Thursday, May 24, 2007

Torture and the Meaning of Words

The Smoking Gun describes the instructions contained in an al-Qaeda torture manual found by US troops in a raid on a safe house in Iraq. (Warning graphic drawings)

In a recent raid on an al-Qaeda safe house in Iraq, U.S. military officials recovered an assortment of crude drawings depicting torture methods like "blowtorch to the skin" and "eye removal." Along with the images, which you'll find on the following pages, soldiers seized various torture implements, like meat cleavers, whips, and wire cutters.

What? No humiliating body searches by women or the disrepectful handling of Korans?

The problem with the fake is that it is always shown up by the arrival of the Real Thing. The difference between the two is often so manifest that it seems ridiculous to think that anyone could have been fooled -- even momentarily -- by the counterfeit.

The problem with the word "torture" is that it has been so artfully corrupted by some commentators that we now find ourselves at a loss to describe the kinds of activities that the al-Qaeda interrogation manual graphically recommends. Now that the term "torture" has been put in one-to-one correspondence with such admittedly unpleasant activities as punching, sleep deprivation, a handkerchief pulled over one's face and loaded with water, searches by women upon sensitive Islamic men or the disrespectful handling of Korans -- what on earth do we call gouging people's eyes out?

Answer: we call it nothing. My fearless prediction is that not a single human rights organization will seriously take the matter up. There will be no demonstrations against these barbaric practices, often inflicted upon Muslims by other Muslims, in any of the capitals of the world. Not a single committee in the United Nations will be convened nor will any functionary in the European Union lose so much as a night's sleep over it. The word for these activities -- whatever we choose to call it -- will not be spoken.

Harry's Place notices that groups -- like the International Solidarity Movment or RESPECT -- which claim to be concerned about the welfare of Palestinians don't even acknowledge the deaths of 200 Palestinians in recent internecine warfare in Gaza. "It is as if these Palestinians have not died at all, or that their deaths are simply unimportant and not worthy of note." And the indifference, the quiet that you hear is a very special sort of silence. It is not the reserve of diplomacy, nor the reticience of wisdom. It is the emptiness of a slaughterhouse. The palpable peace of problems we have left to solve themselves. That's the kind of intellectual silence that it is. The silence of the lambs.

Hannibal Lecter: Then something woke you, didn't it? Was it a dream? What was it?
Clarice Starling: I heard a strange noise.
Hannibal Lecter: What was it?
Clarice Starling: It was... screaming. Some kind of screaming, like a child's voice.
Hannibal Lecter: What did you do?
Clarice Starling: I went downstairs, outside. I crept up into the barn. I was so scared to look inside, but I had to.
Hannibal Lecter: And what did you see, Clarice? What did you see?
Clarice Starling: Lambs. The lambs were screaming.
Hannibal Lecter: They were slaughtering the spring lambs?
Clarice Starling: And they were screaming.
Hannibal Lecter: And you ran away?
Clarice Starling: No. First I tried to free them. I... I opened the gate to their pen, but they wouldn't run. They just stood there, confused. They wouldn't run.
Hannibal Lecter: But you could and you did, didn't you?
Clarice Starling: Yes. I took one lamb, and I ran away as fast as I could.
Hannibal Lecter: Where were you going, Clarice?
Clarice Starling: I don't know. I didn't have any food, any water and it was very cold, very cold. I thought, I thought if I could save just one, but... he was so heavy. So heavy. I didn't get more than a few miles when the sheriff's car picked me up. The rancher was so angry he sent me to live at the Lutheran orphanage in Bozeman. I never saw the ranch again.
Hannibal Lecter: What became of your lamb, Clarice?
Clarice Starling: They killed him.
Hannibal Lecter: Well, Clarice - have the lambs stopped screaming?


Blogger All Blog Spots said...

great blog, keep the good work going :)

5/25/2007 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger R said...

Had some lamb chops for dinner the other night. Grilled them, then added a little mint sauce for some bang! Watched a video where lions try to capture a young water buffalo who falls into a lake. Soon a croc comes into play, the lions rush to get the captured buffalo out of the water. Then the herd of buffalo comes over to address the lions. One lion is seen flying in the air. Others start to scatter. The young water buffalo gets up and rejoins the herd. Meanwhile, the croc lays low in the water, hoping.

