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Old 05-15-2004, 01:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Rumsfeld, Iraq, and Operation Copper Green

Really long, detailed story in the New Yorker, again from Seymour Hersh, about a clandestine project called Copper Green. Originally an interrogation program designed to operate outside of the Geneva Convention at Guantanomo, it was imported to Iraq under orders from Rumsfeld.

http://newyorker.com/fact/content/?040524fa_fact

Geoffrey Miller was sent in from Guantanamo to "gitmoize" the Iraq operation, and it was his arrival that is timed with the start of the Iraq abuses.

It's all pretty shocking, and the story shatters the administration's position that a small group of soldiers acting alone were responsible for the abuses.

It's a very long read, (literally! why are the columns so narrow?) but it's definitely worth your time.
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Old 05-15-2004, 02:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Seymour Hersh, making the president's men throw themselves on political grenades since 1970. I wonder what the group investigating this in the Senate will do with this information. I'm willing to bet McCain is going to try and get Rummy sacked before the election.
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Old 05-15-2004, 03:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The first paragraph gets right to it:
Quote:
The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.
At first I thought the calls for Rumsfeld's resignation were partisan and without merit. I still think its a little premature, but it is becoming clearer that the abuses seen at Abu Ghraib were not simply the fault of a few bad guards acting on their own volition. What happened at Abu Gharib went exactly as planned by the people at the top, right up until the whistle got blown and the pictures got released.

It's going to be much harder for the President to say Rumsfeld is doing a "super job" after this.
Still, as Joe Biden said,"this is somewhat bigger than Secretary Rumsfeld.I want to see the president do some swift and positive action here. Rumsfeld is part of the problem, not part of the solution. I don't care if he goes stand in a corner."
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Old 05-16-2004, 02:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The Pentagon's response:
Quote:
No responsible official of the Department of Defense approved any program that could conceivably have been intended to result in such abuses as witnessed in the recent photos and videos.
Doesn't this seem just a little bit too carefully worded? It doesn't say that the department of defense didn't approve the program. It says that the department of defense didn't approve a program that was *intended* to create abuses like what actually happened.

Sounds a bit too much like "I did not have sex with that woman" to me.
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Old 05-16-2004, 02:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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it sounds to me like the pentagon probably did approve a program called "operation copper green", but the program isn't what seymour hersh is telling us it is.
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Old 05-17-2004, 05:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Rumsfeld, Iraq, and Operation Copper Green

Quote:
Originally posted by HarmlessRabbit

It's all pretty shocking, and the story shatters the administration's position that a small group of soldiers acting alone were responsible for the abuses.
Only if you believe it's 100% accurate. I will withold judgement until details can be corroborated.
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Old 05-17-2004, 06:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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the iraq war is coming to resemble the algerian war more and more closely.

in both cases, a vertically organized military confronted an opponent that was horizontally organized. in both cases, there was an assumption that somewhere, hidden by recalicrant local folk, lay hidden an organization that resembled the state military.

in both cases, the notion of terrorism was used to justify an extra-legal kind of war, one in which the use of torture was at once secret and widespread.

in both cases, the use of torture rested upon a kind of contempt for international conventions that shaped the rules of conventional engagement--though (depending on how you look at it, and shaping this perspective is the main fight goin on in the media right now--think about the difference in frame of reference that you get from america-based press as over against english or french or german media outlets, for example) the bush administration has gone further in the "war on terror" than the french did during the algerian war in using extra-legal means to conduct their campaign.

in both cases, the use of fear generated by "terrorism"was obviously central to justifying this end-run around law. That people would be afraid of such attacks is normal--- but things change once that fear gets translated into the logic behind state policy.

in both cases, the occupying power put the search for intelligence ahead of protecting the basic human rights of people detained.
(think about the holding of suspects without trial in the states under the patriot act, about guantanomo, etc.)

in both the case of the algerian war and that of iraq, the policy that enabled torture to be used as a weapon appears also to have been linked to a normalization of torture amongst the people who carried it out. this is, to me, the most unnerving aspect of this whole affair--the photos of the smiling troops, the impression given that nothing is wrong with what is being photographed. chillling stuff.

in both the algerian war and now, the public exposure of torture was a catastrophe for the dominant power.

