Thursday, April 23, 2009

Torture cost us the life of one US soldier

A sad, sad story was just posted on Huff Post.

Torture makes us safer?

In this case, it cost us the life of one young woman whose death and manner of death were buried for years. Her life and her thoughts about what she was being asked to do eradicated with one stroke of a marker.

I. am. simply. appalled.

Anyone who gets in front of a camera and says stupid shit like this
deserves to get a first-hand experience with these so-called "interrogation techniques." Kit Bond uses the future-perfect-ridiculous-tense in his argument: "Do we want to see GOP members prosecuting people who [will have] carried out orders from the Obama Administration?"

If this dude can see that far into the future, he needs to call Dionne Warwick and start up that psychic friends network again.

I don't know about you, but I cannot live peacefully knowing that that black marker forever removed (and denied) the existence of a young soldier having a crisis of conscience.

And whose hand was it that so easily interred her life? Blotted out her name from records and reports? Are those the marks we want to represent this nation? Are people nothing more than names to be smudged out?

What is the value of a human being? Apparently not very much...

Sad. Just so so so sad.

Update: I just found another case
Why the eff isn't the media talking about these specific cases? Americans need to know about these people; we need to know their stories just as much as we need to see their flag draped caskets coming off of the transport plane.


Aliceson April 23, 2009 at 5:19 PM  

That is an incredibly sad story.

What good can come of these horrendous torure "techniques?"

A World Quite Mad April 23, 2009 at 5:44 PM  

Unless it wasn't really a suicide and someone made it look like one for some reason, like maybe she was going to talk. Just sayin'. There was a whole lot of covering up going on around there, from the bottom to the top.

Yet one more injustice to add to the list that just keeps growing.

Anonymous,  April 23, 2009 at 5:47 PM  

Another cover up. God forbid they ever let us have a clue what they do in our name.

Banana Republic? The man is out of it. You would never have war crimes investigations and trials in a banana republic. These people are really making me sick between this and the ism of the day.

It pains me to think of that poor young girl.

Thais was an amazing post Skye as always.

skyewriter April 23, 2009 at 5:51 PM  

As I was reading this it did cross my mind that she may not have been the one to pull the trigger.

It was rather too convenient that her notebook was found next to her body... blackened out of course.

Thanks WQM for stopping by and commenting. I tried to comment on your blog but the blogger gods won't let me? I even tried openid. Your blog is great.

As ever, thanks Cathy for the great insight and the compliment.

Unknown April 23, 2009 at 5:57 PM  

Wow. Its sad to admit, but I am not surprised. And I have a feeling this is not the first or the last time this kind of thing happened or will happen.

Sad post, skyewriter. But an important one.

Unknown April 23, 2009 at 6:00 PM  

"The official probe of her death would later note that earlier she had been "reprimanded" for showing "empathy" for the prisoners. One of the most moving parts of the report, in fact, is this: "She said that she did not know how to be two people; she ... could not be one person in the cage and another outside the wire."

In other words, Alyssa could not compartmentalize this *necessary evil [note sarcasm] in the cage and pretend nothing was wrong with this behavior outside the cage. Had there been more people of that level of integrity in the military, I might still be wearing the uniform. I did serve with some good people. But the operative word was [some]. What a waste of talent. An Arabic Interpreter, a Psychology Graduate, another one of our Female Best and Brightest Eaten by the Beast.

I like you Skye, wonder what else happened there. A Head Shrinker killing themselves? Yea that makes perfect sense. Are you sure she didnt know too much, I mean after all she was an interpreter and she wasn't "Playing the Game," as they say. Things that make me go Hmmmm that is for sure. Gosh I guess we know why England participated with such abandon. Maybe they let her live.

Anonymous,  April 23, 2009 at 6:09 PM  

Wow. I agree seeing eye chick. As an interpreter I wonder what she heard from detainees that her superiors didn't want to hear? Maybe that they didn't know anything? Please stop hurting me? Please don't threaten my family?

The GOP is pre-emptively calling the immanent investigation of these memos "a witch hunt."

Sickos. It isn't about the torture for them. It's about protecting themselves.

Just sick.

Unknown April 23, 2009 at 6:24 PM  

The GOP has literally been Hunting Witches, they ought to know. After what they did to our Pagan Brethren in the military over the Headstone issue, which did irrefutably come straight from Shrubya himself--well, that is just one more brick in the wall now aint it.

This is fucking unbelievable. Right up there with the skyrocketing rape reports coming from the Iraq and Afghanistan theatres--from our own female soldiers.

So much wrong. So twisted and shaming. I can only hope that things will change for the better soon and that a new order be instituted in our armed services regarding proper comportment.

I remember when the UCMJ used to actually mean something--Wearing of the uniform and all that.

Anonymous,  April 23, 2009 at 6:35 PM  

I hate to admit it but I was unaware of the headstone issue (google is a great thing). Not surprising is that it didn't seem to make the nightly news, huh? If you are not a Christian in this country you are not "endowed by the creator inalienable rights." Read creator as "a Christian perspective only."

