|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
In his 2004 report on Abu Ghraib, then-Major General Anthony Taguba concluded that "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees." He called the abuse "systemic and illegal." And, as Seymour M. Hersh reported in the New Yorker, he was rewarded for his honesty by being forced into retirement.
The new report, he writes, "tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individual's lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors.
"The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full-scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted --both on America's institutions and our nation's founding values, which the military, intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend.
"In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. . . .
In the piece quoted above, Dan Froomkin refers to this series of investigative reports by McClatchy newspapers -- a series that you must take the time to read. It is a devastating indictment of not just the Administration that perpetrated these crimes against humanity, but also of all of us. It's an indictment of a cowardly legislative branch that refuses to exercise its oversight role because its members are afraid of what a media that worships the bellicose hypermacho of the Bush Administration would say. It's an indictment of a frightened American population, too many of whom have applauded the torture in the name of retribution for 9/11. And it's an indictment of thosse of us who have been decrying torture since the beginning -- because we've been so spectacularly ineffective in somehow getting those whose job it is to put the brakes on this bunch of psychopaths that not looking the other way at these crimes is the right thing to do -- no matter what Chris Matthews says.