Wednesday, July 02, 2008

They Don't Even Plagarize From the Best

This really isn't big fucking news. In The Torture Team, Philippe Sands explains in great detail how the current techniques of American Torture were mostly cribbed from the SERE training from the Armed Forces. As someone who went through SERE, let me speak from experience. It was sadistic bullshit run by sick fucking bullies. It was some real REMF puke sons of bitches getting their jollies off by acting like a bunch of swaggering pieces of shit. It accomplished jack fucking shit. It didn't train anybody in any kind of knowledge except that there were a lot of pissant low rent bastards who wore the same uniforms as us. Fuck SERE. Fuck their instructors. Fuck the shitheel dog breathed pissants who thought it up, fuck the horse they rode in on, the mail they carry, and the stamps they sell. It was nothing but a waste of time.

Oh, and by the way, it was developed to combat the torture leading to False Confessions that was done by the Communist Chinese, the North Koreans, and the Vietnamese.

Still, it was fucking bullshit. Worthless fucking bullshit.

Now, we find that our own Dear Leader did not take George Washington as his guide for Commander-In-Chief. Washington hated torture and absolutely forbade it. George Washington insisted that the Continental Army treat its prisoners with dignity and the honor that is due to fellow soldiers. George W. Bush didn't take MacArthur for his guide. Bush didn't model his policy toward prisoners on the policies of Grant, Lincoln, Pershing, Eisenhower, Marshall, or Patton. No, George W. Bush thinks that all those great Americans were stupid, weak pansies. He models his policy on the deeds of Mao Zedong

He doesn't even have the stones to model the best. Consider Tomás de Torquemada. Now that motherfucker knew how to fucking torture! He got folks, mostly women, or people of property that he wanted the fucking property, to confess to all kinds of beautiful stuff. Dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight, fucking demons, blowing goats just like Mickey Kause.

Tomás de Torquemada could get anybody to say anything and did. One of his most pure expressions of mercy was to promise to strangle the penitents before the fires were lit to save them from the horrors of burning and then not do that.

Who says he didn't have a wickedly sophisticated sense of humor on top of everything else?

I thought I had exceeded my limits of outrage and disgust with the current state of affairs in this country.

I. Was. Wrong.

I don't even want to know what's next.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've given up on wondering how low this administration can take us. What a disgrace.

And now we have asshole pundits blowing hard about how this is keeping us "safe."

11:35 AM  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


As for army sere the key element was to instill in the trainee the ability to become passive and non- threatening to his captors. It's difficult to instill this concept into highly aggressive soldiers.

The army sere school was pioneered by nick rowe of "Five Years to Freedom" fame. My knowledge of the school was that it incorporated professionals from the psychological fields on a ratio basis to the number of students. It's now obvious that these mental health pros and medical personnel aided and assisted in the torture of enemy combatants. And this is not a good thing.

i enjoyed and endorse the verbiage of this post (does your mother know you use these words?)


11:52 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i learned a lot of those words from mom.

11:58 AM  
Blogger jurassicpork said...

"Evade", huh? Well, I guess McCain didn't learn his lesson, now did he? Or maybe it was because the Hanoi Hilton just had kick-ass rice that was worth staying for five years.

1:34 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

not to defend an arrogant flyboy prick like mcCain in any sense of the word, but he was totally fucked up by his ejection gear. busted shoulder, busted leg, busted arms. motherfucker had to be rescued by the vietnamese peasants. needless to say, they weren't too happy to see his napalm dropping ass so they fucked him up worse. he pretty much had the crap kicked out of him all the way to hanoi.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

i think, out of everything this administration has done, the one thing that makes me want to weep and scream and call down the fates is the fact that we torture.

everything else is awful enough but to know that america sanctions and carries out torture just slices into my spirit.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not sure MacArthur is a good guide for p.o.w. treatment...i don't think he ever had many p.o.w.'s, if you know what i mean...

3:21 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

publicly MacArthur's policy was the same policy he would have promulgated as superintendant of west point.

in practice, the pacific was a very bitterly fought contest. there were few prisoners on any side.

