Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Not Even Original Thought

This morning's IHT had an interesting piece on the origins of harsh prisoner treatment at Gitmo. Seems that our people can't be given a passing grade for originality on that program. Weren't even creative enough to rewicker the chart used, other than to change the title to remove the reference to the ChiComs.

I must add, they weren't even creative in using the materials. Same names for the techniques, etc.

So tell me all you commie hating, democracy loving folks, how does it feel to know we simply mimicked what we condemned 30 years ago?

Surprised? Hell no. Saddened? Extremely.


Publius said...

Al, nothing new here for me, but I was never allowed to use any of these techniques. The way I was taught was that we were better than that, and that if we did such things, there was no difference between us and them, and that we ought to just kind of stop staying all of those things about our revolution, our constitution, and our American way of life to the rest of the world.

Yeah, we've become pretty much just like the rest of them.

BTW, that I'm the first to post here some four days later says a lot about what's happened to the old crowd from Intel Dump. What in the hell has happened to all of you people? Where is JD with the outrage? And FDChief? Basil? Seydlitz? Bg? Charly? And others. You know who you are.

Why are you AWOL? Everybody just kind of tired out?

Aviator47 said...


Every morning, I brew a pot of java and sit down to read the news. I see articles such as the on in this thread, and as I posted, I am not surprised. It is tiring.

PM Mendevev recently rebuked Bush and Secty Paulson for their efforts to influence Russian trade practices. He told them pretty much what the head of the Chinese central bank said. The Russians we building a sound economy and were not interested in Bush's failed approaches.

Good article off the AP wires about the sagging dollar. GWB and Co have been singing "we support a strong dollar" since day one, yet have done nothing to bolster it. Why? My guess is that a weak dollar is good for oil and a few select other businesses. It's killing the average Joe, but Joe has no idea of the impact of the weak dollar other than vacations in Europe are more expensive. But then, Joe can only afford to go to Jones Beach.

Bush is oblivious to the vast majority of the people and their needs. You can, after all, always go to the emergency room.

"The People" aren't going to do anything about these bastards, nor is Congress, nor is Obama, should he get elected. To get elected, Obama's going to have to move to the "center" a bit more, which means pose no threats.

So, it's hard to get excited.

pluto said...

I've been checking in on a regular basis but haven't had anything to say other than Bush is heading out the door and it is highly unlikely that either candidate will choose to be as dim, self-centered, and secretive as Bush. This implies that we will probably gain some respite from the fall of the American republic that we've been watching and powerless to stop for the eight years.

Al's comments on the fall of the dollar nicely illustrate a problem I noticed a while back. There is NO news right now. The article he based his comments on was a nice summary of the last six months worth of stories but doesn't say anything remotely new. The author of the article could have saved much effort by simply stating "nothing has particularly changed over the last six months and we don't foresee it changing for the next six months either."

The one thing that the article didn't mention is that the way that government economic statistics are gathered has changed dramatically over the last 30 years so comparisons with the early 1980's are completely invalid. is a good place to start studying the deterioration of these basic pieces of information and the impact on society and the government.

Aviator47 said...


A far as the dollar is concerned, there has been no change in policy or actions since Jan 20, 2001. The dollar falls. Bush and/or his Treas Secty express a "belief in a strong dollar". Return to Go.

Now, I must expand that a bit. Bush has said on several occasions that he expects market forces to restrengthen the dollas.

Some of the "benefits of a weak dollar" pundits have predicted that the US will benefit from increased tourism, but that hasn't come to pass. Travelers from abroad see entry into the US as an onerous process. Further, if you look at the jobs tourism fosters, you will find a preponderance of low wage service positions, and in just a few locations. Ain't gonna help the out of work auto industry guy in Detroit.

We really are a nation adrift, led by a cabal of fools who really think an unfettered market will benefit us all. I mean, look at how many folks realized the American Dream of home ownership recently. Well, at least they owned their homes for a year or two. A pyramid scheme of global proportions, as far as I'm concerned.

I just wonder how much more damage this fool can accomplish in his remaining 195 DAYS, 21 Hrs, 11 Min and 05.1 Sec. Not that I'm counting!


basilbeast said...

. . . what's happened to the old crowd from Intel Dump

Wandered off most likely.

Looking back at I-D, I always thought of it as sort of a local Watering Hole that folk grew accustomed to, and now it's closed up.

And the clientele has just sorta wandered off, homeless and clutching an old photo of a scene that we can never have again.

A couple of things have been running through my mind recently,
"wisdom always comes too late" and "Jesus wept".

