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SENATE REPORT DETAILS, AMONG OTHER ABUSES, THE USE OF MUSIC TO TORTURE DETAINEES

Music Torture as a real phenomenon has been reconfirmed by the publication this past week of the Senate Report on CIA Torture: “The long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee torture report that was released to the public on Tuesday revealed some horrible physical torture performed by the CIA — waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and sexual assault. But it also detailed the agency's use of ‘sound disorientation techniques,’ as the report calls the music blared at detainees 24 hours a day. One of those was the Blues Brothers' ‘Rawhide.’”

The song is described in an article on music torture, as follows: … " ‘Rolling, rolling, rolling,’ Rawhide begins. … In the Blues Brothers recording, the main vocals are a deep alto with a soulful, upbeat tone ...‘Don't try to understand 'em. Just rope, throw, and brand 'em. Soon we'll be livin' high and wide’ … The song ends with men cheering over the sound of a thrashing whip.”


--Article in Vox: http://www.vox.com/2014/12/11/7375961/cia-torture-music


In a letter to the President and the Justice Department, I am calling for the investigation, indictment and prosecution of those musical works known to have been involved in acts of torture—and for the prosecution of those who approved the plan to use music as torture. The list of musical works will include: Dope: "Die MF Die", "Take Your Best Shot" -- Eminem: "White America", "Kim" -- Barney & Friends: theme song -- Drowning Pool: "Bodies" -- Metallica: "Enter Sandman" -- Meow Mix: commercial jingle. Read here for details regarding the above musical works, and their alleged involvement in torture: http://www.vox.com/2014/12/11/7375961/cia-torture-music


The torture “program” was administered to some alleged terrorists, but also to many civilians having nothing to do with terrorism, and guilty of no known crimes. They were subjected by the CIA to extremely harsh and loud music, played for hours, days, or even weeks on end with no let up. This produced total sleeplessness, mental confusion and psychological break down in numerous cases. The United Nations and the European Court of Human Rights have banned the use of loud music in interrogations. Detailed Information about and analysis of the practice can be gleaned from an article by Suzanne G. Cusick, written for the Journal of the Society of American Music:
http://tinyurl.com/Music-Torture-Cambridge-Jour

For a simpler account, one can read:

http://mic.com/articles/87851/11-popular-songs-the-cia-used-to-tort...

Suzanne G. Cusick writes the following, and poses some questions for us about the practice:

“In my view, the fact that the United States has theorized and deployed music
as a weapon of interrogation is a fact to be faced."

She says this fact will "shift radically" the way that musicians and scholars of music look at their subject. She asks how the weaponization of music will further affect civilian musical practices, and how civilian musical practices have affected the weaponization of music.

Perhaps most importantly she poses the question: When the American public and the musical community become more aware of the facts, will they approve of this use of tax payer money and "condone this use of music done in our name?"

Do members of the “Composers Forum” have any comments, questions or observations to share on the CIA practice of stripping detainees naked, chaining them to the floor in dark rooms (or hanging them from the ceiling) and playing music at “ear-splitting volumes” for hours, days and even weeks on end for the purposes of torture?

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Kristofer, you said, “Perhaps I've just heard enough of the self-loathing, Marxist hand wringing of the suicidally indoctrinated…” etc. ---- I say this to you, Kristofer: Whatever situation brought you to resort to attempts to insult people who disagree with you, I respectfully suggest you take stock. There is no way I can know (just as there is no way you can know very much about me or my background), but you appear to want to fit me personally into some preconceived idea you have about “leftists” or “Anti-Americans” that you have encountered in the past. I cannot say whether your ability to reason is permanently damaged, but you have made the same argument four times, without replying to any of my questions. I speak of the oft repeated “love it or leave it” argument, which you can state as many times as you like, as you do here: “I also note that you provide no explanation, within pages of explanation, for why you would remain in such an immoral empire, when there are much more morally upright and admirable regimes to which you might defect, such as Cuba, North Korea, Iran, or even Congo etc.” ---- You can attempt to rationalize it, as you in fact appear to do: “It's not a ‘love it or leave it’ proposition my part…” ---- Why is not a love or leave it proposition? Do you agree with me that criticism of government policy is not logically equivalent to “disliking” or “hating” or “despising” a country? I asked you before if you thought Thomas Paine should be considered an “America hater,” simply because he was critical of US government policies during the early years of the Republic? No answer. (You know, perhaps, that he was so hated by the self-designated “patriots” that after he died, friends were not permitted to bury his body in the US; a Quaker friend was forced to take him out of the country and have him buried abroad). I would like some acknowledgement that you see criticism of US policies as something distinct from “hatred” of America or its people.

