I would like to offer a possibility based on the US restrictions
on gays in the national security part of the US government. This
ban is now in the past. Now you can be gay and in the FBI or CIA.
In the past that was not possible because the agencies believed
you were a security risk because you could be blackmailed. I think
some too "smart" agents believed you could use Muslim society
against itself by taking pictures and blackmailing Iraqis to be
double agents. That may be part of the issue.
A main part is the administration's belief that the Iraq war is
part of a war on terrorism. I think that the "war" against al Qeada
calls for different rules then a conventional war or occupation
which requires the Geneva Conventions. The Bush administration
sells the Iraq was as part of the war against al Qeada and doesn't
understand what the international laws are that apply to Iraq.
This is just another layer that the administration doesn't know
what it is doing. Which is hard to do when you are propelled by
arrogance and ignorance (even using a non socialist paradigm view
point). I have been told that Bush did not know the difference
between Sunni and Shiites before the invasion.
I believe the administration had a five or seven year plan of
occupation(neo-conservative dream) for Iraq that called for a
"democratic" and secular government and an Iraqi economy that
was fully transformed from a centrally controlled economy to a market
economy. This plan was developed by the neoconservatives and
did not include input from the US diplomats or intelligence
people who knew most about the Middle East. I believed most of
these people thought the war in Iraq would be a complete
disaster. I think that the diplomats knowledgeable with the
Middle East were excluded because they were sensitive to Arabs
and were seen as suspect by "Israeli interests" from a neo-
The realities of occupying a third world country that Maurice
brings are so real that its breaks my heart and I have a hard
time thinking of them.
From: maurice bazin [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2004 6:19 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Revised comment on: torture at Abu Ghraib should be no surprise
My comments never intended to be a revision of history of the French
resistance. Phil is quite right to be upset because I did not remember
Barbie's deeds. But his case fits into my argument, as you can read
As Joe Schwartz' brother remarked, torture is automatically used when
an occupying force faces a generalized popular resistance,
this did not occur when the german soldiers were occupying France. They
usually killed the resistance fighters straight, even if they had
broken some of the supposed "rules", like escaping from prison and
would have had valuable information to provide. I lost a family member
in these circumstances. Not every german soldier or french
collaborator behaved like Barbie "the butcher". His torturing
prisoners was never considered to be "the tip of an iceberg" of many
instances of torturing. His "case" has been treated as exceptional.
In the case of iraqi prisoners, it has been considered that the case
that was documented with photos was an illustration of a rampant
general tendency of the use of torture by american soldiers, generic
soldiers, so much so that the "defense" of the US brass has been that
the soldiers involved acted on their own. In the case of Barbie, we
do not have a general behavior but a more exceptional, one-man
behavior; he was a top brass and did it himself.
I perceive these facts and differences and I ask where the difference
The difference between Germans occupying France and US-Britain
occupying Iraq, is that Iraq is third-world, is a (former, attacked to
be again) colony. Among people of european descent, you don't do that
to each other routinely, torture, that is. But "you" do it when you
face the Algerian FLN and "you" are French. You teach it for
Central America's power elite to use against its own despicable
natives. It is not a question of "policy", it is the colonizers' and
rulers' mentality. It is part of the subjective factors that Marx takes
into account, whatever their deeper roots.
The German soldiers, in general, did not torture French partisans.
But many of them certainly were beastly to those that they downgraded
from the status of "straight white European", the jews, roma, queers of
Europeans and their US descendants always allowed mistreating the
"infidels", from Salem to Saigon.
Amerikkka, the imperialist conquerer, daughter of Europe, the defeated
colonizer, is just as racist, by color, aspect and creed, and that
facilitates the use of torture "over there", where life is considered
not to have the same value etc, etc... It also makes it easier to
mistreat the mainly third world population within US jails, as Michael
If these thoughts make any sense, it will be interesting to watch how
the Turks will be kept out of the European Union...
On May 7, 2004, at 12:03 PM, Doug Brugge wrote:
I think the torture was ordered from the top and is deliberate US
policy. The thing that is a bit surprising is that they did not get
Iraqi surrogates to carry out their dirty deeds. If they had, it would
have been more in keeping with practice in, for example, Central
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