Who Did Give the Green Light to Torture?

320px-Gul_MudinPaul Vallely writes at the Independent:

There has been something artificially over-heated about the international reaction to the video of four American soldiers urinating on the bodies of their dead Taliban enemies in Afghanistan. It was, of course, a fairly disgusting thing to do.

But all the breastbeating about how the men’s “egregious inhumanity” had brought “disgrace to their armed forces” and “dishonour to their nation” had something of bluster about it. How could anybody do such a thing, asked people who had never been to war, heard their wounded friends scream or seen them die, blown to pieces, before their very eyes.

There may yet be demonstrations and deadly riots around the world in protest. But I suspect not. This is no Abu Ghraib, for the scenes of degraded torture in that Iraqi prison were inflicted upon the living rather than the dead. But what the two have in common is that both have exposed a systematic pattern of abuse in a culture which had been nurtured or authorised at higher levels.

The Taliban, for all their perfunctory condemnation, have announced that the video will not affect the process of political negotiating that has begun in Afghanistan. As part of a deal to bring a modicum of stability in that country ahead of the withdrawal of US combat troops in 2014, Washington has offered to allow them to open a political office in Qatar. The Taliban are far more concerned about that than the desecration of three dead bodies. They and their al-Qa’ida allies are, after all, happy enough to desecrate living bodies, stoning to death young women who have had the ill fortune to be raped, or cutting the throats of hostages and filming it for the internet.

Bad things happen in war. When men have been under extreme fire, or seen their best friend die, anger and hatred flow freely. Enemies are dehumanised. Contempt for the other is a battlefield weapon. Young soldiers – and nearly 40 per cent of the US Marine Corps are below the age of 22 – are prone to callow as well as gallows humour. Some of them do stupid things. With a total of 90,000 American troops on the ground in Afghanistan, the real wonder is that there haven’t been more videos like this. British soldiers did worse things in the Second World War. They just weren’t able to video it and stick it on YouTube…

Read more here.

9 Comments on "Who Did Give the Green Light to Torture?"

  1. Hates_you | Jan 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm |

    I really like this article, it does show one side or the other as being the sole cause of every bad thing that has happened in the war, it paints both as equal in that respect.

  2. Kenvallario | Jan 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm |

    there is something wrong about this article…and it has something to do with statements like this:

    “Bad things happen in war.”

    as if we didn’t know that.
    as if that somehow is a complex response to a horrifying set of images.
    as if we didn’t know that when we condemned said bad things as being worse than the war itself, even though i think war is categorically bad…to then go about pissing on the dead, represents a kind of self-hatred of the kind that is irreparable…

    and this article skirts this issue, it minimizes, even though it condemns in only the most perfunctory way…it is an article written in the style of 21st century journalism, written from the perspective of an alien viewer, with out any of the necessary emotion that would make such coverage relevant or human.

    thumbs down

    • “…to then go about pissing on the dead, represents a kind of self-hatred of the kind that is irreparable…”

      The human race deserves irreparable self-hatred. We are a species that offers nothing constructive to life as a collective. We don’t produce anything useful, and we don’t do anything helpful for any species but our own. We’re destructive, murderous, self-serving, hateful creatures and we should recognize that fact. Your self-righteousness is comical.

  3. Whose to say he is Taliban? Via Wikipedia “The photo shows the dead body of teenager Gul Muddin, son of an Afghan farmer in Kandahar Province. The boy was shot and killed on 15 January 2010.”

    • gwen jackson | Jan 20, 2012 at 6:25 am |

      Anyone we murder is subsequently determined to be a terrorist, didn’t you know?

  4. ioksototeaterofsouls | Jan 19, 2012 at 3:30 am |

    Now we need to see a video of some Amerikan dead being pissed on. What would Fox make of that?

  5. gwen jackson | Jan 20, 2012 at 6:23 am |

    So fucking sick of torture apologists I could scream. So sick of the AMERICAN soldiers being painted as the victims of this war. Makes me puke.

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