitted use of lethal force against unarmed detainees. What was their response to the carnage?"

That question is jaw-droppingly ironic given the fact that you folks were fully prepared to "permit" Saddam Hussein to continue his program of genocide against the Marsh Arabs, as well as anyone else who struck that institution as an internal threat. The fellow killed more than two million people, and would be happily sitting in his palace writing his romance novels if you'd had your way. Given the magnitudes and principles involved you might consider repentence yourself. Fortunately it's not too late for redemption.

You've carefully constructed a straw man standard of perfection to which only your political opponents need be held.

So this is all you got?

You guys are assuming that Demosophist is for real.

But he could just as easily be doing his job. He doesn't have to believe anything he says, it's just his job to say it.

You have no obligation to take him seriously any more than you would an army recruiting pitch or a paid political ad.

You nailed it, JT:


Rumsfeld at the Council on Foreign Relations, February 17, 2006:

We need to get better at:

* Engaging experts from both within and outside of government to help communicate;
* To rapidly deploying the best military communications capabilities to new theaters of operation,
* Developing and executing multifaceted media campaigns -- print, radio, television and Internet. . .

. . . government public affairs and public diplomacy efforts are slowly beginning to reorient staffing and schedules and culture to engage the full range of media that are having such an impact today. Our U.S. Central Command, for example, has launched an online communications effort that includes electronic news updates and a links campaign that has resulted in several hundred blogs receiving and publishing CENTCOM content.

From the web: People have come back and told me. I’ve had captains come back and tell me. Centcom [United States Central Command] kind of like goes through all the blogs.

“They’re trying to figure out a way to use them to their advantage. I’ve had people from Centcom tell me they’re trying to figure out a way to use them. They went as far as thinking about having people do that as their job: to blog.”

The comments to this entry are closed.

Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use