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May 10, 2004

Nemesis For Dummies. Ogged at Unfogged makes a horribly good point:
What happened at Abu Ghraib is, in terms of America’s image in the rest of the world, worse than a massacre or systematic repression because it makes Americans seem gross. Of course wanton killing is shameful and disdainful, but it’s not weak and depraved in the way the Abu Ghraib torture is weak and depraved. Abu Ghraib is a new image of America, and it evokes neither respect nor fear.
Meanwhile, Roger “Not That One” Ailes reminds us that everything they’ve told you is a lie. William Saletan agrees. [11:36 AM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Nemesis For Dummies.:

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 12:52 PM:

". . . it makes Americans seem gross."

And Rush calling it "good old fashioned porn" suggests that, yeah, this indeed is what we do for fun over here, whazdaproblem wit dat?

I'm really curious how he is going to spin the dog attack incident.

Bastard. Idiot.

bob mcmanus ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 03:27 PM:

The image of America is that of a petite Southern white girl in military khakis leading a large naked dark-skinned man around on a leash.

God help us.

Hlvictoria ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 04:55 PM:

What many people don't realize in the US, however, is that this anti-American sentiment and this view of the US was already like that for the rest of the world. With the publication of these pictures people outside the US are not suddenly coming to a realization that the Bush govt is bad -- they've known it all along.

I think the most important effect taking place right now is that many Americans are starting to question for the first time the lies they've been told.

The rest of us already knew.

MDČ ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 06:04 PM:

The photos have been confirmation for those who believed in the "evil" of the US in the rest of the world. They have allowed those who really knew something to finally be heard. They've made the neutral majority slide slowly into the silent opposition. They have made actual defense of the US harder for those who deem such a thing still worth doing. And yes, they have degraded the image of the US in a lot of people mind's eye... not that it was generally flattering to begin with, of course, but at least, it still used to keep an allure of strength, and aeven at worst.

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 06:06 PM:

Stefan: Perhaps he has a different relation to dogs than you and I. Perhaps we should ask Santorum to explain.

bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 06:26 PM:

Regarding the dog business - I finally motivated myself to look into Blackwater, since the SCLM sure isn't going to for us, to see if I could figureout through the doublespeak what they actually might have been doing in Fallujah besides the amorphous 'providing security.'

This isn't conclusive, of course, but given what we now know...

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 06:40 PM:

bellatrys: My impression is that the dog units in the prison were actual military, but who knows what will come out with the court martials.

tost ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 09:29 PM:

I can't say that I agree with the "gross" characterization. When I think of "gross" - which thankfully isn't something I have to do on a regular basis - I think of words like disgusting or nasty. Not that those terms are anything to write home about, but they don't sink to anywhere near the level of depravity pictured in those images from Iraq.

Nor is weakness the real issue.

I think we'd be better served by discussing how, in the eyes of the world, America's vaunted morality has been exposed as a sham. Bush, in particular, has been couching his rhetoric in religious and moral terms that are designed to appeal to his far-right base. Unfortunately for George, the pictures are so at odds with his "holier than thou" posturing that he comes out looking like a liar. Again. And the rest of the world seems to be getting pretty sick of an administration that's brought our hypocrisy meter to levels we've never even dreamed about before. Of course, they still aren't as angry at the rotten bastards in the White House as I am.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 01:48 AM:

Sounds like ol' Rush enjoys way different porn than I do....


Has everyone here written to there Senators/congressman/local newspaper (if you're American) or appropriate government ministries/local newspaper (if you're a citizen of some other country)?

Silence is not acceptable.

degustibus ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 04:53 AM:

The issue is not how the world views us.

The real problem is how US citizens view the AG prison story & pics.

Far too many good old US folks think anything our troops do is okay, and -- what's the problem? (nuke 'em, get it over with and come home)

bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 05:49 AM:

James - I called & got through to all but one of my state's representative's offices and demanded what, exactly, their bosses were planning on doing about the situation. There was no prevarication. They sounded scared and wary and meekly said that they would pass the message on and would be sending official statements, and said yes'm when I warned them that I would be following up on it and we would not let them bury this again.

degustibus - have you seen the CNN poll? If it's at all reflective, we're better than that. 54% very disturbed, over 20% pretty disturbed, and about 10% each not much or not at all, with 1% not responding.

The freepers may be as noisy as peepers, but they are not necessarily the majority.

bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 05:51 AM:

Benjamin Ferencz, one of the surviving Nuremberg prosecuters, has weighed in on the NYT letters page.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 07:47 AM:

"The issue is not how the world views us."

I dunno, that seems like a pretty important issue to me.