You say, “I believe as an American citizen (if you are), you have every right to feel and express the sentiments that you do here.” ---- I am not quite convinced that you believe I do. You seem to genuinely believe a person who condemns US neo-colonialism and militarism should quit the country, as the necessary logical consequence of his dissent. Depending upon how you analyze my background, parentage, ancestry and connections, I could theoretically be considered a British citizen, an Israeli citizen, a citizen of Belarus or a US citizen—though for practical purposes, I am in fact a US citizen with a US passport. Obtaining UK citizenship would be relatively easy for me. You say, “It's a simple question, one for which are are apparently unable or unwilling to provide a succint, clear answer.” I personally have trouble seeing this as anything more than a non-sequitur or a red herring, which you seem to want to pursue in order to somehow stay in the conversation, while at the same time skirting the actual issue of CIA torture, which you have so far fastidiously avoided.

You must really want an answer, since you have asked the question, in various forms so many times. I don’t really mind replying, though I would like you to return the favor by giving me a “clear and succinct answer” to a question I will ask, about the main topic under discussion.
The simple answer is, “defecting” as you call it, makes no sense in a monopolar world, or even in a multipolar world. That’s a very old fashioned term, applicable only during the period of cold war competition. If I were purely motivated by the desire to find and live in a country which had “the best and most enlightened” social and economic system, I would not live in the US. I don’t think anyone with accurate statistics and good general knowledge of the world would choose to do so, if they were “searching for a just society,” or “utopia,” or even a moderately fair political order. (I don’t know why you keep bringing up the absurd example of North Korea, I never even mentioned it or advocated for it in my life. And Congo? Why Congo?) Logic and Socio-political insight would probably incline a person to choose to live in a country like Denmark, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland or Canada, which always far exceed the US in their social indicators: education level, life expectancy, health care, infant mortality, literacy, income equality, etc. etc. etc. But my goal in life has NEVER BEEN to find the most comfortable country or place to live. My choices in life have been to deliberately live in countries where life would be difficult or challenging. I wanted to go to places outside of North America that have very diverse cultures, different racial demographics, diverse languages, histories and levels of economic development. So I have lived for long periods of time, from one to three years in the following countries: Colombia (South America), the Republic of Turkey (Asia Minor, West Asia), Sri Lanka (South Asia) and China (East Asia) and Scotland. My wife and I did not choose to live in these countries for extended periods out of a “desire to defect,” but out of a yearning to learn about life, history and culture from widely differing perspectives. So I am grateful for having had the opportunities to experience different social existences, meet and know many people, and learn languages, while living in the midst of (1) a Catholic Latin American Neo-colonial dominated Mafiocracy, (2) a Post-Ottoman Quasi Imperial Dictatorship and Mixed Islamic Nation with features of Secular Statism, (3) a Civil War Ridden Buddhist – Hindu “People’s Socialist Democratic Republic” of Sri Lanka with a Singhalese and Tamil cultural divide, and (4) Beijing, the seat of a government with an incongruous blend of totalitarianism, imperialism, and an ideology called “Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping Thought, or Socialism with ‘Chinese’ characteristics.” (I am also grateful for the opportunities I have had to live in Scotland, and to travel for shorter periods in France, Greece, Russia, Bulgaria, Holland, Germany, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica and Venezuela). If I were to “defect,” (out of a desire to please myself and no one else) it might be to France, where I find the intellectual atmosphere and socio-political atmosphere to be more stimulating than in the Anglophone world, in a great many respects. But as I say, my desire has not inclined me simply to live where “life was easiest.” I am in the US right now, but there is no reason why I might not pick up and move to another country, if and when the time is right, or when certain types of opportunities arise. (All my professional time abroad has been spent teaching in secondary private or public schools, or in the University environment). I hope that clarifies my status as a “potential” defector. One Empire or another is more or somewhat less dominant wherever you go; it is not possible to entirely escape “Empire” on Earth, at the present time. (Either “Euro-American Empire,” “Chinese Empire,” the Russian or Indian behemoth, and each one has its own unique and interesting character. One might like to sojourn for considerable time periods in all of these, simply in order to broaden ones outlook, and to understand how different people think). Perhaps you will now consider answering one or two questions I might put to you. Is that a reasonable expectation on my part?

