Friday, October 13, 2006

Shays on Abu Graib

Rep. Chris Shays's own words have made national news for a second time this week.

Here's a quote is from Wednesday night's at Congregation B'nai Israel in Bridgeport.

"Now I've seen what happened in Abu Ghraib, and Abu Ghraib was not torture," Shays said at a debate Wednesday.

"It was outrageous, outrageous involvement of National Guard troops from (Maryland) who were involved in a sex ring and they took pictures of soldiers who were naked," added Shays. "And they did other things that were just outrageous. But it wasn't torture."

Today Shays attempted to defend his stance.

Shays defended his comments yesterday, saying he doesn't doubt that there has been torture at other prisons, but not at Abu Ghraib.

"I saw probably 600 pictures of really gross, perverted stuff," Shays said. "The bottom line was it was sex. . . . It wasn't primarily about torture."

Shays defined torture as anything that could cause mental or physical pain or sleep depravation.

He may have dug an even bigger hole with the clarification.

Anyone care to speculate as to what the hell Shays was/is thinking?

Update (by Bobby McGee):

Associated Press. "Shays: Abu Ghraib Abuses Were Sex Ring". CBS News. 10/13/06

Ginocchio, Mark. "Shays defends comments on Abu Ghraib". Stamford Advocate. 10/13/06


Brickbat said...

Shays is coming off the tracks. Combine this lunacy with his ravings about Ted Kennedy -- it's got to cost him 2-3% in a district with sophisticated voters.

He sounds more and more like a goner. Put this race in Diane Farrell's corner.

Anonymous said...

If we don't defend the right of our military to interogate people the way they best see fit, and perhaps have a little fun at the same time, we will end up with Congress people having coffee with the Taliban

ctblogger said...

Shays wasn't/isn't thinking. That's the point.

It's better when you watch the videoclip.

GMR said...

If you think that Abu Ghraib involved torture, then you have to also think that all California prisons involve torture as well.

Back in 2001, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said, "I would love to personally escort Lay to an 8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, 'Hi, my name is Spike, honey.'"

This is the chief law enforcement officer of the state of California advocating that non violent felons be raped. (Furthermore, at this point in time, Ken Lay hadn't even been charged with a crime yet).

When district attorneys attempt to wrangle a plea bargain, they often cite that if you go to prison, you'll be raped or beaten. As long as that threat remains a tool among US public officials for domestic criminals, I fail to see how we can differentiate that from Abu Ghraib. The subtle difference being that in Iraq, the prison administration took active roles to promote sexual deviancy, while in the US, they merely have to ignore it for it to happen. But the net effect to prisoners is the same.

Let me ask it another way: if we put an Abu Ghraib inmate in a cell and we knew that would lead to rape, would you feel any more or less outraged by what happened at Abu Ghraib?

Jim said...

Anybody else reminded of Gerald Ford in '76? "There is no Soviet control in East Germany."

They even look a little bit alike.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say that Abu Ghraib involved more then just mere sexual abuse. Beatings and phosphoric acid sound more like torture to me.

When I originally registered to vote, I registered as a Republican b/c I thought they were the party of libertarianism and fiscal responsibility. Why anyone votes for Republicans now is beyond me considering what's gone on in the past 5 years. Shays has no business being sent back to the US Congress.

CaptCT said...

In his book "Fiasco," Thomas Ricks describes what was going on inside Abu Ghraib prison:

"On November 4, a detainee was hooded and placed on a box, and had wires attached to him that he was told would electrocute him if he stepped off the box." ... "One detainee later described to Army investigators being made to 'bark like a dog, being forced to crawl on his stomach while MPs spit and urinated on him, and being struck causing unconsciousness.' He also said he had been sodomized with a stick. Investigators found it 'highly probable' that his allegations had been accurate."

The book has many other examples.

For Chris Shays, a guy who went to Iraq 14 times and who saw the intelligence reports from Abu Ghraib, to say this wasn't torture, can only show that he's completely lost touch with reality.

ki kelly said...

"Anyone care to speculate as to what the hell Shays was/is thinking?"

Easy. Shays isn't thinking. He's another of those incumbents who is frantic to hang on to his cushy job. He's getting desperate and desperation isn't pretty. We're seeing it all over Connecticut. Lieberman's constant whining and other loony behavior, Nancy Johnson's breathtakingly misleading ad accusing Chris Murphy of enabling the terrorists. Rob Simmons' campaigning with Rudy "When I saw the bodies fall out of the burning towers I turned and said to Kerrik 'Thank God George Bush is President!'" Guiliani. And more to come.

Genghis Conn said...

I don't believe it. What an idiot. Between this and the Kennedy thing, I think he may have just cost himself the race. The election is still a month away, but a blunder this big usually has serious consequences.

