See Rummy Spin. Spin, Rummy, Spin

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by IJ Reilly, May 12, 2004.

  1. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    By Arianna Huffington

    To hear Don Rumsfeld tell it, even though the Bush administration had been told back in January about the abuse and torture going on at Abu Ghraib — and that there were photos documenting it — the idea that this might be a very bad thing didn’t really hit home until recently because no one in the White House had actually laid eyes on the photos.

    “It is the photographs that give one the vivid realization of what actually took place,” Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. “Words don’t do it.”

    Really?

    So being notified by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that U.S. soldiers were torturing and humiliating naked Iraqi prisoners in the very place that had once been Saddam Hussein’s favorite Little Shop of Horrors wasn’t vivid enough to get the alarm bells ringing on Pennsylvania Avenue?

    Neither apparently were the non-visual warnings about the mistreatment of prisoners delivered by the Red Cross, Colin Powell and Paul Bremer.

    Why not? Is the country being run by a bunch of preschoolers who can’t process all those big words and will only sit still for a colorful picture book?

    See Rummy spin. Spin, Rummy, spin.

    Even the release of Gen. Taguba’s damning 53-page report detailing the “systematic and illegal abuse of detainees” wasn’t enough to pique Rumsfeld’s concern.

    “The problem at that stage,” he testified, “was one-dimensional. It wasn’t three-dimensional. It wasn’t video. It wasn’t color.”

    I challenge anyone to read the Taguba report and say that the nightmares it depicts aren’t chillingly three-dimensional. Even without pop-up illustrations.

    According to Taguba, U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib were guilty of: “Positioning a naked detainee on a box . . . with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes and penis to simulate electric torture”; “Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees”; “Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair”; “Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broomstick.”

    Close your eyes. Now picture what you just read. Still need to see photos before you hit the roof? I didn’t think so.

    What a colossal failure of imagination on the part of our leaders.

    But even as ludicrous as the “No photos, no fury” justification is, let’s accept the premise that detailed descriptions of chemical light buggery and electrodes attached to genitals aren’t enough — that Rummy and company have made such a habit of twisting and spinning and manipulating words, mere language has lost its power to move them.

    Fine.

    But since photographic proof is now the prerequisite for moral outrage, why didn’t Rumsfeld demand to see the photos as soon as he was told about them back in January? If you were in his shoes, wouldn’t you have ordered them to be on your desk within the hour?

    Of course you would have. But not the man Dick Cheney just called “the best secretary of defense the Unites States has ever had.”

    When asked by a reporter why he never got around to actually viewing the incendiary photos until the night before he was called on the Senate carpet, Rummy insisted the problem wasn’t his lack of interest; it was the lack of a good photo developer. Call it the Fotomat defense.

    “I think I did inquire about the pictures,” he said, “and was told that we didn’t have copies.”

    No copies? The biggest U.S. military scandal since My Lai and the secretary of defense can’t get any extra prints sent his way?

    Memo to Rummy: We now live in the era of digital photos and instant uploads. “The dog ate my negative” just ain’t gonna fly.

    Rumsfeld claims he was “blindsided” by the revelation of what he called the “radioactive” torture photos. But the timeline proves otherwise: He wasn’t blindsided, merely blind to the devastating impact the pictures would have once they became public.

    That’s where this failure of imagination turned into a profound failure of leadership.

    The White House has said that the war on terror is as much a war of ideas as a war of weapons. If that were more than rhetoric, someone there would have seen the writing on the prison wall and gotten out in front of this crisis instead of allowing the Taguba report to languish unread by the top brass and the photos to be made public by the press and not the president.

    Indeed, they treated it not as a political land mine that could flatten America’s moral high ground but as a PR problem that would disappear if they kept the photos from public view.

    Always a master of understatement, Rummy termed the Abu Ghraib scandal “unhelpful in a fundamental way.” The time has come for him and his cohorts to admit that the situation in Iraq has become untenable in a fundamental way.

    We can’t put the torture genie back in the bottle. And we can no longer pretend that we have any chance of ushering democracy into Iraq so long as democracy has an American face.

    See Bush crumble. Crumble, Bush, crumble.
     
