Friday, March 16, 2007

Responsibility


The word of the week: responsibility. As we’ve seen in previous posts, Bush used it repeatedly in Mexico Wednesday, and Gonzales claimed he was accepting responsibility, a term, as I said, stripped of any meaning by the Bushies. And now Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has declared himself “responsible” for every terrorist action ever. Is he a megalomaniac or a fantasist? Was he acting under pressure? Was it a cunning scheme to make a “confession” so obviously over-blown that it would be dismissed as unreliable by most Americans while at the same time convincing Muslims that it must have been the product of torture? Since he knows he will be getting a show trial that could never lead to his release, he knows whatever he says will not affect his fate one iota, so he can speak to serve other ends: disinformation, propaganda, self-aggrandizement, whatever.

What I like is how they asked him if he was confessing under duress. He answered no. The real answer is yes. He is in a secret prison with secret courts, where he has already been tortured, anything he says can be and has been censored by his captors, and he will remain in the place where he was tortured after his “trial.” So duress permeates everything that happens there. Guantanamo is one giant machine of coercion, and anything he or any other prisoner says reflects that fact. The one thing a “trial” taking place in the heart of that machine cannot do is determine facts and evaluate evidence.

Bush met Iraqi’s Shiite Vice President Adil Abd Al-Mahdi yesterday and told him, “It’s hard work to overcome distrust that has built up over the years because your country was ruled by a tyrant that created distrust amongst people.” Yes, there has certainly been no reason for distrust amongst people in Iraq since Saddam fell.

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