I have said it before-- I learn so much from skyewriter and all those who comment here.

skyewriter April 23, 2009 at 6:41 PM  

I cannot even begin to imagine the number of cases like this the American public does not know about.

Hell, they only recently started letting the press cover soldiers' final journey home to Dover.

Americans aren't children. Our people in uniform are our fellow country-women and men. We deserve to know the price they pay for serving-- and the lack of proper mental and health care they receive upon their return to the states.

I hope change is coming, too, Seeing Eye. Too many soldiers have suffered in silence. I hope Alyssa's story will give others the courage to stand by their convictions.

Sidhe April 23, 2009 at 9:16 PM  

These stories are very sad. I mentioned in another post that each branch has core values. That the core values of our military have been eroded from the top down is disheartening. I'm not naive enough to think that this is a relatively novel occurrence. I have witnessed and even been the victim of "bullying from above" but have chosen my battles and been fortunate not to encounter the ethical dilemmas of the two Soldiers mentioned in your post. Col. Westhusing wrote about the loss of trust, I think that is very important. Military people have to have absolute trust in one another. We simply do not have the luxury of watching our own backs and that is why the erosion of trust is so damaging to military personnel, when you shift your focus from the mission to wondering which "buddy" is going to stab you in the back you've lost all effectiveness as a war-fighter. Col. Westhusing also talks about people being concerned only with their own promotion, another huge problem. As you progress up the ranks your focus is "supposed" to move from yourself and turn to your subordinates, in fact your success is measured by the success of the personnel that you lead. This stuff really, really pisses me off.

P.S. I recently saw a story that claimed that too much attention was being paid to the TBIs and mental health incidences in returning service personnel. WTF?

Unknown April 23, 2009 at 9:19 PM  

I would like to posit an idea. England was on the low end of the Totem Pole. An enlisted person who followed orders--and since Rice gave the orders, then that means England followed lawful orders. Is she in Jail?

If so, England may have a plausible case against the government for wrongful imprisonment, and scapegoating, and consipiracy--defamation, pain and suffering. Things that happen to people in jail--bad. England went to a military prison last I heard--and um, yea, not as a popular silent hero, but as a female torturer who endangered her fellow comrades with her [at the time--seemingly] unmilitary comportment. Would her case have merit with the ACLU or even Amnesty International or some other group. Maybe her case needs to be reopened. Already her commander is claiming vindication for the recent press releases concerning the Chain of the Command and the lawfulness of the orders. I mean no one countermands THE Commander and Chief--i.e., the President who is THE head of the military.

1. Are there other similar cases such as Alyssa's--This is a question that demands to be answered.

2. Was her death--Alyssa's properly investigated, all the facts ferreted out, even if they might have provided a harsh pronouncement against the military and the Bush Regime?

3. What do her parents and friends say? Was she a person prone to Suicidal Ideations prior to wearing of the uniform or being sent to the Middle East?

The Alyssa story smells bad--and by virtue of the subject matter and the location makes related stories smell bad too. Something Aint Right here.

This is one of those times when an independent investigation might be a worthy endeavor along with a few thousand FOIA filings, and a Fact Finding Mission, among other things.

Even if this story is as the Huffington Post reports--and no more, the implications are astounding. To commit acts of torture so grotesque and so against the morality of service members in what I will [assume for now} was Army Psy-Ops, is pretty fucking harsh. These people aren't trained with new age fuzzy tactics. So this has to be bad. Maybe even worse than the photos released during the England Case.

Dr. Jay SW April 23, 2009 at 9:50 PM  

Gotta admit, hearing what some of these right wing politicians and talk radio hosts have to say on the subject, I'm starting to think torture might be a good thing after all--as long as it's only used on right wing politicians and talk show hosts who advocate torture....

Seriously...when people are reprimanded for showing empathy for a person being tortured...good god...

Anonymous,  April 23, 2009 at 11:22 PM  

This is one of those push button issues for me. However, I just finished burning off all of my stress of the day at the gym.... so, I'll have to come back to this one a bit later.

Unknown April 24, 2009 at 6:40 AM  

I think somewhat better disclosure is in store for us with Obama, but the Ted Westhusing story, as sad as it is, is just one of the many thousands that have resulted from this terrible mistake. Does anyone think Afghanistan is any different?

"RIP Ted Westhusing, and everyone else who has given their lives in this farce...RIP."

Unknown April 24, 2009 at 6:44 PM  

Sidhe and I could trade "war" stories it seems. I cannot believe some people think too much attention is being paid to vets with PTSD and TBI. Its no big deal til you find out how many of them you interact with in your life.

These people will be entering the regular work force again, and the issue will keep arising on its own as a result of that alone, though I am sure many other situations will also push it back up to the surface over and over again.

I am sure the same people bitch about the Rape States Skyrocketing, that is being covered repeatedly over the last few years in the service.

Anonymous,  April 29, 2009 at 8:16 PM  

Honestly, every person how tortures, or is tortured, dies. It is not a physical death, but the death of a persons heart and soul, can cause their physical death.

Torture does not give useful information, only that which one wants to hear.

skyewriter April 29, 2009 at 8:32 PM  

Pretty much what I wrote on here on this blog April 22, malakh-abaddon.

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