Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Frat Boy Rules

Reading the papers as the ugly redacted CIA documents spill out, with more to come as the DOJ begins its investigations of the Bush Administration’s torture program, a recurring question keeps rattling through my brain:

The torture program is now coming into focus as one that is less and less something coming out of some “rogue elements” running amok and more and more something that a bunch of chicken-hawk, frat boy, Jack Bauer “24” wannabes wet-dreamed up in their cool offices, egging each other on in a circle-jerk of psychosexual frisson as far removed from the real world as pimple-faced teenaged boys laying on their bunk beds and dreaming about hot dates with Top Runway models. Or our Vietnam-avoiding, military-service avoiding, chicken hawk, Darth Vader wannabe VP Cheney macho-snarling about going to the dark side. Or our true Frat Boy, cod-piece strutting, land-on-a-carrier for a swaggering photo-op, “bring ‘em on,” President.

Toss in the almost Nazi Dr. Mengele-like attention to detail [“how long each application (and the entire procedure) lasted, how much water was used in the process (realizing that much splashes off), how exactly the water was applied, if a seal was achieved, if the naso-or oropharynx was filled, what sort of volume was expelled, how long was the break between applications, and how the subject looked between each treatment.”] and what emerges veers off into the weirdly psycho-sick.

And so, the question haunts: If the men running our country had all seen military service, or actually served in combat, or even served some hard time in a real-world, hard-knocks reality, been less awash with juvenile psycho-sexual sadistic frat boy fantasies, would they have been less scared, less. . . . hysterical . . . after 9/11, and so less prone to mistake a TV show – “24” – for “reality, less prone to admire and emulate a fictional hero – Jack Bauer – and so better able to cope as battle-hardened, experienced, grounded, cool eyed adults?

Perhaps the DOJ’s investigation or a Congressional “truth squad” will answer that question, but somehow I doubt it.


Mike said...

Are we also going to be able to review the Taliban Code for Ethical Treatment of Non Combatant Civilians Kidnaped around the World...??? How many body parts can be lopped off before it's considered inhumane... how many fingers? toes? heads? When will we ever see the old VC's book of torture for fun and information...???

Maybe there is a humane code among the warring tribes in Africa or the Drug Cartels in Mexico and Sud America...??? How about the code followed by our own little gangs here at home...??? When will the American "public" get to read and judge those codes and rules...???

It would be nice if there were no more wars, no more prisoners, but that's not going happen as long as there are extremists willing to kill as many as they don't agree with...

I'm certainly not going to judge the handling of prisoners of a war who moments before were killing my buddies and trying to kill me...

It is time that the US stopped trying to police the world, but even if we magically halted all aggression, there are still going to be extremists out to make the world in their own images... Wars have been going on since man stood up-right, unfortunately that is not going to change and all the liberal thinking in the US is never going to stop the carnage...

Watershed Mark said...

MIKE little mouse,

Again, I want to say I am happy you can't live up to your word.

Alon Perlman said...

At the time of 9/11 the numbers of Arabic language translators available to the CIA was rediculously small. Later as more translators were recruited some were 'sympathetic' and later yet it was discovered that there were modified meanings. (pashtuni speakers who know english are harder to find yet)
The US was woefully unprepared.
Coerced confessions under combat situations are not historically without value, but when the Interrogators are culturally distant (not referring to the dehumanization element) the information is usually worthless.
I belive that in the current round some early detainees were 'interrogated' by friendly (but without constitutional benefits for their own citizens) This would be a violation of international laws and the Geneva convention even if no actual torture took place.

While looking for an article I found this;

""Specifically, the inspector general’s report describes a particularly troubling moment in which an unidentified C.I.A. interrogator menacingly revved a power drill close to the head of a naked, hooded suspect in an effort to intimidate him into talking. (Death threats and mock executions are violations of the Convention Against Torture.) If there was something strangely familiar about the choice of utensil to viewers of “24,” it may be because in season six of that show, in an episode that aired on February 5, 2007, an interrogation session featured the same sort of power drill. The only difference was that on “24,” it was the villains—ostensibly terrorists—who threatened their prisoner with the drill. On Fox, as always, the coercion worked. After the terrorists drilled a hole into their American prisoner’s shoulder, he agreed to enable a nuclear bomb for them.

The inspector general’s report was written three years before the “24” episode aired. Evidently, the C.I.A.’s powers of creativity when it came to methods of torment were years ahead of some of the highest-paid Hollywood screenwriters.

Perhaps, though, the turn to prosaic power tools suggests that the C.I.A. and the screenwriters both faced the same sort of challenges. As Howard Gordon, the lead writer of “24,” told me two years ago, “The truth is, there’s a certain amount of fatigue. It’s getting hard not to repeat the same torture techniques over and over.” When he needed inspiration, “for the most part, our imaginations are the source. Sometimes these ideas are inspired by a scene’s location or come from props—what’s on the set.”

Janis Karpinski, the commander of Abu Ghraib, demoted for her lack of oversight regarding the abuse, estimated later that 90%, of detainees in the prison were innocent.

move "forward" TWO YEARS;
The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib was in part the reason that on April 12, 2006, the United States Army activated the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion, the first of four joint interrogation battalions.(((Apparently an accountant for the counting of fourty lashes, is now required)))

1 short of maisma

Churadogs said...

Woefully unprepared. . . . . Speaking of which, how many gay soldiers who speak Arabic, for example, or have special training in counter intel have been thrown OUT of the military since 9/11? Woefully unprepared AND stupid?

I see Mike has missed the point, as usual. Citing bad behavior #1 does not require bringing up bad behavior #2. That's what children do when caught with the cookie jar. The issue was how much Frat Boy mentality running this government accounts for the sick, Hollywood mentality (oooo, power drills through the ear,oh, oh, and I know, let's do that way cool thing we saw in that zombie movie with the exploding heads, that would be really great!!)that led to so many of these abuses and then "excused" them as Frat House "pranks." Anybody want to discuss how experienced in military intel, battle experienced or expert in Arab culture John Yoo was? Or Addington of the Soft White Hands? Or Limbaugh? In short, where were the sane Adults?

Mike said...

I guess I did miss the point... Apparently by your reasoning, it is ok for the enemy (or do you consider them to be innocent poor people caught in a political scheme not of their own making...??) to slaughter US troops, but not ok for the US to use some of the lessons learned in both Viet Nam and Iraq to obtain information.... The US should be so pristine and play by a set of rules even though the other combatants had no rules...???

Was the behavior of Joey, Al, Keith, Gail and Julie appropriate at the CSD Board meetings and activities around the recall...????

Why did Chuck seek to censure Al...????

Oh yes, let's all be sane... like Hanoi Jane Fonda...???
...or Al Barrow and Racano....???

What about about individuals who steal tax money from the local government...??? Certainly a lot of sanity there... Yup, it must be the Los Osos water that keeps LO so sane...

Churadogs said...

Missed the point again, Mike, as well as misread what I wrote. Where in the entire piece did I suggest, hint, imply that it's o.k. for the enemy to slaughter U.S. troops? Where did I say that? You're making stuff up again and reading into what I've written things not there. Think there's a word for that in psychology: Projection. You seem to do a lot of that.