The really nice part are the background comments from the vistor who stand by their vehicles and film this event. They are shocked and feel so sad!

Maybe it is time to address why people choose to be Muslims. Let's look at the hatred part that seems to be deeply buried yet easily surfaces when others challenge this notion "religion of peace" or why women love to be fully clothed, etc.

I think this is all about a mass movement destined to meet western culture for a showdown. Like that herd of water buffalo, we might at some point join in a rescue of our culture if and when we sense real danger...for the entire herd!

Till then, idiots such as Rosie O'Donnell, will present their narcissistic issues on a regular basis, while we continue our masochistic rantings.

Gouging out an eye..for an eye: We've heard these lines before.

It's the old war of good versus evil. Belly dancers...where are they when you need them?

5/25/2007 04:30:00 AM  
Blogger ricpic said...

Rosie O'Donnell: now there's a real water buffalo!

5/25/2007 05:27:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

Don't forget that loud music is defined as torture by liberals as well. And of course torture can only take place in a "gulag" run by the U.S. By the latest inference, torture can only be performed by Americans. Therefore, this is not torture.

Maybe it could be renamed "persuasion with extreme prejudice".

5/25/2007 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 05/25/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

5/25/2007 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger tony said...

r - I hate 'creative writing' [if that's what it was supposed to be], specially when misplaced.

5/25/2007 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

It is time to face the very unpleasant reality that Jihadism is neither a religion nor a political movement, it is the psychotic reaction of men whose psycho-sexual attitudes have been challenged by the disintegration of traditional society in the face of globalization, modern communications and unearned oil wealth.

Torture is their sadistic sexual expression and suicide bombing their masochistic orgasm.

5/25/2007 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger R said...

Fat Man; I think you're starting to look at this from a "good nose" perspective! Develop it some more, including some thoughts on castration, etc. Also, why not explore the fight for middle eastern women by non-middle eastern men?

5/25/2007 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Nick Brunetti-Lihach said...

Great post.

You may enjoy this:

5/25/2007 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Jewish Odysseus said...

Note the features of the writhing victims in these drawings...AQ isn't focusing its torture manual on palefaces/gringoes...NOOOOO, these atrocities are geared for their fellow MUSLIM BROTHERS.

To see a little of the human side of the victims of this Satanic mindset, check out the video here...and watch for the incredible moment at 1:35, AllahuAkhbar, indeed!

...Look at those faces, hear those voices, then think of this demonic manual and the demons who put it together...The people of Iraq know very well why our forces need to be there, to help them resist an onslaught of these deranged butchers.

And we DO need to begin summary public executions of these filthy b@st@rds, on a large scale. Imagine that our policy is "catch and release"?!

5/25/2007 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I wonder if, in addition to all the other esthetic delights they've thunk up, jihadists have developed a taste for liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

Prolly not, since (of course) they are not allowed to drink a nice

5/25/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger gcotharn said...

I think, while some ignore it, some will come up with a new term: "Super-torture", or somesuch. We may hear politicians denouncing "Super-torturers".

5/25/2007 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

From what I've seen, the jihadists haven't come close to yguythe Japanese at Unit 731..

Japan Admits Dissecting WW-II POWs
On May 5, 1945, an American B-29 bomber was knocked down over southern Japan. Eight American airmen prisoners were made available for medical experiments at Kyushu Imperial University. The eight were dissected organ by organ while they were still alive.

This is the only site where Americans were incontrovertibly used in dissections and the only known site where experiments were done in Japan. Kyushu University, Fukuoka, is midway between Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Unit 731

Folks, this is torture..have a read here.
Torture, magnum opus

5/25/2007 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

....and liberals have the audacity to question why we dropped atomic bombs on Japan ..

5/25/2007 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

Great pointer to Unit 731.

These days, evil is an unpopular word. It's thought to be not wrong, so much as tacky. Good is an unpopular idea as well, but evil is just too extreme, too very too, to be believed when a simple "not good" can be substituted. However, in the face of real torture factories or experimental germ warfare death camps "not good" is simply not good enough. The least word that will suffice is "evil."

And that's the way it is.

5/25/2007 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

That was my first thought on reading that as well. .

5/25/2007 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger T-Bone said...

I’m supposed to take someone seriously who quotes a scene from The Silence of the Lambs while discussing torture?
If John McCain – who, you know, HAS been tortured -- thinks waterboarding is torture, then that’s good enough for me.

