Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The Real World: Abu Ghraib

I can't believe this is even subject to debate. The government doesn't want to release the videos that show what happened in Abu Ghraib when interrogators stopped being nice - and started getting REAL.

And the apologists are out in force saying that, of course they shouldn't be released, we already know what happened, plus you'll just be inflaming the bad guys who will use it to rile the arab street against us.

Well, too mother-loving bad. SHOULDN'TA DID IT IN THE FIRST GOD! DAMN! PLACE!!!!!

Billmon gets it partly right but he is uncharacteristically circumspect. Here's how the argument goes, and everyone with a conscience should be screaming it from the top of their lungs:

This administration and its defenders escaped accountability, both internationally and domestically, for what happened as a matter of policy in our - and I will say it - very own gulag archipelago. Their desire to stop the videos from being released has everything to do with domestic political considerations, not with the health or lives of our troops. They don't give a shit about our troops - if they did, they wouldn't still be insufficiently armed, and well god damn it they wouldn't have been sent into Iraq in the first place.

The American public needs to see who they voted for. They need to see the actions that they sorta-kinda knew about but refused to hold accountable during the November elections. They didn't want to know what happened in Abu Ghraib, the photos we saw were ultimately dismissed because beyond the initial shock value, they did not convey actual pain, actual torture. It was more performative torture, easily consumed and then forgotten about.

But it's not the whole of what happened. And without the videos, apparently, we will not be able to grasp the enormity. The Congress saw the video, and apparently was so sickened that they thought it better to drop the issue, to effectively hand it over to another non-independent committee named by the criminals in charge. They abdicated their oversight responsibility because, as we know, they have been thoroughly and utterly cowed by this administration - both the Republican and the Democrats. Hell, they confirmed Gonzales to be Secretary of State. So that's one branch down.

The electorate, as I mentioned, also abdicated its responsibility - to educate itself, to demand answers, and ultimately to vote out those responsible. Why? Bloodlust, near as I can figure.

The media? Bought.

So that leaves the judiciary. The judiciary that the right is doing everything in its power to discredit, coopt, undermine, and slander. It, apparently, is the only bastien of hope. Of rationality. Of accountability. Billmon does not envy Judge Hellerstein, but I do. He has a chance to be a hero - perhaps one of two or three in this whole ugly affair.

Judge Hellerstein? Let's roll.

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