Wednesday, May 05, 2004

More Torture

Look, I know I've been really harping on this subject a lot lately. In fact, I would probably highlight it as the kick in the pants I needed to start blogging with a bit more regularity. Give me a few days and I'm sure I'll be back to my normal self.

In the meantime, though, I wanted to use this post as a hearty "HEAR HEAR!" for what Matthew Yglesias has to say, er, here. He sums up extraordinarily well why this is not simply a black eye on the military brass and the accused soldiers (or, for that matter, the private contractors):

I'm a bit concerned at the tone of over-the-top bloodlust I'm hearing from some people regarding what they'd like to see done to the guilty soldiers here. Not that the parties in question deserve to get off lightly here, but I really feel they're being set up as suckers. After all, before any of this Abu Ghraib stuff came out, we knew the following. One: the US government sometimes shipped suspects off to foreign countries in order to have them tortured as a means of procuring information. Two: the US government has gone out of its way to maintain the claim that people detained in Iraq and Afghanistan should not be considered either prisoners of war with Geneva Convention protections or criminals with constitutional rights. Three: the US government wanted to procure information from the people detained at Abu Ghraib.

Now I seriously doubt an explicit order ever came down from on high saying, "sadistically torture these guys," but I'm not sure what other conclusion the people charged with handling the interrogations were supposed to draw from the top leadership's conduct other than that torture would be condoned as long as the people doing it didn't call attention to themselves.

Well said.