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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
here now:

As Joe Schwartz' brother remarked, torture is automatically used when
an occupying force faces a generalized popular resistance,
however,
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
comes from?

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
all sorts...
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
points out.

If these thoughts make any sense, it will be interesting to watch how
the Turks will be kept out of the European Union...
Maurice

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
America.


Maurice Bazin
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