There, then it's settled... henceforth all wars from this day forward

are to be humanitarian which implies a rational compromise to

differences and a battle cry like 'live and let live.'

Hmmm, that could work, as long as no one - loses there head.   RS

Truth needs few words. Obfuscation and lies require many.

Michael, well said......ring !

Michael says, “Truth needs few words. Obfuscation and lies require many.”

That was “well said,” I agree. But in light of previous statements you have made, it seems a bit vacuous. If the truth needs few words, then why don’t you tell us “the truth” as you see it, in a few words. Tell us the truth about torture or about the use of music for the purposes of torture, if you will.

Perhaps the easiest kind of “obfuscation” is to simply ignore the issue.

That appears to me what you are doing. Another rhetorical tactic (used by the supporters of the establishment view) is what Chomsky calls “concision.” Simplify everything, adhere to gross generalizations, refuse to engage in any detailed analysis, insult anyone who does analyze, refuse to address any specifics, and then say (without any willingness to debate or discuss), “Truth needs few words.” And this can be the case even when one has said little or almost nothing.

We may also say, “Lies need few words,” and lies repeated very often can prevail for a time over truth. For instance, the rather subtle lie or half-truth: “We still live in a dangerous world,” repeated over and over by legislators and journalists bought off by or controlled by corporatists. This is shorthand for: “We live in such a terribly dangerous world that any measure is justified against those we designate ‘terrorists,’ including waging endless wars, occupying entire countries, bombing extremists in one country and supporting them financially in another country to suit narrow interests, violating international laws, and abrogating all conventions the US has signed on the inadmissibility of torture.” This lie is made all the more pernicious by the fact that it is the US military that has killed far more people than all the designated anti-US terror groups combined. (Neither Michael nor Kristofer has attempted to address the fact that this amounts to hundreds of thousands or millions versus tens of thousands at most).

So, if the truth itself needs so few words, I will put forward some truths, each one in a few words, and you can respond to them, in a “few words” yourself, or put forward your own “truths.”

1. The chances of anyone being killed in a terrorist attack are less than the chances of being killed by lightening.

2. The chances of anyone being killed in a terrorist attack are less than the chance of being struck by a meteor or asteroid.

3. The chances of anyone being killed in a terrorist attack are less than the chances drowning in your own bathtub.

4. “Terrorism” is not an “existential threat” to the United States, politically, socially or economically.

[See: Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them…by John Mueller.

http://www.c-span.org/video/?195813-1/book-discussion-overblown ]

5. It would be more moral and more effective to treat “terrorist acts” as matters for law enforcement than as justifications for war, widespread torture, renditions and the use of a massive security apparatus that is unaccountable to the public and operates in secrecy.

6. Torture is morally wrong and illegal in all circumstances; there is no exception in international law or national law for “justifiable torture;” and the mixture of deliberate torture and haphazard “enhanced interrogation techniques” has undermined US moral credibility and US security.

7. The use of music as part of the torture regime of the US is immoral, and should be condemned by any musician, composer or performer of music who has even a rudimentary conscience.

Now you can say, “truth requires few words,” of course. Each of these statements is relatively short, and contains relatively few words. Let us see, Michael, what truths, or true statements you can put forward (in a few words) about any of these statements 1-7, or about torture, or the use of music as a part of torture techniques, as detailed in the Senate Report on the CIA use of torture.

I would suggest the possibility that your previous post was itself not “true,” but a lie, in the sense of being a “lie of omission,” since you omit any discussion of the topics at hand. But you may contest that, if you like.

Headline: Taliban massacres 132 school children.

Would you have approved of torture if it could have stopped this? I would, any kind, whatever it took. Maybe it wouldn't have worked. But those children will surely have been butchered if you didn't at least try.

Hello Kristofer,

I gave you a fairly detailed answer to the question you posed. You asked why I had not “defected” to another country. I concluded my post, “Perhaps you will now consider answering one or two questions I might put to you … ?” You did not reply. Based on your last post, I am not sure you even read my answer. You said nothing about my response which was written purely to satisfy your curiosity about my personal circumstances. (I had no objection to the request. Answers to such queries can humanize the conversation and make it less abstract and general. Sharing individual background information may greatly benefit the overall discussion).

