CURIOUSLY, EVERYONE WE WERE ABLE TO TALK TO CORROBORATED OUR VERSION OF EVENTS, WHILE EVERYONE WHO MIGHT CHALLENGE OUR PREDETERMINED CONCLUSION SEEMS TO BE UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT. OH, AND BY THE WAY, PANTIES PANTIES PANTIES.
A story in today's New York Times discusses a new report on prison abuse in Guantanamo:
The report was presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee by Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt of the Air Force, who conducted the investigation after e-mail messages between Federal Bureau of Investigation agents at Guantanamo and their superiors in Washington were disclosed in a lawsuit.
In the messages, the agents complained that they had seen abusive, possibly illegal behavior by military interrogators. They spoke of "torture techniques" and described detainees forced into uncomfortable positions for 18 to 24 hours at a time or left to soil themselves....
The story is titled "Report Discredits F.B.I. Claims of Abuse at Guantanamo Bay," but that depends on the definition of the word "discredits":
General Schmidt said that an accusation by an F.B.I. agent that detainees were deprived of food and water as part of an interrogation regimen could not be substantiated. He said the agent was difficult to find and was therefore not questioned by his staff. Similarly, he said that about 10 former interrogators could not be questioned as they were no longer in the military and declined to answer questions voluntarily.
The report also said investigators could not corroborate an incident recounted by an F.B.I. agent who said she saw a detainee shackled to the floor for hours, soiling himself and pulling out his hair.
Gosh, how convenient.
Ah, but there's also a Washington Post story on General Schmidt's report; it's titled "Abu Ghraib Tactics Were First Used at Guantanamo." That's an important point -- but, given that General Schmidt couldn't manage to find anyone who'd talk about truly brutal techniques, what we're talking about is the much-mocked nonviolent stuff:
Interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, forced a stubborn detainee to wear women's underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains, according to a newly released military investigation that shows the tactics were employed there months before military police used them on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Do I need to state the obvious? It's clearly been decided that there's essentially no downside to admitting to this kind of thing. The administration clearly believes that there's a red-blue split on the use of panties and dogs and leashes and menstrual blood and naked monkey piles -- that much of the country has no problem with this, and that if this is what's emphasized, a large percentage of the population will hear complaints of torture and gulags and think, What are you talking about? They just put panties on his head! The more people hear that torture = panties, the less they'll think about torture as chaining someone in the fetal position for 24 hours without food. So it actually helps the administration to admit to using panties.
Thus, I don't think it matters that the Post is confirming that Abu Ghraib's abuses weren't just the spontaneous invention of "a few bad apples." The real story here is torture = panties. It's now like an advertising jingle, and the administration is perfectly content if it's one America can't get out of its head.