Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Technically different from torture / The system works

Tom Tomorrow has posted something on his blog that only occurred to me after turning off the computer after sending my last, juxtaposing the Powell quotes about our troops being in Iraq “to help, not hurt” with his assertion in his My Lai massacre cover-up report that “relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent”.

Today Rumsfeld referred to the actions at Abu Ghraib (which is Arabic for Bastille) as “un-American.” Un-American, huh? That shows a singular lack of understanding of American history, to say nothing of our penal system. Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions was on McNeil-Lehrer today on this very subject, but was not asked to enlighten Rummy as a Southerner who “used to think the Klan was all right until I learned they smoked marijuana.” Rumsfeld also said that what happened was abuse, “which I believe technically is different from torture... And therefore I’m not going to address the torture word”. So that’s all right then.

Condi Rice told Al-Jazeera today, “We have a democratic system that holds people accountable for their actions...The president guarantees that those who did that be held accountable.” Uh, yeah, funny thing, about that accountability: we found out today that a soldier was convicted for shooting a prisoner to death last September (the shooting, I think, it’s unclear when the court martial was), and was discharged from the service with no jail time. And a prisoner was killed by a private contractor in Abu Ghraib (which is Arabic for Lubyanka), for which no action was taken because the military didn’t have jurisdiction (it can lock up thousands of Iraqis it just grabbed off the street, but when one of them is killed suddenly they’re worried about jurisdiction). As Rummy said today, “The system works.” Actually, given that neither he, nor Gen. Myers, nor Shrub, have actually bothered reading the report on the abuse-not-technically-torture, which was released in February, “work” may not be a word you want to use, you lazy sanctimonious [word that would make Chris’s work computer pull up its petticoats, squeal loudly, and faint]. A bunch of other prisoners died in custody (25, including in Afghanistan), some “natural causes,” some still under investigation. Britain has had 6 prisoners die.

Berlusconi has become the longest-serving Italian prime minister since World War II. Too bad he’s a crook.

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