May I ask you a question now, a personal one? Since you asked a personal question about my life choices, and since I did answer you in good faith.

I don’t want to imply at this point that you are not answering any of my questions. You did say, “Yes, OK. I acknowledge that you have won the argument. I concede…” [You are joking, I know.] “It is simply reprehensible that the US military should treat enemy combatants harshly or disrespectfully, nor should they be allowed to keep them up past their bedtime, nor make them sad and uncomfortable by playing loud and annoying music.” … “In fact, I will go further and recommend that we treat them with precisely the same level of courtesy and compassion with which they have treated captured Americans and Brits in their custody.”

Of course, you are being sarcastic, and you know very well that the CIA has done more than keep detainees up “past their bedtimes.” (As to what the US military has done, mostly they have killed hundreds of thousands of Arabs and Muslims, in wars waged largely on false pretexts—and we would need another special report to detail all the torture tactics used by the US military and military intelligence. That’s an additional topic, which is outside and beyond the scope of the recent Senate Report on CIA Torture).

[Incidentally, here is the full report that was released, or at least, the “executive summary,” that Diane Feinstein and the Senate Intelligence Committee released.

http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/study2014/sscistudy1.pdf

It’s almost 500 pages, including footnotes and blacked out sections. Release of the full 6,000 pages of details of the atrocities is still pending and under consideration].

[The shorter article on using Music for the purposes of torture is only 26 pages:
http://tinyurl.com/ciamusictorture ]

What the CIA has done, in addition to keeping people up past their bedtimes (and simply “playing loud music,” and “making them sad,” as you say) is detailed in the report, in the article from the Journal of the Society for American Music, and in some articles accessible via links I posted. I am not sure you have read much about it, or are aware of precisely what was done, otherwise, I don’t think you would belittle it, or minimize the severity of the torture, euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” You may correct me, if I am wrong, if you are aware of, and have read, many of the detailed accounts of the horrific nature of the tortures used by the CIA against detainees. I would not blame you if you had not since they are not pleasant reading.

But, for the moment, I would prefer to go back to the “personal,” and restate my request, that I be permitted to ask you a question of the type you asked me, a question about life choices and the formation of attitudes, over the years—and I would like to know if I may reasonably expect an answer such as I gave you, and such as you may wish to formulate.

Without my denigrating your views, and without you denigrating mine, we may come to a greater appreciation of each other’s perspectives. Perhaps we can do this, if we put aside the broader ideological and political generalizations for the moment, and just allow ourselves to impart such background information as may generate some mutual personal understanding. We might come to comprehend a few of the individual circumstances that have led us to think as we do.

Of course, you are free to refuse to answer, if you think the question is unreasonable or too personal, or inappropriate in some way.

In the meantime, what do you think of

Henri Dutilleux - Symphonie n° 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhcHRS3NIcI

I am listening to it now. I have read that Henri Dutilleux is a rather underrated composer, gaining ground. Somewhat modern, but not pantonal or especially avant-garde, perhaps a few steps beyond Honneger, harmonically, but no more “experimental” than Bartok, at least in this work. I have heard a fair amount about him, but this is the first time I have listened to him carefully. I assure everyone, it’s nothing like the musical fare presented on “Hee Haw.”

Thank you Michael for bringing up the issue of the recent atrocity in Peshawar.

I have followed the story closely and just watched a discussion on Indian Television, where Pakistanis and Indians debated the implications of this horrific event in the context of “terrorism” and Indo-Pakistani relations. If you have a genuinely strong interest in the story, and wish to explore it further, you can watch the same show:

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/the-buck-stops-here/peshawar-massa...

I am bit disappointed, however, Michael, that once again you seem to be dodging the questions I ask you. When was the last time you answered one? As to your question, it is easy to answer. You asked me,

“Would you have approved of torture if it could have stopped this? I would, any kind, whatever it took. Maybe it wouldn't have worked. But those children will surely have been butchered if you didn't at least try…”

Michael, I seriously wonder if you know anything at all about the situation in Pakistan, or in South Asia in general, when you ask a question like that. I would like to know how many books you have read about South Asian politics, how often you watch South Asian media, and how many people (from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives) you have talked to about this issue. If you just watch US television (and please tell me that you don’t only watch US mainstream TV news), then you will get only the perspective they want you to get, which is “See, ‘they’ are bad people, so everything the US does in a ‘war on terror,’ is justified.”

