Saturday, July 23, 2005

You mean it gets worse?

The entire civilized world was shocked at the release of the Abu Ghraib photos. (The entire civilized world except for Rush Limbaugh, who said that it was no worse than a fraternity hazing.) I knew that we had only seen a small fraction of the existing photos, and that even more were scheduled to be released this week. I'm sure we would have been shocked all over again at more of the humiliation and sexual degradation that our brave soldiers subjected captured Iraqis to.

I didn't realize it was as bad at it was, though. The rest of the world has been talking about this sort of thing for a while now, which explains why we are so beloved across the face of the globe. A blogger over at Kos, points out a passage from an article from 2004: (no that's not a typo)

The unreleased images show American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys, according to NBC News. [emphasis mine]

These things sound horribly unlikely on their face. But think, if we'd heard a couple of years ago that American soldiers would have been convicted for naked pyramids of prisoners or for threatening prisoners with attack dogs, how many of us would have believed it?

We know that prisoners at Gitmo were "subjected to strip-searches with no security value." (Presumably that means body cavities and everything.) We know that at least one prisoner was forcibly sodimized with a glowstick at Abu Ghraib. Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller was sent from Gitmo to Abu Ghraib and told to "Gitmo-ize" it, where he told officers to "treat the prisoners like dogs." It's not clear whether that was meant literally or figuratively. It looks like the officers decided to do both.

Remember those additional pictures? The Bush administration is now refusing to obey a judge's order and release the photos. Why? We don't really know. The brief to the judge was sealed and even the ACLU, who brought the suit to gain access to the photos, doesn't know.

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