I'm turning 58 this summer, nearing the end of my career and I'm starting to feel out of touch with those younger than I. Stuff that was so "cool" just 5 years ago now is just so "lame".

That part of life where some serious retrospection sets in, and one asks oneself the great questions of life, like "WTF"?

Also going to my 40th HS reunion this coming weekend. I stopped staying in touch with anyone somewhere around the tenth.

Like I said above, an old photograph.

I don't know if I mentioned this back on I-D or not, I probably told Al, but when I was in Greece in the summer of 71 picking up some extra college credit and getting to see a bit of the world, I was so very close to joining the military, probably Army 'cause I had a year of ROTC behind me, liked it, and our CO was a very persuasive fellow.

And I desperately wanted to see more of the world.

What if.

I was one of the deluded majority who believed Bush Sr. should've finished the job in Iraq, and that Bush Jr. could do the right thing in finishing the work his dad had left undone.

Like I said above, "wisdom comes too late" and we seem to be stuck in some serious muck.

One of the arguments I had with another of our former I-D buddies, sheerakahn, was whether the American people were fully complicit and active in the evil of the full 2 terms of the Bush Administration or one of the most propagandized nations of the world.

I still tend to the latter, as I feel that way myself. Lied to, misinformed and cheated.

My concept of American Exceptionalism crushed under the heel of an ignoramus or a bloody war-criminal. I don't think it matters which is the reality now.

All this leads up to this question, should pictures like this be released to the public at large?

A news story on page A6, bomb goes off in Iraq, couple of dozen civilian casualties, couple US dead.

What if . . . the American public could see and smell what is done in their name?

Yes, I still have outrage, but I do have to keep it inside a hardened case, lest I be dismissed as "shrill".

Like I said above, "Jesus wept".


basilbeast said...

We really are a nation adrift . . .

My metaphor is that America is the mule facing forehead-first the instructive 2X4.

This is going to be a difficult summer and fall.


FDChief said...

"Why are you AWOL? Everybody just kind of tired out?"


This kind of thing used to fire all my neurons; I would be furious that my country, and my Army, would do something this both stupid and heinous. Now...just another day at the office. These people will lie, misbehave and to expect anything different is to expect cats to read Shakespeare. It's gotten to the point where I can't bear to read Abu Muqwama or the new Dump because everyone gets in a swivet about some itty policy news item or tiny zig in policy while our nation's infrastructure goes down the toilet and our "government of laws" is exposed as a fiction.

And worse, I am starting to believe that I am making no difference. The stupid is hammered into the woodwork of America; Rush is the best paid n-air personality in history, impeachment of the felons in office is officially a fantastic notion held by a handful of qxiotic dreamers, the press pretends that talking about gas-tax holidays and lapel pins is reporting...

We're just so beyond fucked. I disgusted with this moronic mess? Sure. Does it raise my bile level enough to make even the minor effort to comment seem like a struggle? Yep.

I wish I didn't feel this way.

Charles Gittings said...

Ya well, if it's any consolation to anyone, consider how I feel after spending six and half years of my life plus all of my (very modest) savings on a preposterous little project to investigate and prosecute the Bush administration for war crimes, and turning my back on the remnants of down-sized / out-sourced career as a programmer.

But you'd be wrong, because I feel blessed, and I'm not sitting here thinking about how tired and broke I am, I'm trying to figure out how to keep going -- and like I've been saying for six and half years now, if anyone wants to help, there's plenty of work to do.

FDChief said...

Charles: the odd thing is that I DON'T feel tired and broke, personally. My personal life is great; I love my job, I am married to a beautiful, intelligent woman who is also my best friend, I am enjoying the hell our of two kids (at 51, my God!) and I am still entranced with the city, state and region I live in.

So the disconnect comes when I look at my life and then at our public life, which seems engaged in an American Idol-like race to the bottom. The bottom in terms of pandering, moronic discourse, public indifference to lying, theft, cronyism and nepotism, unconcern for government by and for the rich, well-born and able...

I keep thinking, hey, I can get MY shit together...what the hell is the problem over there?

I just keep coming back to the Bushies as symptoms, not problems. ISTM that they represent our nation's drift back to the open oligarchy of the late Nineteenth Century, only I don't see a hint of Reform or Muckraking in the near future to pull us back. The weight of wealth and influence looks unbeatable. That's what I mean when I say I wish I didn't feel this way. It's one thing to fight Bush and his cronies. But where do you turn when it seems like it's all CREAM - Cash Rules Everything Around Me?

Charles Gittings said...

Well Doctor, that begs a question: how do you propose to treat the disease if the symptoms kill the patient first?