So let us look specifically at YOUR QUESTION:

“Would you have approved of torture if it could have stopped this?”

Michael, the premise underlying the question is false. The Pakistani military and intelligence establishment (heavily funded and aided by the US) HAS FOR YEARS AND YEARS CONSTANTLY TORTURED Taliban prisoners, and prisoners of all political hues, in a systematic and brutal way which even puts the CIA to shame. I am quite sure the ISI has used torture for almost every purpose under the sun, including the effort to uncover Taliban plots. What has been the result? Do you think Pakistan’s use of systematic torture has done any good overall or prevented any atrocities? If you have any evidence showing that it has, I would love to see it. The conclusions and facts contained in the Senate Report on CIA torture would appear to indicate the reverse of what you are suggesting is true. (Have you read the report, or parts of it yet? I posted the link above, in a message written for Kristofer, if you would like to look at it).

Logic would suggest that the more you torture your political opponents, the more rebellion you foment, the less accurate your information, the more opposition you generate, and the less trust there is in state institutions. If the current condition of Pakistani politics and civil institutions does not prove that, then I don’t know what does. Pakistan has used systematic torture since the foundation of the nation in 1947, almost without let up. The main result appears to have been to add to the political and social chaos. (Watch the show I linked, and you will see just the tip of the iceberg which renders Pakistan almost ungovernable).

We don’t even need to go deeply into the fact that the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban were originally supported by the Pakistani Secret Intelligence Agency (ISI), with US and Saudi Arabian financial backing initially, and they were an offshoot of the US effort to support extremist fundamentalists in the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. This is the famed “Blowback” which has occurred, and which keeps occurring, and it has been going on since 1980. No one seems to know how to “put the genii back in the bottle.” The very widespread use of torture, regional wars in Waziristan and Afghanistan, endless wars against Arabs and Muslims, and drone strikes in the region (and in Yemen and Somalia) don’t seem to solve or address the problem. They make it worse, as the rise of ISIS demonstrates.

Okay, so once again, I have at least attempted to answer your question, Michael. Now will you go back to my last post, and answer my question about “truths” that can be stated in “a few words?”

Or would you be willing to take up the challenge, or rather, the more friendly opportunity I am offering Kristofer, and answer a question I might ask, of a personal nature. I might like to ask why or how you have arrived at the particular place you have in life, in connection with life choices you have made that may affect or have had a bearing on your views. I might like to pose a question to you, as Kristofer did to me (asking me why I have not “defected” to another country).











michael diemer said:

Headline: Taliban massacres 132 school children.

Would you have approved of torture if it could have stopped this? I would, any kind, whatever it took. Maybe it wouldn't have worked. But those children will surely have been butchered if you didn't at least try.

Ondib, a question for you...

How in your view were the German people responsible

for the atrocities of Hitler?

As I tried to point out earlier, the US gov't. has been

hi-jacked. The 'sheeple' as they've come to be known,

are all too slowly waking up to this TRUTH.

I hear that there are people working to correct this

and much is in the works to eradicate this menace

from their control over freedom and life on the planet.

I don't believe anyone here wants to resort to torture

but again, real war is not a game to be lost by 'playing nice'. 

ps- a thesis on the symptoms doe's not necessarily shed any

light on the hidden source of the problem, nor doe's it solve anything. RS

. . .
Hello Roger,

You use the word “symptom.”

I saw a bumber sticker today that said, “Terrorism is a symptom of a greater problem.” Another one said, “War is terrorism.” On the same car I saw a sticker that said, “Music is the answer.”

Perhaps these are illustrations of the point made by Michael: “Truth can be stated in a few words.” These are the sorts of truths to lead me be glad that some people believe less money should be spent on war, on torture, media lies, and that more should be spent on music and the arts.

You asked, “How in your view were the German people responsible
for the atrocities of Hitler?”

Those Germans who ordered the atrocities and those who committed the atrocities were responsible for them; those who did not, and those who did not applaud them and advocate them were not responsible. I do not hold “the entire German people” responsible for the crimes of Hitler and his government. (Although Milgram’s experiment does seem to indicate that 60 percent of white middle class males will, if ordered by authorities to torture or kill someone, will do so—provided they are given the power to do so, and the authority is fairly persistent and persuasive).

https://explorable.com/stanley-milgram-experiment

“As I tried to point out earlier, the US gov't. has been
hi-jacked.”