i think the parallels stop here (i hope they do at least--i cant see what you could equate to the oas in this context, for example).

but the algerian war is, i think, an instructive historical example to think about. i suppose the only real problem for using algeria as an example is the afterglow of the anti-french posture articulated by the likes of richard perle early on in this sad sad affair.

there is little surprising in principle in hersh's article.
that said, i am interested to see what happens with the information he presents at the level of detail.
but i am not surprised by what it says in general.
and that does not make me happy.
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Old 05-17-2004, 09:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by roachboy
the iraq war is coming to resemble the algerian war more and more closely.

in both cases, a vertically organized military confronted an opponent that was horizontally organized. in both cases, there was an assumption that somewhere, hidden by recalicrant local folk, lay hidden an organization that resembled the state military.

in both cases, the notion of terrorism was used to justify an extra-legal kind of war, one in which the use of torture was at once secret and widespread.

in both cases, the use of torture rested upon a kind of contempt for international conventions that shaped the rules of conventional engagement--though (depending on how you look at it, and shaping this perspective is the main fight goin on in the media right now--think about the difference in frame of reference that you get from america-based press as over against english or french or german media outlets, for example) the bush administration has gone further in the "war on terror" than the french did during the algerian war in using extra-legal means to conduct their campaign.

in both cases, the use of fear generated by "terrorism"was obviously central to justifying this end-run around law. That people would be afraid of such attacks is normal--- but things change once that fear gets translated into the logic behind state policy.

in both cases, the occupying power put the search for intelligence ahead of protecting the basic human rights of people detained.
(think about the holding of suspects without trial in the states under the patriot act, about guantanomo, etc.)

in both the case of the algerian war and that of iraq, the policy that enabled torture to be used as a weapon appears also to have been linked to a normalization of torture amongst the people who carried it out. this is, to me, the most unnerving aspect of this whole affair--the photos of the smiling troops, the impression given that nothing is wrong with what is being photographed. chillling stuff.

in both the algerian war and now, the public exposure of torture was a catastrophe for the dominant power.

i think the parallels stop here (i hope they do at least--i cant see what you could equate to the oas in this context, for example).

but the algerian war is, i think, an instructive historical example to think about. i suppose the only real problem for using algeria as an example is the afterglow of the anti-french posture articulated by the likes of richard perle early on in this sad sad affair.

there is little surprising in principle in hersh's article.
that said, i am interested to see what happens with the information he presents at the level of detail.
but i am not surprised by what it says in general.
and that does not make me happy.
Interesting perspective and overall a very good post. We seem to agree on the thinking that enabled it to happen and share a disgust for the seeming enjoyment the soldiers got from the torture.
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Old 05-17-2004, 02:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by onetime2
Only if you believe it's 100% accurate. I will withold judgement until details can be corroborated.
Agreed. Hersh said in an interview that he had "more than two and less than six" sources. He's quite a reputable journalist, but it's just a single story for now.
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Old 05-20-2004, 07:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Great Article. Thanks.
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Old 05-23-2004, 11:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Why has "Copper Green" dropped out of the news? You would think that if the story is accurate, there would be sources coming forward to reporters coroborating it. If not accurate, the administration would be raising hell. Neither seems to be happening.
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Old 05-26-2004, 07:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Why has "Copper Green" dropped out of the news?
Because its not a big deal anymore.

Because the Left has milked it for all its worth and its a dead issue now, especially since the story broke that they are going to demolish the jail.
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Old 05-26-2004, 07:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by powerclown
Because its not a big deal anymore.

Because the Left has milked it for all its worth and its a dead issue now, especially since the story broke that they are going to demolish the jail.
I could swear that the Taguba report thing used the phrase "systemic abuse" when referring the the treatment of prisoners in Iraq, across several prisons. I don't see how destroying a single prison is going to cure the severely warped mindset US soldiers are taking towards prisoner interrogations. Unless, General Taguba is actually working towards Bush losing the 2004 election. I guess that crafty General is a tool of leftist propaganda, damn if the left isn't the height of irresponsibility.
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Originally Posted by Norseman on another forum:
"Yeah, the problem with the world is the stupid people are all cocksure of themselves and the intellectuals are full of doubt."
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