You can say much the same about murder and murders, or rapes and rapists, or any of the other festering problems we humans have faced for as long as we've understood what a problem was. Equally, I've been actively working on these particular problems since 1987, not 2001, and didn't start in a vacuum then either.

The only people who can solve a problem are those who understand it, and the only way to understand anything is to work at it. The problems are clear enough, the dangers equally so.

If not us, who?

If not now, when?

To quote a problem solver many of us admire:

"Lead me, follow me, or get out the way."

But I'm tired, so for now I'll just sign off with a brief announcement....

I'm starting a blog for my project. It's something I've resisted, but there are some topics I want to write about and the blog format seems like a good approach, so I'm going to try it for awhile when there's something to write about.

The first post is the latest PEGC Update, which has a summary of where the detainee cases stand post-Boumediene.

The URL for the PEGC Blog is...

...and there's an Atom-feed at the lower left.

sheerahkahn said...

"BTW, that I'm the first to post here some four days later says a lot about what's happened to the old crowd from Intel Dump. What in the hell has happened to all of you people? Where is JD with the outrage? And FDChief? Basil? Seydlitz? Bg? Charly? And others. You know who you are."

Hi Publius,

I still check in, but I am currently dealing with things in my own neck of the woods...issues that need to be addressed in the church, and such.
Mostly I go to FDchiefs site...him and I are much a like, and I must admit I take comfort from reading his thoughts.
That and he has a beautiful family which is evident that he loves...not that I don't have my own, but its refreshing to see that I'm not a lone in my thoughts about where our nation is heading.

As for the torture...all we can do is pull out that bright shining lamp of light and focus beam it right on the issue.
The Republicans want us to turn off the light, and move on to something else because they really don't want that in their face 24/7.
I say, TFB!

Anonymous said...

I miss it as well. But I've got plenty of projects, soooo there's always something to do, not that I necessarily finish with all of them . . .

Really getting into the theory side of it all again, and studying the First World War, again. Comes down to the same questions they were asking back in 1917. . .


have a nice summer.


Charles Gittings said...

Don't be such a tease Seydlitz, what about 1917 are you looking at?

seydlitz89 said...


Where to begin?

The classic Liberals of 1917 ("Liberal" defined as believing in the emphasis on individual rights and equality of access to society's advantages based on merit and ability, not on social standing or power, that and little "c" capitalism as opposed to big "C" or corporate capitalism) were in crisis. Most of the naive notions that had formed the basis of their beliefs in government, citizenship and democracy were being harshly tested and found wanting, like Nietzsche's hammer on brittle bells of ingrained perceptions, when hit they seemingly crumbled.

Democracy had been based on several assumptions that had been shown to be in fact dubious. . .

First, the existence of an informed and educated citizenry acting along rational lines, weighing choices and coming to the best view in respect to their political community . . .

Second, the democratic mass state acting in the best interests of a political community and capable of being understood/influenced/controlled by the citizenry . . . also the state operating seemingly outside of history like a social mechanism operating solely along rational lines.

Third, "majority rule" precluding the existence/formation of powerful oligarchies. A political elite was by definition broadly based, open to all.

And finally, that the old values that had formed the foundation of Western institutions would not be adversely affected by modernity, that is the old values would survive intact under the new, modern conditions . . .

Whereas the Socialists in 1917 were rejoicing the overthrow of Czarist Russia and the prospect of controlling the state in the name of the people, the classic liberals were in dispair . . . how to establish democracy and liberalism, guarantee the rights of the individual, and control powerful oligarchic interests under the new conditions . . .

These are the questions that remain unanswered to this day imo.

sheerahkahn said...

Interesting topic Sedylitz, and imo worthy of a discussion thread.../hint.../hint.../hint

mike said...

I am still around and still POed and curmudgeonly but have been spending some summertime with the grandkids - from the 18-year old down to the newborn.

I don't think this IHT article is a new revelation. Seems to me there was discussion on the old Intel Dump several years ago about SERE training as a model for Gitmo treatment??? I also don't believe all SERE programs were as bad as advertised in the IHT article.

"So tell me all you commie hating, democracy loving folks, how does it feel to know we simply mimicked what we condemned 30 years ago?"

Would that be 30 years ago, or 55 years, Al??? I am still a curmudgeon as you can see. My apologies, I just don't want to see my favorite rotary wing pilot get sloppy in print. I sure wish you had flown 46s instead of 47s.

basilbeast said...

Senator Carl Levin went to firedoglake to converse with the hoi polloi.

read it and weep as the weasel dithers for a half dozen empty responses and takes off.


basilbeast said...

More on Gitmo, from Olbermann's CountDown tonight:

and gay translators