...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

June 01, 2005

Required Reading For The Ignorant

Big time Munuvian Rusty has an excellent post that examines three questions:

What exactly is a gulag and how widespread was the gulag system? What were the Soviet gulags like? And how do the worst and yet unproven allegations of abuse at Guantanomo Bay compare to what happened in Soviet gulags?
It's amazing to me, how the Amnesty idiots could make such a comparison, and stand by it. No one who has read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich would say that. It's not like Solzhenitsyn's book is that long. It's only 142 pages. i read it on an airplane flight years ago.

Posted by annika, Jun. 1, 2005 |
Rubric: On The Blogosphere


You want hear about a gulag, hear this:

At the end of WWII, the Russians had 3,000,000 German POWs in slave labor camps. Some years later, they decided to release the POWs. Only 3000 Germans had survived to go home.

Posted by: Jake on Jun. 2, 2005

Thanks for the link, Annie. Has anybody seen a MSM story providing this kind of insight? Any insight? I'm curious if only those on the right are calling bullshit.

Posted by: Blu on Jun. 2, 2005

John Podhoretz has an article at the NY Post outlining clearly how woefully inaccurate AI was in labeling G-Bay a "gulag."


Posted by: Mark on Jun. 3, 2005

I'd be lying if I said I have carefully researched the situation at Guantanomo. That's what the media's supposed to be for, right? RIGHT?!? I mean ideally. But obviously, this is not the best of all possible worlds. But I HAVE read Ivan Denisovich, which was a kick-ass book and which was also a fairly accurate depiction - at least in the mood and the desolation of the scene it presented - of my time working in a factory. There are people living in Denisovichland right now who don't call it a gulag. They call it life. We live in a society founded on gulags. Rome was founded on slavery and our society is founded on wage-slavery. The difference between the two, in my opinion, is merely one of semantics. If there hadn't been advantages to being a slave in Rome, Rome would've collapsed a lot sooner. The only advantage the current slave gets is the wage, which is barely - and rarely - enough to pay for the necessities of life, and which offers no hope of advancement.

In this cultural climate, when Amnesty International throws around a term like "gulag", I tend not to dismiss it. The term could be applied to so so many places of work that are just around the corner from where you live (presumably, unless you live in Beverly Hills or something). Why are these places not accused of being gulags? Because they operate on a fairly small scale and because they're corporations, and it's an accepted fact that corporations have no conscience so how is that newsworthy? I think that an operation has to hit a pretty high note of debasement on a pretty grand scale before an organization like Amnesty International is willing to use the term "gulag". To call them reactionary left-wingists is to misunderstand the culture you live in. Despite the current conservative opinion that there's some left wing media conspiracy going on, I believe that when ANY organization has the courage to step forth and make such a statement, they should be taken seriously. You don't have to agree, but you can't just brush it off. In the current political climate, making such a statement is courageous because at least it's an expression of what someone believes, and they're willing to accept the consequences of saying it. And in this age of politicians and double-speak, for such an organization to step up and say something THAT DAMNING... that's pretty fucking rare.

And to casually dismiss a source - such as Amnesty International - which in the past the Bush administration has cited to support its own policies... where are you coming from?

Posted by: Theday on Jun. 4, 2005

The Day:

Your reasoning is stunningly twisted. To compare those who live paycheck to paycheck with true slaves is an insult to the millions of slaves throghout history who who had virtually none of their rights recognized, who were often brutalized, abused and murdered at will.

Corporate America has "no conscience," yet Corporate American pours billions of dollars yearly to every and any charity you can think of. This same corporate America works non-stop to produce products efficiently and cheaply so that you can better afford them. The computer you type your uninformed gibberish used to easily cost $5,000 and up. Now? You can get a great computer at $600-800.

Amnesty's statements not "courageous" and you do the word violence by equating Amnesty's idiotic comparison with courage. Amnesty was founded as a voice for prisoners of conscience. Those in G-Bay do not fit that description one bit. They are in G-Bay not because of conscience, but of involvement with an organizations that seek to murder innocents like you. Their justification? THE VERY SAME Quran that the evil American military PROVIDES THEM.

You clearly have your head firmly in the sand if you think it is "rare" that an organization says something damning. This President (and anyone with an 'R' after their name) is ROUTINELY subject to abuse and baseless attacks. It's NOT rare at all, but a regular occurence, thanks to a liberal media that will bend over for anyone with a negative breath against the President.

Posted by: Mark on Jun. 4, 2005


Regarding Gulags, John Podhoretz lists some facts that you clearly missed:

"Number of prisoners at Gitmo: approximately 600.

Number of prisoners in the Gulag: as many as 25 million, according to the peerless Gulag historian Anne Applebaum.

Number of camps at Gitmo: 1

Number of camps in the Gulag: At least 476, according to Applebaum.

Political purpose of Gulag: The suppression of internal dissent inside a totalitarian state.

Political purpose of Gitmo: The suppression of an international terrorist group that had attacked the United States, killing 3,000 people while attempting to decapitate the national government through the hijack of airplanes.

Financial purpose of Gulag: Providing totalitarian economy with millions of slave laborers.

Financial purpose of Gitmo: None.

Seizure of Gulag prisoners: From apartments, homes, street corners inside the Soviet Union.

Seizure of Gitmo prisoners: From battlefield sites in Afghanistan in the midst of war."

To call G-Bay a "gulag" is a reckless exaggeration. Period.

Posted by: Mark on Jun. 4, 2005

Let's compare the Gitmo Gulag to the Soviet ones? Comparison is a very weak argument. As in, "Oh, our gulag's better than theirs." Gulag. Go America. Make us proud, Bunnypants.

Posted by: Citizen Milenko on Jun. 6, 2005

Except I'm not comparing gulags. I am merely showing you what a TRUE gulag is (i.e., that of the Soviets) whereas the one in G-bay does not even begin to fit the true definition.

By the way, Amnesty itself has admitted that it was being 'over the top' and just wanted to bring attention to the issue. (Who cares about truth when you can throw rhetorical stink bombs?)

Understand now?

By the way, what's with the "bunny pants" crap? What does it even mean? And do you still imagine yourself to be a mature, rational adult when you use the terminology of an 8 year old?

Posted by: Mark on Jun. 7, 2005