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Radically Inept
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
  Alright, here's a decent look

Morat, of Skeptical Notion, posits this in the comment section of pandagon.net - half the age, twice the smart (Okay, I admit it, it is more ironic this way):
I think there's another angle here. Look at it from the PR perspective, and understand that the primary is Iraqi and Arab.

We're grabbing random Iraqis, from their own country, and sticking them into a prison where -- as they've long known -- we inflict the worst and most shameful acts possible on them. Acts that a large number of Iraqis consider worse than death.

This guy yanks up an American, an "invader" in a country he doesn't belong, and they offer him a relatively swift death. They don't torture him, they just kill him. It wasn't quite as pretty as lethal injection, but it wasn't a knife-in-the-guy left to die over three days death, or a "burned alive" death, or "tortured to death over many days" sort of thing.

In other words, they offer him a merciful and swift death, even though he is an invading infidel. Whereas the invading infidels offer more shame and humiliation than a man can stand in life.

Who comes off looking better to Arab eyes?

As a nice bonus, American reactions are reversed. We see the killing as far more brutal than the still photos of abuse. It's a nice piece of PR designed to inflame Americans -- and thus lead to more atrocities -- and inspire Iraqis to join up to fight against us.

Posted by Morat at May 12, 2004 01:17 PM
I just liked the comment.

And, of course, I threw in my two cents:
Excellent post.

And some pretty excellent comments. I think Ken and Morat provide some range on the possibilities.

But, I wonder if there is still more here. For instance, this prison thing was either stupid, or it wasn't.

If it was stupid, well than some people need to be fired. Now.

On the otherhand, if it wasn't stupid. If some player, for political gain or financial profit, or for some extreme religious conviction (see Passion of the Christ here), or just because they don't like 'ragheads', wanted the US to inflame the enemy, really get a crusade going, well, you couldn't have done better than we have this week.

So, I think the question is really fair, on the subject of the US side and the consternation the photos caused, "Was it truly a mistake, or was someone achieving a goal?" I know, tin hat, but after wag the dog, Iran Contra, and hell, a host of crap, I've ceased to believe anything just because 'that could never happen'.
Just so you know.

[Added 6:15pm]

It dawns on me, that in fairness, I should broaden my thinking on possible motivations. So, let's include the possibility, and I think you always should, that there is more than a single isolated incident (it appears it might well be prevalent w/i our security culture], but there might also be many players who contribute to the 'process' i.e., making decisions (choosing either 'oversee' v 'blindeye' as a policy choice comes to mind). Yet, it could well be that some 'one', and possibly more people/groups of individuals, had as their motivation the desire to bring this to public attention. So, you have a few forces at play, those that might think they are aiding in escalation of the conflict and those that believe they're accomplishing almost anything else.

I really doubt the idea of any sort of single grand conspiracy theory. It just doesn't really seem to fit. Various groups competing for control of resources and 'market' share are also in competition with single issue groups and funds, which are often operating at cross purposes but can wield an enormous amount of political and economic muscle, but one must also include the entire range of potential idealogues, each w/ their own axe. But I think it is fair to recognize the chaos of influences that brought this to a head at this time.
 
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