I agree with you on that point, more or less.

“The 'sheeple' as they've come to be known,
are all too slowly waking up to this TRUTH.”

I prefer not to refer to human beings as “sheeple,” simply because we have not yet reached the point where genetic engineering can be used to cross breed sheep and people. Also, I think most US citizens are very aware of that the government has been hijacked by special interests, and they feel helpless and overworked and unable to do anything about it, for the most part.

“I hear that there are people working to correct this
and much is in the works to eradicate this menace
from their control over freedom and life on the planet.”

Yes, I am sure that is true.

“I don't believe anyone here wants to resort to torture…”

Some do, some don’t. Each person can state his or her own opinion on the matter.

“… real war is not a game to be lost by 'playing nice'.”

I am not exactly sure of the meaning of that observation, or what it means in the context of this conversation. Those who wage war can “play the game,” as you put it ‘as nicely’ or as viciously as they wish, and the more viciously they play, on either side—or on both sides—the more the cycle of mutual harm escalates. Furthermore, if one side plays the “game” more viciously than the other, that in no way guarantees a victory.

“a thesis on the symptoms doe's not necessarily shed any
light on the hidden source of the problem, nor doe's it solve anything.”

As far as I know, the only way to solve a problem is to analyze its causes and then to discover the remedy, based on a careful analysis of the causes. Of course, no human problem has a “solution.” (If you want a “solution,” go to a chemist, says one British diplomat). Human disagreements, conflicts and crises have to be “managed” rather than solved.



roger stancill said:

Ondib, a question for you...

How in your view were the German people responsible

for the atrocities of Hitler?

As I tried to point out earlier, the US gov't. has been

hi-jacked. The 'sheeple' as they've come to be known,

are all too slowly waking up to this TRUTH.

I hear that there are people working to correct this

and much is in the works to eradicate this menace

from their control over freedom and life on the planet.

I don't believe anyone here wants to resort to torture

but again, real war is not a game to be lost by 'playing nice'. 

ps- a thesis on the symptoms doe's not necessarily shed any

light on the hidden source of the problem, nor doe's it solve anything. RS

Kristofer.  Hello.

I am trying to ask you one very specific question.  I hope you don’t mind.

Recall that you asked me a personal question, about my life choices and how I have lived my life.

You asked me why I did not “defect” to another country, and I did answer you.

I am attempting now to ask you whether you will reciprocate.  Will you permit me to ask you a personal question about how you have lived your life and choices you have made? I am talking about a question in a similar vein to the one you asked me, which I have not quite formulated yet.

Will you be willing to respond to the question I ask, as I responded to yours?

[P.S.  I will watch the video you provided the link for, and respond to that later, today or tomorrow.]

“In light of the most recent brutal slaughter of 132 innocent children cited by Michael, I will happily correct you.”

I don’t know if you can correct “me,” but if you want to correct one of the statements I made, feel free. You might want to say WHICH statement you are correcting. Your desire to correct seems to outrun your ability focus exactly on what it is you wish correct. Please try to be precise.

Regarding your failure to read the Senate Report on CIA torture of detainees, (1) with ear-splitting music for days on end, (2) with “rectal feeding,” (3) with extreme temperatures (inducing hypothermia with the result of causing death), and (4) with other methods almost too numerous to mention, you said, “If I fail to read it, it is merely through an avoidance of the sheer tedium of doing so.”

So which of the following statements is true for you:
1) I find it too tedious to read about US torture operations.
2) I find it too tedious to read about the hundreds of thousands or millions killed by US military operations.
3) I find it too tedious to read about US efforts to overthrow governments for the sake of narrow national interests.
4) I find it too tedious to read about US citizens killed by Muslims and Arabs.

It appears to me that you find 1, 2 and 3 “too tedious,” but I am not sure about #4. I would guess that you do NOT find that kind of reading so disagreeable. Please tell me if my guess is correct. A simple yes or no can answer the question, though you should feel free to elaborate and explain away any apparent contradiction.

You said, “Islam continues to elucidate the nature of Islam, through such atrocities.”