MacArthur did however, absolutely despise bullshit cruelty. shooting prisoners, OK, understandable most of the time. torturing before shooting?

not acceptable in under the code.

3:31 PM  
Blogger BadTux said...

You have more reason to be disgusted by this than a whole lot of folks. I was disgusted by it but sort of expected it given the way that things are going in Soviet America, where the worst aspects of the Soviet system -- internal passports, internal spying to detect dissidents and subversives, goons arbitrarily stopping people and asking for "your papers please", etc. -- but you're actually old enough to remember when the Americans were the good guys. I came of age politically during the Reagan era, when it was clear that the U.S. was behind a lot of evil shit going on, like the Contra drug dealers hooking the L.A. ghettos on crack with CIA backing when they weren't busy stealing chickens and slaughtering peasants in Nicaragua, or Jolly Ollie selling anti-tank missiles to the Iranians (BTW, improved Iranian clones of those anti-tank missiles were recently used to take out Israeli tanks in Lebanon... great work, Republicans!). But you're old enough to remember when America was the good guys. Maybe the good guys on the side of bad guys in a wrong war, but at least not just completely evil. And you remember when America was getting better, not worse.

But ever since That Bastard Richard Nixon, things have been going the wrong way here in America. I'm not seeing much hope that it'll get any better soon. Even when the average American lives like the average Mexican, starving and destitute in vast ghettos outside of gleaming citadels of the rich, the average American will still shout "U S A! U S A! We're Number One!" and claim that the U.S. is the bestest nation on the planet right before he keels over from starvation and lack of health care...

- Badtux the Pessimistic Penguin

3:39 PM  
Blogger FDChief said...

It doesn't surprise me, MB. We had a couple of Recon types who came back from SERE school in the 80's whose opinion matched yours exactly. I asked one, a medic I'd worked with at EFMB, what he'd learned, and his reply was "Well, I now know exactly how many times somebody can hit me upside the head before I go off on his piece of shit ass."

The messed up part of this is how clueless do you have to be to figure out that this isn't going to get you a lot of good intel? I mean, we've got whole freaking volumes on interrogations going all the way back to WW2. This jolly sadist shit works, sometimes, for a short time, until the word leaks out back to the enemy - and it always does. Then you just make it harder on the line doggies who have to kill every swinging richard just like our people in the Pacific did against the Japanese.

To reuse the falous quote: it was worse than a crime. It was a mistake."

3:57 PM  
Blogger FDChief said...

...famous quote. I csn tpe god

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a small world and it smells bad
Id buy another if I had
What I paid
For another motherfucker in a motorcade
Vision thing

4:09 PM  
Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

hiya. i gave you an ARTE Y PICO award for blogging. i don't know how to link(old and slow, i am but...)

anyway, if you want, you can stop at my blog and read it. thanks


4:25 PM  
Blogger Bukko Boomeranger said...

YEH! Anonymous -- great lyrics from Sisters of Mercy, for those who aren't into Goth bands. It was a song about Bush the First, FWIW.

As for the torture, don't forget that it will eventually be used on Americans. Those REMFs and mercenaries who are doing it to foreigners in other lands now? They're still going to be alive when the U.S. has to tuck its tail between its legs and slink out of the occupation zones when the impending economic implosion hits. They'll go back to their jobs as police officers, prison guards, or just husbands/fathers to rebellious spouses/children. THEY'LL KNOW HOW TO KEEP THEM IN LINE, GODDAMIT!

Yes, the SERE training will come home in ways that people never dreamt...

4:33 PM  
Blogger BadTux said...

You think it ain't already happenin in our prisons and jails here in America? For example, one of the ways that third world dictatorships torture their political prisoners is to smash all their teeth out. One of the ways that California prisons torture their political prisoners (for that is what drug war prisoners are, political prisoners, guilty of nothing but selling substances that our politicians don't want sold because they don't provide sufficient profit for Big Pharma) is to... require them to have all their teeth extracted before they're allowed to participate in community release programs that may allow them to see their children.