5/25/2007 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

t-bone, and that's your position, even if your loved ones are wired to a ticking bomb, and the worthless scumbag who set it up is the only guy who knows the kill switch --and he won't talk?

(i know, the odds are against that happening--it's a hypothetical, used to isolate the principle involved)

5/25/2007 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

The rancid left-New Yawk Times crowd may have gone too far with their publicizing of American "torture". Too far, that is, for THEIR nefarious agenda. By comparison to real torture the things our "bad" guys and gals did with the leash and women fondling men's private parts is laughable. This then has the opposite effect. It makes the Iraquis have confidence in our administration of their country. They then come to prefer us to the types they've had to deal with lately.

How about them apples.

5/25/2007 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Sparks, that's the ONE good thing about the pacifist left in this country. Enemies can't just blanket assert that USA is imperialist. Well, they can, but it holds less water.

However, this is a minor benefit since we're not actually inperialists to begin with.

5/25/2007 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mr.Atos said...

If you'll pardon me, BL, let's try a real scenario from the very pages of the enemy. One no doubt exercised repeatedly in Anbar...

Until T-bone, you are faced perhaps with the reality of someone gouging out your child's eyes in fromt of you...merely for effect? Then will McCain's hyperbolic equivocations still override your misery?

I personally don't have to see it, or even imagine it. The concept of it alone, written on the pages of a how to manual, instructs me on the difference between men, lambs, and butchers. It instructs me on the allowances that must be observed and the nature of the task at hand such that I NEVER have to know it first hand.

5/25/2007 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger regretleft said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/25/2007 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

Fat Man said: "Torture is their sadistic sexual expression and suicide bombing their masochistic orgasm."

I couldn't agree with you more, check out the smiling faces of the torturers.

5/25/2007 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Pangloss, Yashmak

When Abu Grab was getting all the publicity for "torturing" prisoners I already knew of Robert Shirers "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and of Japanese Unit 731. I almost had to cry.

People actually got upset over panties being put over the heads of prisoners and forced skin piles.
Some of our guards are in prison now, for torturing people who would kill us in a minute. Prison for panties and skin piles,please.

And I thought how utterly pathetic we had become in understanding what it takes to subdue fanatics. And make no mistake, the WWII Germans and Japanese were fanatics, just as the Islam Holy Warriors are today.

The pathos of having a country turn, at best, metrosexual, during a time when evil has unabasedly taken aim at the death of all Infidels is stupifying.

Were the last thirty years of blowing up buildings,gassing people,flying planes into civilian workplaces not provocation enough to at least extract a pound of flesh?

Is the unabated pursuit of nuclear weapons not a causus belli when preceeded by the notice that they will use them when they are acquired?

Our muticultural experiment is fracturing the foundations of this nations raison d'être, which was never envisioned to allow a Caligula like society but one centered on Judeo Christian ethics.

We will, through these portals, keep the institutional memory alive of truly historical atrocities and by doing so provide those who have no perpective on which to make judgements face what has already been done to mankind. Then they will be forced to face their moral conundrum of doing the wrong or the right thing in securing man's freedoms.

5/25/2007 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

yes, mr. atos --note the care & relish with which the howling victim's faces are drawn. The art is a labor of hate, drawn by a connoisseur of agony.

5/25/2007 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...


One of the Cardinal Conundrum's taken ,with some liberty, from Teodicy is this:

The optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds, the pessimist is afraid that is correct.

5/25/2007 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Silence of the Lambs" was an excellent reference. The film was a monster hit, and it would not have been had not the Hannibal Lector character been so believable.

You have to ask yourself *why* he was so believable.

I think we know the answer without having to ask: there really are monsters out there, more and more of them as they link up through the communications web, and validate, in the doing, each other's legitimacy.

5/25/2007 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

From an editorial by Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a former member of a Islamic terrorist group, in today's

"Islamophobia could end when masses of Muslims demonstrate in the streets against videos displaying innocent people being beheaded with the same vigor we employ against airlines, Israel and cartoons of Muhammad."

But perhaps it is not time yet for Muslims. The Japanese did not think that attacking cities was a bad thing until most of Tokyo was burned to the ground and Hiroshima and Nagaskai saw nuclear fire. The Germans did not become inclined to be pacifistic until they saw 1000 bombers overhead for a period of a few years. Perhaps the Muslims have not see enough of torture to develop a real distaste for it - or even an appreciation for its true definition.

