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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Fallacy of Empire's Ineptitude 

Well, the long-awaited report on Abu Ghraib has been published, and as expected, it places the blame for the atrocities largely on the shoulders of soldiers running the facility.
The panel, led by former US Defence Secretary James Schlesinger, said the situation there was one of "chaos". But the report said there was no official policy of abuse at the jail.

Mr Schlesinger said that while direct responsibility lay with commanders at local level, institutional and personal responsibility for the abuse lay right up the chain of command to Washington, including the most senior commander in Iraq at the time, Gen Ricardo Sanchez. . . .

The report did not suggest Mr Rumsfeld had ordered any of the abuses or did anything to encourage them. But it indicated that his policies created some confusion at lower levels of the military.

During the press conference held to unveil the conclusions of the report, Mr Schlesinger and his colleagues on the four-person panel agreed Mr Rumsfeld could be "commended" for the way he approached the investigation.
So let me get this right -- these people had electrical torture devices and attack dogs -- which you can't exactly pick up at your nighborhood Baghdad marketplace -- but this was all the result of "chaos"? And Rumsfeld is to blame only for some "confusion"?

Give me a break!

This is the next logical step after Reagan's plausible denial sham -- our leaders can approve any kind of sadistic mayhem they want, and when it's time to pay the piper, all they have to do is shrug their shoulders, say "I'm sorry" and get told that they weren't on the ball enough to keep it from happening.

So which is worse: a completely evil and bloodthirsty government, who see human rights as impediments, rather than sacred values; or a bumbling and boneheaded gang of idiots too stupid to take care of their business? I can't decide which is a more horrifying concept of our government.

I believe the former is true; but of course I don't have hard proof in this instance, so all I can do is point to our support for similar activities in East Timor, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, and Chile; then say that it's really hard for me to believe that suddenly our leaders are not ruthless so much as incompetent.

Reed Brody has a good piece in today's San Francisco Chronicle.
It has now been more than three months since the appearance of the first pictures of U.S. soldiers humiliating and torturing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Shortly after, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told foreign leaders: "Watch America. Watch how we deal with this. Watch how America will do the right thing."

But America is not doing the right thing. . . . [T]he administration is sticking to its line that the Abu Ghraib crimes were the work of a few "bad apples." . . .

Many important issues remain unanswered. What interrogation techniques were approved for use on detainees? Why were inquiries into the many detainee deaths so lackluster and late? Why were detainees "rendered" to countries such as Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where torture is regularly practiced? How does the Bush administration justify holding detainees incommunicado in "undisclosed locations" in light of the United States' historical condemnation of "disappearances" in other countries?
No doubt. Meantime, I ran across an interesting article recently by Sholto Byrnes about Ann Coulter.
When we talk about the "war on terror", she sounds almost nostalgic for the Cold War. "When we were fighting communism, OK, they had mass murderers and gulags, but they were white men and they were sane. Now we're up against absolutely insane savages." . . .

"The question is not, 'Are all Muslims terrorists?' The question is, 'Are all terrorists Muslims?' And the answer is yes -- every one I have to worry about."
What a brilliant political analyst! How can anyone argue with that kind of .. you know, logic?


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Today I'm listening to: Groove Salad!