Abu Ghraib …

by John McKay

… and I see that Mick just beat me to it with a much more thoughtful post. Oh well, below is what I had to say (and read Sy Hersh, who is excellent as always):

The recent story about torture of Iraqi prisoners is presented as if it is an anomaly – six or so soldiers who got out of hand. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Seymour Hersh reports that (as any reasonably well informed person knew) this stuff happens all the time; it’s SOP for intelligence officers in and out of the military.

As the international furor grew, senior military officers, and President Bush, insisted that the actions of a few did not reflect the conduct of the military as a whole. Taguba’s report, however, amounts to an unsparing study of collective wrongdoing and the failure of Army leadership at the highest levels. The picture he draws of Abu Ghraib is one in which Army regulations and the Geneva conventions were routinely violated, and in which much of the day-to-day management of the prisoners was abdicated to Army military-intelligence units and civilian contract employees. Interrogating prisoners and getting intelligence, including by intimidation and torture, was the priority.

Reports of the US employing torture in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay are nothing new; this time was different because photos actually got out and mainstream US media actually gave it a little coverage.

Saying “we’re the good guy” doesn’t make us the good guy – not even if we repeat it over and over again. The rest of the world knows it, and it’s time for Americans to figure it out too.

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