And don't even talk to me about the lady who collapsed and died at a NYC psychiatric hospital and lay there on the floor for hours before someone finally judged her and realized she was dead.

And the rampant use of prison rape as a disciplinary measure.

And the rampant use of cattle prods, stun guns, and tasers to herd the prisoners around.

And the almost universal deprivation of basic medical care to prisoners, to the point where a disgusted federal judge has threatened to take the whole prison system over and start jailing state officials for contempt of court for continually ignoring his court orders.


well, you get the point. Torture in American prisons is the norm, not the exception. We defeated the Soviet Union in the cold war so that we could become the new Soviet Union. Welcome to Soviet America, citizen. Hope you enjoy it. (And you're in the right place, Bukko, because it is not going to be fun over here in the Americas when this whole ball of wax collapses).

-- Badtux the Sovok Penguin

4:44 PM  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

this is the best f*cking rant i've read in ages..... amen!

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MB - I concur with your slant on George W. What else would you expect from the guy who used red hot coathangers to brand fraternity pledges during initiation week. The man is a freak. Not sure why everybody points the finger at Yoo, Addington, and Gonzales. They were just the gofer enablers. Bush is the Torturer-In-Chief and deserves some hard time in a federal penitentiary for it.

Regarding SERE, I have not yet read Sands book, I have added it to my wishful shopping cart at Powell's City of Books.

But my SERE experience was different. So I guess it depends on the school and the time frame you were there. Not all SERE training is or was the same.

I am assuming you went to the formal SERE school at Ft Bragg that you linked. Or did you go to a different one???

As I said my alums and I had it different. There was a ton of emphasis on the 'S' (Survival) part of SERE, especially in jungle areas. There was also a lot of Evasion and Escape training. And all of that training for the 'S' and the two 'E's included both classroom and practical ap in the boondocks. It was pretty tough, nobody liked it. But the 'R' (Resistance) part was nothing like you describe. It was mostly classroom. For the field application we were blindfolded, screamed at, and put in individual 4x4x6 monkey houses. But nobody was beaten or waterboarded and no Marquis de Sade wannabe on the staff. The torture was more psychological.

The classroom lectures were on a modified code-of-conduct - give only your name rank and serial number for as long as you could hold out. If beaten or tortured beyond your breaking point, then finally answer the interrogator's specific question with a lie to make the torture stop. If caught in the lie, then go back to name, rank, and SN and start all over again. Eventually, if you can no longer bear it, then answer that specific question truthfully, as obviously your interrogator already knows the answer and is using it as a control question. Now go back to phase one and start all over again. Repeat as needed ad infinitum.

I took that back to my unit and taught it at regimental NCO schools and at division SNCO school. Greatly reduced of course, I was lucky to get one hour of open air classroom time, if that. BTW, in that same single hour I also included 'how-to-handle-enemy-POWs. Honorably and as you would want your best buddy to be treated was the short answer.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That modified code-of-conduct that we were taught was post-Nam. A lot of that was based on lessons learned from the guys who spent time in the Hanoi Hilton.

Their experiences there were different than Korea. There was brainwashing and torture to elicit false confessions like in Korea, but there was also straight interrogations looking for military info rather than propaganda scores. Some of our returned POWs said their intelligence interrogator was East German or some said Cuban.

6:05 PM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

Bush says god talks to him. I'm betting god had nothing to do with this.

4:15 AM  
Blogger Deborah Newell said...

I can't even come up with an intelligent or thoughtful comment...

I am so disgusted and dispirited by the entire torture issue. It's hard to believe we are having this discussion today, in 2008. Hard to imagine that we'll probably be dealing with the aftermath of this administration's epic evils for...oh, who knows how many years? I can't even get my head around it.

I must do laundry. That much I can at least partially resolve, though it, too, never stops.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Terrible said...

I've never been through SERE but I definitly hear what you're saying Minstrel Boy. Great post!

9:50 AM  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I roger everyone's transmissions, but I would like to go back to square one with the SERE concept.

