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May 27, 2005

Don't Eyeball Me Boy

Once upon a time in the good old days, a man named Louis Gossett Jr, became an American hero. He did so by beating the crap out of Richard Gere.

Gossett played the character Sargeant Foley in the award winning film 'An Officer and a Gentleman' back in 1982. Like all drill sargeants before him and after his job was to break men and remake them in the image of a soldier.

I would challenge those who waste all of our time with their whinging over the excesses of Abu Ghraib to review the film and challenge their positive feelings about it. I think it would be a suitable exercise for those Americans who have an inner dainty voice on the hotline to the ACLU. Because it was a rare American who didn't cheer the movie or sing the song 'Love Lift Us Up'. It was a rare American who didn't think Lou Gossett should be a role model for us. But today it seems that those who are hogging the podium would have Gossett hanged in effigy. (Metaphorically of course)

You see Sargeant Foley used (oh horror of horrors) sleep deprivation. He had his recruits in boot camp stand out in the rain holding their rifles above their heads running in place. This is I believe what they call a 'stress position'. Good heavens.

Could it be that the US Military tortures all of its own recruits in boot camp so much that when they do similar things to foreign combattants and POWs that we don't even recognize our inhumanity? What are we to make of G.I. Jane? What about Men of Honor? What about the very concept of killing? It's all so confusing! Yeah right.

Posted by mbowen at May 27, 2005 10:51 AM

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Repost from Booker rising:

To say that this argument is flawed would be an understatement. Tragically flawed? Still not quite strong enough. A yawning chasm splits this logic, almost a socio-pathetic abscess in this reasoning, yeah that's it.

The difference, for anyone willing to notice, is that a free person who chooses to volunteer for "officers candidate school" cannot be compared to a prisoner of war, or in this case political prisoners without the protection of the Geneva Convention that prisoners of war fall under. They can't be compared because military recruits have a choice, they can quit and walk away whenever they please. Prisoners don't have that luxury.

It's all about freedom and choice, something we in America should be familiar with.

Those people on Fear Factor eating bugs and bull testicles CHOOSE to engage in that activity because of the reward that's been offered, much like the reward offered by the military. But if someone forces you to eat bugs and bull testicles against your will in order to get you to submit, that's a form of torture.

Here endith the lesson.

Posted by: Aaron at May 27, 2005 03:59 PM

Those people who shoot at American soldiers and plant bombs and are otherwise engaged in the kinds of battlefield activities that would lead them to being captured by American forces CHOOSE to engage in that activity because... because what Aaron? I'm sure you have a good answer.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 27, 2005 06:23 PM

But the answer is meaningless. The central question should be pragmatic. If what the industrial rules of war defines as terror works at saving American lives--through either garnering information, or through instilling fear in one's enemies--then the rules should be tossed out.

But they don't do that do they?

Posted by: Lester Spence at May 28, 2005 05:29 PM

The industrial rules are warfare are just that, the rules for the industrial age, which is coming to a close. We are at the inflection point, like when archers overcame armored knights. Certainly the first archers were seen as fiendish rule-breakers.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 28, 2005 06:10 PM

ok. we're in a new age.

but the questions are still the same right?

that is, we're still concerned about american lives, at home and abroad. we're still concerned about getting accurate information about our enemies.

and i'll add another--we're still interested in defending our "interests" whatever they may be in a given age.

so let's drop the torture term. call it "hazing." or simply "interrogation."

the method that you support actually HURTS our information, further endangers American lives, and harms American interests.

short term and long term.

the only thing i can think that it does off the top of my head is fulfill a desire for retribution. there's a website around here with the seven sins of fundamentalism, i'm pretty sure this desire violates some of them....

Posted by: Lester Spence [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 28, 2005 07:17 PM

Well, let me be more clear. I think amateurs were at work at Abu Ghraib and it was something of an aberration. I don't believe that the policy has shifted a great deal, as opponents to Alberto Gonzales have suggested. I think that a handful of deaths by torture and real serious torture is not as harmful as people have made it out to be. This particular post is registering my incredulity that now people are criticizing the standard interrogation techniques of sleep deprivation and stress positions.

I'm against that kind of dainty critique, despite the fact that I respect pacifist arguments (which are wrong in the case of the war in Iraq). I am convinced that when we are talking about flushing a Koran down the toilet as an atrocity, that we are truly dealing with people with no sense of perspective whatsoever. To hell with them.

The endangerment and harm to American interest is significantly below the threshold of lethal hostility. That is to say if you add up all the outrage generated by Abu Ghraib and Gitmo it is little more than war propaganda could generate in the first place, if that.

If on the other hand we had done something on the order of what we did in WW2 or Vietnam like firebombed civilians, that all this empty outrage we are hearing about would have some substance behind their complaint. But IN THE HISTORY OF ARMED CONFLICT Abu Ghraib and Gitmo are but pimples. We may be able to generate a generation of Americans who are so sensitive that they don't let their kids ride bicycles without safety helmets, but those aren't the kind of people whose criticism of military tactics are worth hearing out.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 29, 2005 09:26 AM

We may be able to generate a generation of Americans who are so sensitive that they don't let their kids ride bicycles without safety helmets, but those aren't the kind of people whose criticism of military tactics are worth hearing out.

True enough. They also - it seems - lack an education in history.

The sad thing is these people vote.

Posted by: brian at May 30, 2005 10:08 PM