5/25/2007 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger R said...

Torture and Terrorism...birds of a feather I think. Let's say I intend to kill my enemy. Up to the moment he is dead, he goes from living toward dying. Someone is watching me in this process. At some point this watcher claims: 1)I am terrorizing this person, and 2)I am torturing this person.

I am taking this person's life toward death, through terror and torture.

What happens if my goal is not to kill this person, rather to just come right to the edge of death? Terror and Torture are still present, but my intent is now the "real" question.

What our troops did to those we considered enemies/bad guys is not to the degree this manual operates.

However, a person who is watching may claim we were creating terror and we're torturing. A matter of degree. But our troops were not operating toward death upon these people.

Do we have the right to kill our enemies, in a declared war? What is survival all about, for the individual and the group?

As kids, we used to get in fights. As we aged (still kids) we tried to set rules on how we were going to fight. "Say Uncle" was one way to end a fight...surrender, neutralize.

In man to man warfare, the game is to kill your declared enemy, deny him the opportunity to wage war by destroying his capacities, to neutralize him every way possible so hostilities are ended.

As M.C. Hammer would say: "Can't touch this!"

I would terrorize you, torture you, and kill you to protect my life, my family's lives, my neighbor's lives, my community, my country...if I thought the danger imposed by you warranted such. (And my name is not Jack Bauer!)

I may think of myself as a human, I also know I am animal. Instincts operate within my mind.

Making the good and right decision is the hard part. Terror and torture are just stops along the way toward killing.

Note how here in America we have herds of lawyers who protest every execution as terrorizing and torturing the "condemned" prisoner.

I don't like war at all. I would advise those "Moderate Muslims" of the "Religion of Peace" to gather up their members and cease those actions by these radical fanatics.

Either get this done, or move out of the way! Those guys are out to terrorize, torture and kill us!

I know this. They don't want to meet me on the battlefield (then again, maybe they do!).

Real simple: We win, they lose!

All we have to do is get this party really started! Change our Rules Of Engagement, sooner rather than later.

It may protect you, your family, your children...

5/25/2007 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

In Islam it is permissible to do ANYTHING to unbelievers. I do not exaggerate. There are no moral restraints imposed when it comes to unbelievers (kafirs)and Muslim apostates. Seriously, when are more people going to end their intellectual sloth and begin reading the Islamic scriptures? Quo usque tandem abutere, Catalina, patientia nostra...

5/25/2007 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"...not a single [Marxist front] organization will seriously take the matter up."

5/25/2007 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger USpace said...

Well, if torture is part of their barbaric, sick, evil, sub-human, perverted, vile and demented culture who are we to say it is bad?

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
ignore human rights abuse

give dictators free pass
villify the best countries

5/27/2007 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger elendil said...

What the hell is with those drawings?! I'm flicking through the Smoking Gun site right now. I just can't get over it, they're like cartoons. It's just sick. Like the person drawing it thinks it's funny. It just doesn't make any sense. Is this like what happened with the guards beating Dilawar, that they thought that it was funny when he cried out to his God for help?

Truly torture is the worst crime anyone can commit. It makes both the victim and the torturer lose their humanity.

5/29/2007 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger elendil said...

Hey, I just noticed something strange. With one exception (who might be a boy), all of the victims have beards, yet all of the tortures are clean cut, and have only moustaches. Was the artist making some kind of statement about the "sorts of people" they tortured, like a denigrating stereotype about them? If he caricaturing them, maybe it means something?

5/29/2007 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger RandallJones said...

The political left (and organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch) spend too much time talking about the US torturing suspected terrorists. But I can understand why the public doesn't care about the torture because everyday we see on the news reports stories about suicides bombings, so they are afraid.

The politcal left and human rights activists should be emphazing the bombings, the use of depleted uranium and chemical weapons, and how the Osama Ben Laden was once a CIA asset and how the United States helped to bring into power Saddam Hussein and the U.S. supported strategically and financially him when he was committing his worst atrocities.

When people understand that the U.S. government has been collaborating with Muslim extremists and supporting brutal dictators than hopefully the people will ask their government to stop doing this.

6/03/2007 04:49:00 AM  

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