Are you suggesting that people who claim to practice Islam commit atrocities? No doubt. Just as people who claim to be “Christians,” (ie, George W. Bush), order, foster and command wars that result in atrocities on monumental scales. The main difference is that, in the case of G.W. Bush’s war on Iraq, the numbers killed total in the hundreds of thousands, if not numbers greater than one million. I notice you have never contested the figure.
Certainly, killing 200 children, or even 20, is inexcusable. The excuse given was, “you killed our children, so we are going to kill yours.”

Unfortunately, Bush’s wars killed well over 100,000 innocent children. You might say, that was “collateral” damage, or that it wasn’t “deliberate.” I think that is small consolation to the mothers and fathers of those children. Anyone with half a brain knows that waging “shock and awe” and massive bombing campaigns over cities is inevitably bound to kill huge numbers of civilian men, women and children. So what was G.W. Bush’s excuse? Was it “you killed our children so we will kill yours?” No. (Though I do think some of the public were falsely led to believe that Saddam had something to do with 9-11). Bush did say, “You tried to kill my Daddy.” But was the real reason something so bland or commonplace.? Officially it was “We want to destroy your weapons of mass destruction” (by unleashing OUR weapons of mass destruction on your population), or “we want to make Iraq into a democracy” (even though a Sunni dictatorship was essentially replaced by a Shia dictatorship, and even though equally backward or more backward dictatorships were—and still are—supported in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE, and Bahrain).

These are the facts of US foreign policy, aside from, or in addition to any “carefully selected minutiae” (or what some people might call “evidence”) on the general issue.

Now if you have any “evidence,” or “carefully selected minutiae,” or even poorly selected minutiae, I am willing to look at it. By the way, how should we qualify or describe the video you provided ? Should we call that “carefully selected,” or “haphazardly selected” minutiae, or some other type?

Given that the video purportedly shows Muslims throwing rocks at Christians, then (for the sake of balance—which I agree we should have) how do we compare acts of rock throwing to the actual dropping of bombs by “Christians” on Muslims, which results in the death of countless thousands?

My main point is the US has no logical reason to go half way around the world to annihilate human beings in large numbers and lay waste to entire nations (Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc.). I don’t condone any atrocities committed by Muslims, either—you have never seen me do that here. I just note that Arabs and Muslims, at this point, seem either unwilling or unable to kill on the scale that the US military does. If ALL MUSLIMS were as evil as your remarks appear to imply, then the US would be rocking from day to day from a series of car bombings, assassinations, stabbings, beheadings, suicide attacks and so on (not merely from a stone throwing that hasn’t even been widely publicized. Was anyone injured? … let’s talk about rock throwings … since you bring it up …”

Have you ever seen a public stone throwing? I have. But only once. I saw it in our nation’s capital. It was when I attended a protest against the “Victory Parade” in Washington D.C. after the first Iraq War, waged by Daddy Bush. My small group of about eight or nine protesters was pelted with stones by right wing supporters of US militarism, merely for peacefully asserting the war was wrong. Presumably these US guardians of national honor were not Muslims, so I don’t think Muslims in the US have now, or have ever had in past US history, a monopoly over “stone throwing,” nor did they need any Koranic sanction for their decision to resort to violence. I was hit several times by stones. Several burly six foot or taller men had the courage to chase down a short female member of our protest group, while throwing stones at her, and they possessed the sheer strength to steal the flag she was carrying and then destroy it—which I thought was rather an odd move for people defending “patriotism”. In answer to one of the protest signs, which asked, “HOW MANY IRAQI DEAD,” the conservative refrain of those who saw the sign was “NOT ENOUGH!” This was at about the time it had been revealed that the US saw fit not only to drive Saddam’s troops out of Kuwait, but to follow them well into the country and slaughter well in excess of 200,000 troops in retreat. Saddam’s forces had killed an estimated 700 people during the invasion of Kuwait. Well, I guess “we” showed “them.” The sad thing is, the Russians were proposing to broker a simultaneous withdrawal of Saddam’s troops from Kuwait, if Israel would withdraw completely from Palestinian occupied territories, which seemed reasonable, since Israel was actually in violation of more UN Security Council Resolutions than Iraq was at the time. But the Russians had “lost” the cold war by then, and the US, France, and UK didn’t even want to entertain the idea. So, it was “war.”).

If you have any similar or alternative personal stories about rock throwing in the US, or war, please feel free to share them. Muslim rock throwing is not something I condone, of course; but I don’t think White Anglo Saxon Protestant rock throwing is such a good thing either. I would say, both are wrong.

Do you consider that to be an even-handed view?

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