Hanging Is Too Good For Them

When the news first came out of Abu Ghraib, due to one of America’s perhaps 5 real journalists (the rest are bought and paid for shills and eunuchs), I said that odds were it came from the top. When the troops were put away and no officers were indicted, I said it was a complete breakdown of military discipline and responsibility. And now, as we know, Taguba is talking about how he was instructed not to investigate anyone but the MP’s.

Let’s be real clear – people were raped and tortured at the behest of America’s government, with the knowledge and approval of the highest members of government. This rot didn’t start at the bottom, it spread from the very very top.

And it was known in 2004, and the US re-elected George Bush anyway.

I’ll never forget that, and until George Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a number of generals are behind bars, I’ll never entirely forgive it either. There is no greater crime against humanity than torturing someone. There is nothing more despicable than rape. And there is nothing more pathetic than senior officers refusing to accept responsibility for what their soldiers do, especially when there is every evidence they knew.

Abu Ghraib was the grave of America’s soft power; of its reputation as, for all its complicity in other countries unfortunate policies, a basically decent nation that didn’t step over the line. It is when bin Laden’s rants about the US were given weight, and for many Muslims, made true.

It’s when the US became no better than those it fights. Oh, “pre-emptive war”, for which the US hung Nazis, had pushed the US close – war based on lies, on classic big lie propaganda scare mongering no different in nature than anything any fascist or totalitarian dictatorship would use, for all that “reporters” bent over backwards to help the administration spread their lies, had pushed the US close to evil.

But Abu Ghraib sealed the deal in the eyes of the world.

America the Good, the city on the Hill, had become a country that tortured. And then, in 2004, in full knowledge of that torture, the US’s citizens re-elected George Bush.

There’s no fall so far that there can’t be redemption. But redemption in this case means facing up to what happened. And that means, in part, that George Bush and his enablers have to go to jail. Really, they should probably be hung, and hanging is too good for them, but since their crimes were those against all human kindness and decency; against all standards of civilized behaviour, the death penalty is not appropriate. Let them rot in jail.

Until the US does this, until the US cleans house, many in the rest of the world will always believe that it could happen again – that George Bush was not; is not, just an aberration, but he is what America is becoming, that your system of “checks and balances” is so broken, so non-functional, that the country is ripe for demagoguery and totalitarian impulses of the worst and darkest kind.

I hope, as someone who believed in America as a bastion of freedom, for all its flaws; that you do clean house. Failure to do so will not just have moral consequences, it will have realpolitik ones as well.

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Ian Welsh

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  • … all of it. I won’t coattail on perfectly fine summation other than to say that for these very same arguments I feel it is necessary to impeach Abu, Cheney, and George, despite all the protestations about how the work of Congress would be sidelined, etc. Impeach, and then the Hague. Failure to do this indicts us all.

  • St. Augustine, in his handbook of Christian living The Enchiridion (aprox. 420 AD), considers the problem of evil, and explains that evil is merely the absence of good.

    And in the universe, even that which is called evil, when it is regulated and put in its own place, only enhances our admiration of the good; for we enjoy and value the good more when we compare it with the evil. For the almighty God, who, as even the heathen acknowledge, has supreme power over all things, being Himself supremely good, would never permit the existence of anything evil among His works, if He were not so omnipotent and good that He can bring good even out of evil. For what is that which we call evil but the absence of good? In the bodies of animals, disease and wounds mean nothing but the absence of health; for when a cure is effected, that does not mean that the evils which were present–namely, the diseases and wounds–go away from the body and dwell elsewhere: they altogether cease to exist; for the wound or disease is not a substance, (2) but a defect in the fleshly substance–the flesh itself being a substance, and therefore something good, of which those evils–that is, privations of the good which we call health–are accidents. (3) Just in the same way, what are called vices in the soul are nothing but privations of natural good. And when they are not transferred elsewhere: when they cease to exist in the healthy soul, they cannot exist anywhere else.

    I believe this provides insight into what is wrong with America today. It is a consumer culture, which has been taught Adam Smith’s doctrine that greed is good. America as a result has become too selfish to do good. In the absence of doing good, America is evil. This is the great fault of conservative economic philosophy, which may not be spoken of.

    The question then is: how do we steer America back to finding its soul?

    I think John F. Kennedy knew more about America’s soul than his enemies were and are willing to admit. In 1960, JFK said:

    The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder, who builds best when called upon to build greatly.

    Shortly after that, Kennedy committed the United States to putting a man on the moon.

    Leaving aside his assassination, and the assassinations of his brother Robert, and of Martin Luther King Jr., ever since the Apollo program was prematurely terminated, America’s soul has shriveled.

  • “Sully”, who’s done about the most abrupt and complete 180 on the Cheney administration, levels on the Donster:

    What Did Rumsfeld Know?

    The Pentagon top brass were given details and photographs from Abu Ghraib early on in an official investigation that began in January 2004. Yet on May 6, 2004, the Rumsfeld inner circle greeted the general who had provided them with the evidence months before thus:

    “Here … comes … that famous General Taguba—of the Taguba report!” Rumsfeld declared, in a mocking voice. The meeting was attended by Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s deputy; Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J.C.S.); and General Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, along with Craddock and other officials. Taguba, describing the moment nearly three years later, said, sadly, “I thought they wanted to know. I assumed they wanted to know. I was ignorant of the setting.”

    In the meeting, the officials professed ignorance about Abu Ghraib. “Could you tell us what happened?” Wolfowitz asked. Someone else asked, “Is it abuse or torture?” At that point, Taguba recalled, “I described a naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum, and said, ‘That’s not abuse. That’s torture.’ There was quiet.”

    The obvious explanation, of course, is much, much more plausible than Rumsfeld’s ludicrous grandstanding. It is that Rumsfeld knew what he had authorized – and knew the consequences.

    He had already revoked some of the torture techniques he had personally authorized and monitored at Gitmo; he understood the import of Abu Ghraib instantly; his first instinct was to cover it up; and when he realized that was impossible, his second impulse was to start acting as if he had never heard of any of this, and to maintain deniability by not looking at the Taguba report until the day before he was due to face the Congress. Our two choices are, as they have long been: incompetent or criminal? I’d say: both

    “Here I am,” Taguba recalled Rumsfeld saying, “just a Secretary of Defense, and we have not seen a copy of your report. I have not seen the photographs, and I have to testify to Congress tomorrow and talk about this.” As Rumsfeld spoke, Taguba said, “He’s looking at me. It was a statement.”

    You bet it was a statement. Rumsfeld is not dumb. he knew and knows the consequences of what he approved. He is a war criminal, subject to prosecution. And so the big lie – “we do not torture” – had to be followed by another big lie – “we never knew”.


    I can’t help thinking back to a few years ago, when Rummy was on top of his game, the press was fawning and salivating over his latest comments, massive bum-sucking all round. Remember…”the sexiest man in Washington…”? The Donster, lounging beside the podium in the Pentagon’s press room, his own pet poodle, Gen Myers, dumbly nodding his head at every fart issuing from Rummy’s bunghole, the media mesmerised. Sickening.

    “les Etats-unis, c’est le seul pays à être passé de la préhistoire à la décadence sans jamais connaitre la civilisation…”…Georges Clemenceau

  • EOM

    “les Etats-unis, c’est le seul pays à être passé de la préhistoire à la décadence sans jamais connaitre la civilisation…”…Georges Clemenceau

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