Saturday, October 1

Ghraibed Again!

Yesterday, Federal Judge Hellerstein ruled that additional photos of Abu Ghraib torture should be released. And as usual Fox News has beguns it's full-frontal assault on the concept of responsibility and accountability -- even going so far as to suggest that the Judge himself be subjected to torture.

O'REILLY: Do you think these pictures should be let out by Hellerstein?

HUNT: Absolutely not. No, there's no -- Hellerstein should be drawn and quartered. That man should not be -- that's criminal act, as far as I'm concerned. It's hurting our guys. There's no question. But you want this kind of stuff to stop. Hellerstein's got to go away, but we have to hold people accountable for what's happened [at Abu Ghraib]. There's no excuse for putting these pictures back out on the set, no way.

Besides the obvious, the problem with this argument is that the photos in question are far more than simply "more of the same" of what we've already seen at Abu Ghraib. As I blogged three months ago, these pictures are not simply more naked human pyramid games - it includes evidence of murder and the rape of children while there parents were forced to watch.

This is far more than just a few unsupervised guys on the night shift playing "frat boy" games. There are many unanswered questions as to how this could possibly happen, and exactly how "unsupervised" these soldiers, an contractors, actually were and why.

The ACLU states:
Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein today agreed, saying publication of the photographs will help to answer questions not only about the unlawful conduct of American soldiers, but about “the command structure that failed to exercise discipline over the troops, and the persons in that command structure whose failures in exercising supervision may make them culpable along with the soldiers who were court-martialed for perpetrating the wrongs.”


In response to the government’s claim that the release of the images would lead to increased violence, Judge Hellerstein noted that “the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan do not need pretexts for their barbarism; they have proven to be aggressive and pernicious in their choice of targets and tactics. Their pretexts for carrying out violence are blatant hypocrisies, clearly recognized as such except by those who would blur the clarity of their own vision.”

He added: “Our nation does not surrender to blackmail, and fear is not a legally sufficient argument to prevent us from performing a statutory command. Indeed, the freedoms that we champion are as important to our success in Iraq and Afghanistan as the guns and missiles with which our troops are armed.”

Exactly how far up the excuse chain this goes is not hard to guess. Rather than being an abberation, torture was in fact - policy. The ACLU has already published a detailed timeline which precisely outlines which orders given by Secretary Rumsfeld - in accordance with their lawsuit against the SecDef - were instrumental in fostering the "anything goes" air at Gitmo, Bagram AFB and Abu Ghraib Prison - this in turn has led to the murder of detainees. It's clear that these photos will be used as part of the evidence in that suit and that eventually, someone higher than the rank of Sgt is going to go down for this - and I suspect the Self-Righteous Right knows just who that might be.


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