Thursday, May 06, 2004

Oh, I see. He didn't get to see the pictures.

More on Abu Ghraib.

Today, we find out that Bush had a little sh*t-fit with Rummy over Abu Ghraib. What was the subject of that tantrum?

1. His outrage that such inhumanity was being committed by Americans.
2. His concern that Amnesty International reports were ignored for months.
3. His irritation that Rumsfeld didn't tell him back in January that there were pictures.

If you chose number (3), then you understand this president -- or you have dealt with small children, either one.

Bush let Rummy have it with both barrels because Rumsfeld never told him that there were pictures of the abuse. If you are charitable to Bush, you might say that this is because the pictures brought the problems home in a way that dry words on the page never would.

For instance, these words paraphrased from February's Taguba Report are dull and would never catch the attention of a reader:

"poured chemicals on their naked skin"
"forced naked men to wear women's underwear on their heads and mime homosexual acts with each other"
"anal rape with blunt objects"

Or, if one was less charitable, one would say that Bush was upset that the photos caused the scandal to become public. That is, Bush was mad that he got caught.

And if one was less charitable still, one would suspect that Bush only reads picture books.

If you're not disgusted yet, there's a whole new world opening up:

1. More photos from Abu Ghraib, which were harvested from a collection of souvenir photos brought home by MPs. "And here I am in front of a Presidential palace... and this is me and Jerry, man, Jerry was so drunk... and this is me laughing at naked, handcuffed prisoners piled into a human pyramid."

2. Guards placed a harness on an Iraqi woman in her 70s, made her crawl on all fours, and rode her like a donkey.

3. Prisoners were forced to strip naked in front of female guards, masturbate while staring at the female guards, mime homosexual sex with each other.

4. And Sy Hersh now says there are videotapes of all of this.

And as Hersh pointedly explained to Bill O'Reilly, these prisoners are not Al Qaeda. These are just the people that get arrested for whatever reason -- flipping the bird to a soldier, robbing the corner store, whatever. These tactics came straight from Gitmo, where I can at least understand the argument for using them. (Torture is always wrong, and especially so when the torturers claim that they are not under the control of any supervising authority anywhere in the world.) But the prisoners at Abu Ghraib are being dragged into Hell for no goddamned reason.

Perhaps -- just perhaps -- the rest of the world is not as comfortable with the American notion that part of the punishment of prison is rampant, brutal, homosexual rape.

 9:09 AM

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