Reuters: Bush's Backing of Rumsfeld Shocks and Angers Arabs

Arab commentators reacted with shock and disbelief on Monday over President Bush's robust backing of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld against calls for his resignation.

Critics had called for him to quit after the furor over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners but analysts, editors and ordinary Arabs were united in their condemnation of Bush who said the United States owed Rumsfeld a "debt of gratitude."

"After the torture and vile acts by the American army, President Bush goes out and congratulates Rumsfeld. It's just incredible. I am in total shock," said Omar Belhouchet, editor of the influential Algerian national daily El Watan.

"Bush's praise for Rumsfeld will discredit the United States...and further damage its reputation, which is already at a historic low in the Arab world," he added.

Analysts have said the damage from images seen worldwide of U.S. soldiers abusing naked Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison would be indelible, incalculable and a gift to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 07:50 AM:

Here's the link to the letter.

Niall ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 08:14 AM:

I was looking through my early postings about 9/11, and I saw this:

Ken MacLeod wrote in message ... [Bin Laden]

>He wants to turn America into 'a shadow of itself'.

I think the risk is more that America might turn into a big, angry, green and very muscular version of itself, clad only in mysteriously stretchy jeans.

Sadly, Ogged is right. What's happened is too disgusting for comicbooks, I must go back to Robert Louis Stevenson:

The pleasures which I made haste to seek in my disguise were, as I have said, undignified; I would scarce use a harder term. But in the hands of Edward Hyde, they soon began to turn toward the
monstrous. When I would come back from these excursions, I was often plunged into a kind of wonder at my vicarious depravity.

This familiar that I called out of my own soul, and sent forth alone to do his good pleasure, was a being inherently malign and villainous; his every act and thought centred on self; drinking pleasure with bestial avidity from any degree of torture to another; relentless like a man of stone.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 04:35 PM:

Woo! Rush spins the dog-attacking-prisoner photo:

LIMBAUGH: Even this latest picture of a dog and a nude Iraqi -- you seen that one? A couple of Americans are holding -- it looks like German Shepherd, some kind of vicious big dogs, the dogs are barking, bow wow arf arf arf, this big dog -- you know and the Iraqi prisoner is cowering there in fear, he's all nude. And the picture caption "Dog attacks Iraqi." No, the dog isn't attacking anyone, the dog's on a leash. The dog is scaring an Iraqi prisoner. [gasp] "No! We're scaring them, too? Is that allowed in the Geneva Convention?! We're scaring then with dogs?" Yes, my friends we are. The dog didn't attack anybody. The dog's not attacking anybody. The dog's on a leash. Both of them are. I've seen the pictures. ...

And then, the retraction:

[... about 35 minutes later ...]

LIMBAUGH: Apparently, ladies and gentleman, I need to offer a modification. Apparently, the pictures that are, the picture going around of the uh, the nude Iraqi picture cowering in fear of a couple of dogs. The caption of that picture that I've seen going around, uh, intimates that the dog was on the verge of attacking this guy, and he was very scared and so forth. In the picture that I saw the dogs were leashed and the correct caption would be "Nude Iraqi picture scared of dog but not attack [sic]." Apparently -- there's not a picture of it -- but apparently uh, well, there's another picture later where the nude Iraqi prisoner no longer cowering, um, in the corner against his cell, he's writhing on the floor with a pool of blood. Apparently, the dog did bite his leg, but there's no picture of that. I have just been, uh, informed of this. So I wanted to, uh, pass that on to make sure that the pass that on to make sure that the facts are out there. There's no picture of that, but apparently that's what uh, what happened. Sorry for the error. ...

THANK YOU, Media Matters:


James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 01:21 PM:

There's no picture of that, but apparently that's what uh, what happened. Sorry for the error....

There are, in fact, pictures of that. There's a whole series of pictures of that.

It's just that they haven't been published.


Hey, I have a question: Why's Rush out of jail? Isn't that where drug criminals are supposed to be? Wouldn't it be ... interesting ... if the cops decided to use those same methods that Rush thinks are perfectly okay to ask him about where he bought his pills and whether he resold them anywhere, and by the way, how long he'd been a member of al Qaeda?

Sure, he's a member of al Qaeda. He's doing their work, isn't he? Sounds like an enemy combatant to me. Let's see ... jail, no lawyer, no charges, no contact with the outside world for years.

How about it, Rush! Is that the way things ought to be?

Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2004, 01:53 AM:

What's Rush Limbaugh but a derisive rich huypocritical junkie "-money talks, Limbaugh walks-" whose words on Family Values flunk a mirror test of "how many times have you been married, divorced, and remarried Mr Limbaugh? What's this sanctity of marriage of one man and one woman ordure you're popping off having been married to how many still living women, Mr Limbaugh?"