Diane Farrell must be jumping with joy.

CC said...

Why don't we talk about the enemy's mutilations and decapitations?

Genghis Conn said...

Because we should be better than they are, CC.

CC said...

GC: We ARE better than the enemy regardless of whether the behavior is defined as torture or some other term connotating abuse.

And, for the record, there has been no shortage of court martials for what occurred (eleven to date?) and the general in charge was demoted.

ProgCT said...

GMR why are you soft on corporate criminals?

Anonymous said...

"The bottom line was it was sex..."

Yeah, just like Mark Foley.

Anonymous said...

Is Shays wearing a yarmulke? I never knew he was Jewish.

Does he wear his yarmulke often? Or just during campaign season?

Lynndie England Supporter said...

Westport Now has about Dems denouncing the NRCC mailer. According to the article, Shays said, "I call on the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) to put an end to sending this type of garbage to 4th District mailboxes".

He went on to say that the Democrats "and shadow organizations working on her (Farrell’s) behalf have made negative, misleading and outrageous charges against me for three years and she has said nothing about them."

The article doesn't say whether or not Shays could provide any examples. Maybe he was thinking of that shadow organization, CBS News, which quoted Shays as saying "Now I've seen what happened in Abu Ghraib, and Abu Ghraib was not torture,"

Anonymous said...

Check out the DailyKos diary about Shays' comments.

Anonymous said...

There are some sub-issues where it is better to play Sean Landeta and just punt....going for it has no upside

The Kennedy crack at least got him some love from national R's...this is not s useful remark for them at all

rozy said...

Well , I see sex/rape (i don't think they do it voluntary ...) and other things the same as torture. It's not acceptable at all. There's NO reason to use special interrogation techniques that violate international law. But then again, Bush and its government obviously think they are above any law. It's also not the first time this happens with american (and other) troops.
It's time to just admit what happend (and is still going on) over there.

Shays statement is ridiculous.

Shadow said...

GMR - I couldn't disagree more. We have a system that is unable to prevent all violence and rape in prison, and a district attorney alluding to a prisoner's sentence having those connotations in a public statement is different than personally stripping down guys and stacking them in a pile, and engaging them in an organized sexual assault for several hours.

What you're trying to do here is say that not only is first hand abuse rephrensible, but enabling abuse is as well. That is absolutely true.

However, is enabling as bad as first hand abuse? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I think the issue here though is that Shays' statement of "only sex, not torture" is contradicted by a wealth of evidence easily found online also proving electrode torture and beatings (some that lead to deaths). But even if we put all that aside, Shays' biggest and most overlooked problem regarding this issue is his implication that sexual assault CANNOT rise to the level of torture; he is going to be very unpleasantly surprised on election day to see how many women voters disagree with that assessment.

Anonymous said...

We need to treat the innocent victims at these prisons humanely. They have done nothing to us or our country.

As for wiretapping it is more important in my view to go after real predators like Mark Foley and those in the Bush administration instead of these poor victims of our insurgency. If we stop doing this they will all go away!!! I don't believe they want to kill us at all.

Iraq, North Korea, Iran...they won't hurt us as long as we just stop. I think we should support the policy of Murphy, Farrell & Courtney and do nothing and go after the real terrorists in Rumsfeld, Bush and that evil man Karl Rove!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is completely off-topic, but did anyone see the Murphy/Johnson story by Rinker Buck in today's Courant? According to the article Nancy Johnson admitted to lying about contacting Erin McCall-Goldie, the mother whose child was born with a craniofacial malformation, from Chris Murphy's newest ad.

How sad a 12 term incumbant has sunk so low as to lie about personally speaking to someone.
Today's debate between the two should be very interesting.
Does anyone know if it will be broadcast on TV or radio?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:23

Mark Foley's e-mails caused that large hole in the ground in lower Manhattan to suddenly appear.

Anyone who truly believe that is a worthless eloi

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:23. You are the reason I will vote republican this year.

Anonymous said...

Shays should ask Simmons about torture.Simmons is a pro at torture and used it extensively during his time at the CIA as the head of an emtire province of Vietnam.

Googgle Phoenix project and do a little research.Both of these guys lack a conscience.

Jim said...

Anonymous said...
We need to treat the innocent victims at these prisons humanely. They have done nothing to us or our country.


anybody think this genius knows that more than 90% of prisoners at Abu Grahib and more than two-thirds of those at Gitmo were released because they had, in fact, done nothing? That's what happens when you make arrests based on cash rewards offered to informants in tribal cultures who are not required to provide anything liberal and wimpy like "evidence".

No, I'm sure macho macho anonymous feels very tough when he types ignorant thing on blogs, and making himself believe that George Bush and Dick Cheney know what they're doing is the only thing that allows this tough guy to sleep in his little bed at night, instead of under it.