Torture Strategy

March 19th, 2006

Seeing the latest images from the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq reminded me, once again, why every American soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is considered a legitimate military target by those countries’ resistance movements. Keep in mind that the situation in Bagram/Afghanistan is even worse as nobody – except for the Red Cross – was allowed to see the prison from the inside. How many innocent people were killed in there with the help of the Karzai government?

The message the American government tries to convey doesn’t make sense when it claims that those torturing orgies were the deeds of a few individuals that ran out of control. Apparently there’s a scheme behind this as every U.S. military prison, be it Abu Ghraib, Bagram or Guantanamo, has “a few individuals” that permanently run “out of control”. In addition to that it fits into the strategy that the Strategic Command (STRATCOM) has carefully worded in one of its investigations in 1995 called “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence” (PDF-Document), which actually refers to the U.S. nuclear strategy in a post-cold war world – but still relates to this very same idea of acting unpredictable and being irrational:

“Because of the value that comes from the ambiguity of what the U.S. may do to an adversary if the acts we seek to deter are carried out, it hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed…”
[…]
“The fact that some elements may appear to be potentially “out of control” can be beneficial to creating and reinforcing fears and doubts within the minds of an adversary’s decision makers. This essential sense of fear is the working force of deterrence. That the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be a part of the national persona we project to all adversaries.”

To put it another way: just because the “Axis of Good” is bombing the middle-east and Afghanistan into a nicely levelled, peaceful, McDonalds parking-lot it doesn’t mean that they’re acting democratically – according to their self-conception.

… reminds me of what pacifists say: “Fighting for peace is like f4v”.

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