Generally SERE training is for career soldiers who are well-trained, well-educated, and well-indoctrinated. Line dogs, OTOH, were usually younger and simply taught the soldier's code of conduct, and told to hold out for 36 hours. At least that's how it was for me in 1968 as a young RA. That was the totality of our training re. capture. Our training was different.

We were expected to withstand beatings and brutality, but it was expected that would end after 36 hrs. as the info. would no longer be useful to the enemy as combat intel.

Previously, prisoners were tortured for combat intel. After 36 hours, torture became a means of propaganda and psychological exploitation, which is what SERE is aimed at counteracting.

SERE is generally aimed at mature soldiers, vs. conventional rifle co. members. Whether a soldier is SERE trained or a member of a combat div., if captured in the present environment, it's doubtful that he would survive.

IMO, SERE has led us astray in that the practitioners and trainers have enabled today's torturers. We justify our torture by saying our soldiers undergo the same thing. In fact, it is only our special operators who undergo that advanced trained.

10:40 AM  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Re. your vocabulary: well, I guess it's o.k to kiss your mum with that mouth, then. ;)

11:54 AM  
Blogger somewaterytart said...

Fuck this ass-sucking post in its shit-fucking donkeymeat dickface.

9:21 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

gawddammit i loves me some tartness!

9:39 PM  
Blogger Words Twice said...

In fact, it is only our special operators who undergo that advanced trained.

Wrong. Aviators/aircrew, SOF and assorted others. Your knowledge of the program is pretty weak.

Where exactly did you do guys do your SERE training?

2:20 PM  
Blogger BadTux said...

There's more than one kind of SERE training nowdays, and the Special Forces types have their own equivalent now which is separate from the Air Force SERE. You can get some info on the different programs by Googling around and finding messages on bulletin boards frequented by service members. Remember that MB is sorta 40 years out of data on this :-).

- Badtux the Non-SEREious Penguin

2:40 PM  
Blogger Words Twice said...

Wikipedia has a pretty good article on the current program. I did SERE C and Advanced Evasion at Brunswick in the 90's.

There is a lot of inaccurate, outdated and misleading information in this thread.

2:53 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i wasn't speaking in anything but personal terms. i wasn't speaking to anything but my own impressions and my own reactions.

and those impressions and reactions haven't changed. i didn't learn the lessons they intended. maybe i was just a bad student. maybe my attitude was wrong for what they wanted to instil.

i was a documented attitude case back then too.

i imagine that if they've softened or civilized the training it's even longer on the bullshit.

teaching soldiers to be prisoners is bullshit.

3:04 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

and you can try changing the subject to the fucking specifics of how they have taken the "torture" out of the newer and later programs, but that avoids the point of the entire post.

george w. bush has modeled his policy on the practices of mao zedong, not george washington. that shit about says it all doesn't it?

look, the whole bullshit program was instituted because guys back in washington, who sent the poor slobs into harm's way in the first place were embarrassed by the things they said and did while under torture and capture. what the fuck ever happened to good old fashioned things like exchange of prisoners? where did that little art become lost fucking history?

i, had i ever been captured (and make no mistake, i put myself at extreme risk for that more than once bringing downed aviators out from far behind the lines) would not have had the slightest concern or been the least bit bothered about whether or not anybody back home in the world would be embarrassed by my conduct.

rather than concerning themselves with the choosing the conflicts we were sent into the middle of better, they chose, instead, to figure out a way to get better press out of it.

fuck that.
fuck them.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Words Twice said...

i wasn't speaking to anything but my own impressions and my own reactions.

I understand, but it seems that your experiences were very different from mine and are not really representative of the current training.

i imagine that if they've softened or civilized the training it's even longer on the bullshit.

I actually thought it was some of the better training I received and while it was anything but soft, it didn’t kill me, obviously.

teaching soldiers to be prisoners is bullshit.

I would agree, if that was what they were teaching, but they are not. The biggest emphasis is on not getting caught in the first place. If you screw up and get caught, they show you ways to cope with that.

