Hypothetical Question

7 comments June 19th, 2006at 09:09am Posted by Eli

What would happen if, instead of the usual course of torture and beheading, the Iraqi insurgents who recently captured two American troops were a little more… subtle? What if they declared their captives “unlawful combatants” and then proceeded to subject them to the exact same treatment as the detainees in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib? What would the Bush administration and its proxies say? How would they denounce the same techniques which they had so adamantly defended before? Would they be able to come up with something more compelling than “But we’re America“? I’m pretty sure that any remaining claim of American moral authority or superiority would be quite effectively demolished if this “what if” question became a reality.

Am I rooting for this to happen? Only insofar as a little “fraternity hazing” would be preferable to beheading, as any Republican will happily inform you.Do I expect it to happen? No. They’re called “terrorists,” not “embarrarrists.”

Entry Filed under: Politics


  • 1. Sorghum Crow  |  June 19th, 2006 at 12:21 pm

    I was thinking along similar lines. Maybe they could offer a POW exchange, except we have no POWs. And why are these soldiers “kidnapped”, not “captured”? Is this more Orwellian linguistic manipulation? The captors could get a lot of mileage out of this if they hired the right consultants. Follow the Geneva convention, have the Red Cross/Red Crescent visit, etc.

  • 2. Eli  |  June 19th, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    That would be even *more* diabolical. Nothing quite like ceding the moral high ground to al Qaeda…

  • 3. karmic_jay  |  June 19th, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    What sorghum says will not happen and neither will Eli’s hypothetical question.
    Cos as you said they are terrorists and not embarrasists.

  • 4. spocko  |  June 19th, 2006 at 6:20 pm

    I don’t know Karmic Jay. I think that this is a very possible turn of events. Remember, they have released various captives. And I think that they are using the word Kidnapped because they might have gotten a RANDSOM note. Such as,

    “6 million in cash in unmarked non sequential bills. 20 million wired to a Swiss bank account. Then we will release them. We cut the same deal with that reporter. We are not TERRORISTS so you can negotiate with us. We are just your standard run of the mill kidnappers.”

    And Eli and Sorghum you better watch what you say. Accourding to the right wing radio host Jerry Doyle (Babylon 5) the people in Al Quada and the insurgents in Iraq are looking at our media and Harry Reid for any comments that makes America look week. I wouldn’t doubt that they would be looking on Eli’s blog (during the 4 hours of electricity a day) for ideas on how to help defeat the Americans psychologically. So keep your smart ideas to yourself if you love America!
    (Tongue, meet cheek. Cheek meet tongue.)

    Oh and another thing. I’m sick of people talking about the torture as if only frat hazing is all that happened. 28 people DIED. 5 confirmed as caused by torture 23 still under investigation.

    “There were five cases of detainee deaths as a result of abuse by U.S. personnel during interrogations… There are 23 cases of detainee deaths still under investigation…”
    –The Schlesinger Report, August 2004

    During torture awareness month I’m reminding bloggers to be sure and mention that PEOPLE DIED OF TORTURE AT THE HANDS OF AMERICANS.
    And it wasn’t just 7-8 people. There are almost 50 who were involved.

    Based on the Taguba report, the Red Cross report and yes even the photographs themselves, clearly more than seven military police were involved.

    “The new reports not only decisively prove what was long known, widening the circle of direct blame for what happened at Abu Ghraib to nearly fifty people, including military intelligence soldier and officers (although subsequent disclosures suggest that the number is at least twice that.)”
    –Mark Danner, Torture and Truth America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror. p. 27

    The fact that this was tamped down to a few people convicted “on the night shift” is astonishing. Photographic evidence PROVES and signed documents SHOW that more were involved than were ever punished.

  • 5. Eli  |  June 19th, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    Al Qaeda’s savvy, but they’re not *that* savvy. They would not be willing to score political points by doing anything that might make them look soft.

  • 6. Rob  |  June 20th, 2006 at 9:59 am

    They are terrorists. You are correct, karmic jay. I doubt the terrorists would change, and I doubt they have the intelligence to make this PR point.

    But in the next war with a government, our actions against the captured terrorists WILL come back to haunt our soldiers.

    Bush succeeded in destroying the Geneva convention. It might not have been followed as it should have been, but it did protect our soldiers to some degree — and that protection will be gone.

  • 7. Eli  |  June 20th, 2006 at 11:38 am

    Oh, I think the terrorists are definitely smart enough to think of this kind of moral jiu-jitsu strategy – it just doesn’t fit with the image they’re trying to project. I could see a group like Hamas, which has aspirations of political legitimacy and has a charitable arm, opting for the more subtle, moral-high-ground approach, but not al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda wants to be the Scary Boogeyman. Which is just fine by the Republicans, BTW.

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