  2. SPG macrumors 65816

    SPG

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    So, bush still hasn't apologized to the Iraqi people, although he did say that he apologized to King Abdullah of Jordan, then a few days later said basically that the country owed a debt of gratitude to Rumsfeld for overseeing the torture operation.
    hmmm, I wonder how that whole "hearts and minds" campaign is going in Iraq?
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    i must wonder if the administration was too busy squashing other reports and the ICRC one just slipped through the cracks
     
  4. SPG macrumors 65816

    SPG

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    It's late so I'm going to be lazy and avoid the research here...but if I recall weren't all bush's statements expressing anger about the photos more than the actual torture? Parse the statements from the first few days after the story broke.
    Also didn't Powell admit that bush was briefed as far back as January about the abuse charges, and the documentation of the abuse?
     
  5. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Yes, that's true. As far as the administration is concerned, it was the release of photos that was troubling, not the abuse they documented. Quite accidently (I assume) the White House revealed something very unsettling about their priorities -- image is job one, and every issue of substance takes a back seat to how it will play. Unfortunately most Americans probably won't even notice this crass exercise in stage management, because they're too accustomed to having their opinions manipulated by spin and images. As far as I'm concerned, the administration got caught with its hand in this cookie jar -- right up to their shoulders. At least somebody understands. (Now, if somebody got it on tape, maybe even the public would understand.)
     
  6. mrbrown macrumors 6502

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    I figured I would just point something out... ever read any Machiavelli, "The Prince", more specfically ?

    Its been a while since I read the book, but I took a political theory class last semester and we spent an entire month on The Prince. As I recall, Machiavelli says a leader needs to be concerned about the image of their actions, because well - this is what the public sees. You may be doing something just and right, but if it looks bad, well the public is going to see it as being bad. Of course, this can also be reversed - you can be doing something totally evil, but if you play it right, the public is going to see it as a good thing and be all for the leader.

    (just a little side note: i'm a Republican, I'm "from" Texas, and I have an LSU [where Bush is speaking for commencement next week] colored Bush/Cheney '04 sticker on my car)
     
  7. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Sure, of course. I think everybody had to read The Prince at some time during their academic lives.

    So, I presume you aren't troubled by a president who's got Machiavelli as his middle name?
     
  8. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    I have mixed views of Machiavelli...I admire much about the man and his ideas, but he also somewhat offends my sensibilities..
    As far as current events regarding machiavelli...I believe he would be very dissapointed at GW and company, because they have done a piss-poor job of implementing his ideas...manipulating/managing the public opinion well, requires forethought and critical thinking of the larger picture, which has not been done. Spin after the fact, in the form of a mantra-like repetition of anti or incomplete truth does not count. It is merely damage control for lack of an intelligent plan.
     
  9. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    Machiavelli was mainly concerned with grooming an Italian leader to rid his country of the French and Spanish occupation forces. I don't think the parallel quite holds, although Rumsfeld himself may not have noticed.
     
  10. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

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    getting back to rummy spin...


    anyone else catch him today proclaiming that the geneva convention was "open to interpretation"?

    either he's arrogant as all hell or he really needs to increase his meds...
     
  11. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    I'm voting on arrogant. What he has is not fixable with medication. Unless we are talking about the numbing kind ;)
     
  12. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    didn't see that, but saw something else that disgusted me. rumsfeld was addressing a room full of troops (where reporters were allowed to attend, but not allowed to ask questions) and proudly declared he stopped reading newspapers.

    there was a slight pause, then the room erupted in applause. i lifted my glass and toasted ignorance.

    i'm telling ya guys -- Eurasia's next...
     
  13. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    Finally, a war we can win...
     
  14. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    ok, I have to admit the last time I read 1984 was before half the posters here were born, so tell me again - just so I'll know who to salute - which side are we on? ;)
     
  15. blackfox macrumors 65816

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    I think Delay(sp?) wins my stupidist comment of the day referring to the torture photos (available and forthcoming)...as "blowing things out of proportion...not a big deal...giving unnecessary media and political ammunition" (paraphrased)

    Of course, these days it's a tough game of one-upmanship...

    BTW the Eurasia comment, reminds me of a line in the Princess Bride...
     
  16. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    i only followed that half-hearted because i had to finish something for studies but i heard a lot of making jokes by Rumsfeld and laughter...THAT irritated me even more ..in the morning he perhaps looked at torture-pictures and in the afternoon he is standing there making jokes all the time :confused:
     
  17. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

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    incontheivable...
    ;)
     

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  18. Voltron macrumors newbie

    Voltron

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    #18
    How about calling it a living breathing document :p
     
  19. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    If this is irony, then I approve. If it is a serious proposition, forget it.
     
  20. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #20
    you keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means. :D
     

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