I just stumbled upon your blog by accident and noticed this discussion. Maybe I read comments out of context. Goodness knows I rant on occasion, but I find it frustrating to see so much misinformation and hyperbole on this topic in particular.

...the whole bullshit program was instituted because guys back in washington, who sent the poor slobs into harm's way in the first place were embarrassed by the things they said and did while under torture and capture.

I don’t think you understand that the purposes of propaganda exploitation are more ambitious than simply personal embarrassment of politicians.

what the fuck ever happened to good old fashioned things like exchange of prisoners? where did that little art become lost fucking history?

I don’t know. Perhaps you could ask our humanitarian adversaries, like the North Koreans, the Chinese, the Vietnamese or AQ.

And backing up to your original post, I see that you are making a laughable comparison between the Al Qaeda and the British, the Americans, the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese. Ok, maybe those last two are closer to the mark, but they at least wore uniforms. Out of all of them, Imperial Japan probably comes closest, and we put Japanese Americans into interment camps for the duration of the war. That’s a bit more draconian than Camp X-ray, wouldn’t you agree? So, I’m not sure pining for the “good old days” is such a good idea in this instance.

And then your incoherent rant goes on to complain that American policy is modeled on Mao (wrong) and the evil mastermind GW isn’t more like Torquemada? What is your point? This doesn’t even makes sense. They are nothing alike and you know it. I'm sure it felt good to say, though.

i, ... would not have had the slightest concern or been the least bit bothered about whether or not anybody back home in the world would be embarrassed by my conduct.

I’m sure that’s true and I’m sure Jane Fonda would agree. But it’s not about you or the politicians you don't like. It’s about the public (theirs and ours) and the troops in general.

rather than concerning themselves with the choosing the conflicts we were sent into the middle of better, they chose, instead, to figure out a way to get better press out of it.

I am not big fan of the way our politicians and senior military leaders are conducting things but whether you like it or not, the press is part of this. Propaganda is a wonderful thing, it can make or break a situation. It certainly did in Vietnam. You don’t have to like it but it’s just a fact of life. As a former SOF type, you should know this.

4:10 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

as far as propoganda being a wonderful thing, well, holy milk chocolate fucking jesus, you're and idiot.

we didn't lose in vietnam because of bad propoganda. we lost because we were sent into a situation where we had no fucking chance of ever winning. we didn't lose in vietnam, because of things we did or did not do. and don't bother me with bullshit details about how "we won the battles but lost the propoganda." that crap. simplistic, revisionist crap. tet, by the best evaluations was a draw, and if you're reading thucydides, sun tsu, or clausewitz, you'll remember that draws go to the defender. when the battles of tet were finished we controlled about 25% of the countryside. about the same as before the offensive. yeah, the vc were pretty much finished as a fighting force, but the regulars were down there, well supplied and operating on home turf. at best, a draw.

as far as patterning the policies of mao zedong, the post was provoked by an article that said the interrogators at Guantanamo were using the "same techniques as were used by SERE, which were modeled on the practices of the north koreans and the red chinese."

it wasn't george washington who instituted practices of torture and inhuman treatment, it was george w. bush. and he did it because he was not interested in the truth, he was interested in "good propoganda."

you can take your best propoganda and shove it up your ass. i want nothing to do with it.

as far as the evasion part of the course, i passed that, i was only "captured" at the "safe" area and told that "everybody gets caught" and sent through the bullshit.

this thread is officially over. all you wonderful fucking SERE grads would be very happy to see some bad attitude asshole like me coming down out of the sky to lead you out.

i was known to start fistfights to take that duty on. it was one of the very few noble deeds in a land awash with ignoble pissants.

4:33 PM  
Blogger BadTux said...

Sorry to hear you got afflicted by goddamned brainless tighty righty spouting right wing Nazi propaganda talking points (the Dolchstoslegende that says that cause of the nation's defeat in the last war was that the troops were "stabbed in the back", a prime ingredient of the Nazi propaganda used against Jews, Socialists, Communists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and anybody else they didn't like). Also glad to see that you have the same policy as me when you get tighty righties coming by reciting Nazi talking points -- give'em one warning to quit the stupidity, then delete any further bullshit they put out.

