Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Poison fruit of a poison tree

A common response to evidence that US soldiers have abused and even tortured to death prisoners of war in Iraq is to claim that it is all the work of a few "bad apples", and that the difference between the US and the terrorists is that, when such abuses are discovered, the US punishes those responsible.


FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) - A military jury has recommended that an officer once facing up to life in prison for the interrogation death of an Iraqi general be given only a reprimand, a decision that drew applause from soldiers.

Initially charged with murder, Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. now faces no jail time, the forfeiture of $6,000 in salary and what amounts largely to a barracks restriction for 60 days.

(Emphasis added).

I've blogged about this case before: Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush, an insurgent leader, turned himself in after US forces took his family hostage. His US captors decided he was being insufficiently cooperative during interrogations, and he was beaten to within an inch of his life by CIA personnel and Iraqi paramilitaries working in a US facility. Over the next few days, he was subjected to further beatings, waterboarded, and eventually stuffed into a sleeping bag and sat on while he asphyxiated. Welshofer was the "bad apple" who killed him, but he has not been punished. Instead, his fellow soldiers seem to think that what he did to his prisoner was perfectly acceptable and that he should not even have been facing charges.

The message this sends is crystal clear: torture is acceptable. If a US soldier tortures a prisoner, even to death, they will face no real penalty. Instead, the US government will look the other way, while claiming publicly that these actions "[do] not reflect the nature of the American people". Unfortunately, by condoning those actions, they make it very clear that they do. They also make it clear that, rather than being "bad apples", America's torturers are the poison fruit of a poison tree, the natural consequence of an administration which endorses torture and a society which simply does not care what their government does in their name.


This story on Alternet is eye popping. -

It seems that in America language has become so debased that torturing children is "their right."

The use of state torture, the extreme violence and aggression of the warrior culture in the US military, these things did not develop in isolation.

The USA is internalising a culture of rigid fear and obedience to suppress questions about the theocratic fascism trying to take over America.

This social engineering by violence is an attempt to demonise alternative behavioural opatterns to create a robotised, compliant population of militant Christian warriors.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/25/2006 12:40:00 PM

The American torture issue is providing some interesting reading in the conservative Catholic blogs. Mark Shea, one of the more popular bloggers is heartily against torture, and his stance is explicitly "Catholic" and according to the Catechism - which states that torture is evil.

What's interesting is the backlash he is recieving due to his position. Many posters to his comments section are very much in favour of rationalising their way out of the official Catholic position in order to "protect" America from the terrorists. Amazing when you consider how orthodox these people would normaly be.

It's a window into American righteousness and ethnocentrisim. These people would sacrifice their religious moral demands in order to satisfy their nationalism.

If you go to Mark's blog and look at the date Friday, January 20, 2006, you'll see the tail end of a screed of posts about this issue.

It's just fascism that's taking over America, it is not theocratic , it's just plain jane fascism and religious objections are getting plowed into the dirt when faced with "terror".a

Posted by Muerk : 1/25/2006 04:44:00 PM

It's really very hard to overstate both the power and the virilence of the religious right here. If anybody wants a look at the ideology that stalks the heartland, and promotes a Godly struggle with the forces of liberal evil and home and "tursts" aboroad, go to

This is relgious fundamentalism with jackboots...

Posted by Anonymous : 1/26/2006 04:19:00 AM