The U.S. Army won every significant tactical encounter of the Vietnam War. And the British Army won every significant tactical encounter of the War of American Secession (or "American Revolution" as we call it on our side of our pond), with a couple of minor exceptions that made little difference (even the French defeat of Cornwallis's forces at Yorktown was a defeat of less than 10% of the British forces in North America, the other 90% were available and still quite deadly).

But of course the reality is that in both wars, the overseas nation was beaten like a motherfuckin' drum. Just completely bankrupted financially by the enormous costs of stationing and sustaining troops overseas. Fuck, we had ten goddamned years of fucking stagflation because of the need to print enough goddamned dollars to debase the currency enough to be able to afford the motherfuckin' war debt from the Vietnam War. At the height of the war, we were spending over 15% of the nation's GDP on stationing troops in that goddamned jungle. A Republic simply isn't set up to endure that kind of fiscal cost year after year with no end in sight, eventually the people just get fed up and put a stop to it, or the Republic falls and an Empire run by an Emperor (in reality if not in name) arises in its place. The British Crown surrendered the 13 colonies because it was goddamned *bankrupt*, not because George Washington defeated the British militarily. A few minor battles that did not affect any major British troop deployments do not a victory make. And the Americans left Vietnam for the exact same goddamned reason, not because of any "stab in the back" bullshit stolen from goddamned Nazi motherfucking propaganda.

-- Badtux the Rude Penguin

5:40 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

don't forget that among the many provocations that led to the french revolution was that louis had damned near bankrupted his state by helping to fund our fight against the british. his bills came due, he raised taxes to pay them off and it was soon "off with his head!"

5:49 PM  
Blogger BadTux said...

Well, to be fair, Louis also started off the war with the same problem that the British Crown had -- all that debt from the Seven Years War (known as the "French and Indian War" to Americans for some odd reason). And he no longer had the revenue from the Canadian fur trade or the New Orleans port fees that he'd had from before the war. And most of the additional debt he racked up during the War of American Secession had to do with him trying to seize British territories in the Indies, India, and Africa that had nothing to do with American independence, along with an astoundingly unsuccessful siege of Gibralter. So while the American Revolution may have bankrupted France as well as England, it did not have to be that way -- it was specific decisions by the King of France that made it that way.

Meanwhile, it's amusing when tighty righties insist they have the right to use other people's property any way they wish even when the property owner told them they couldn't. Especially when they don't have the slightest notion who they're dealing with and make all sorts of silly accusations when they do so. I'm not shy about telling people, "it's my blog, my rules." I have no problem with folks debating things on my blog, but when they start spouting right-wing talking points, I politely delete their message and respond that I do not allow right wing talking points on my private property (my blog). If you want to talk about facts and issues, fine. But if you're going to just regurgitate talking points handed down to you by right-wing pundits, go find your own place to do so. It's called "private property". Something the tighty righties pretend to respect. Until they don't, I suppose.

- Badtux the History Penguin

7:12 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i've already deleted him twice, but for the sake of fairness i'll paraphrase some of the things he said:

1. i'm a stupid douchebag shit head
2. i blow puppy dogs for spare change.

3. larry craig and i have the same taste in bathrooms.

4. david vitter is a moral man and a great american, i'm proud to have him defend marriage and stuff.

5. i like to toss salad, especially priests.

well, you get the idea.

7:20 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

just deleted another one. the gist of his argument this time was:

hitler was totally misunderstood, and nazis had good lookin' uniforms with those polished boots. i like to jack off while i lick boots. it's even more fun when master catching me wanking and beats my ass.

7:59 PM  
Blogger BadTux said...

You forgot that he said you have cooties, M.B.

I'd invite him to my own pad to mock him mercilessly, but I'd probably get tired of his crap too after a while.

- Badtux the Mocking Penguin

8:33 PM  

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