Saturday, July 29, 2006

Abu Ghraib: The Las Vegas of Iraq

From Media Matters:

... nationally syndicated talk-radio host Jay Severin criticized President Bush for calling the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal "a mistake," stating: "[W]e took terror prisoners, and we treated them essentially to a week in Las Vegas. I have to pay good money to have that done to me." Severin added of Abu Ghraib: "I didn't see anything that equates with torture being done in Abu Ghraib. ... [E]xplain to me what it is that was so terrible at Abu Ghraib, but the facts don't matter anymore, you know, they walked around naked. Big deal."
After reading this, I have to ask what Mr. Severin uses as his safe word. Obviously this man is into some really sick games.

It's absurdities like this that not only make me question people's morals, but make me question their intelligence. For example, waterboarding isn't something you do behind a speed boat on Lake Mead.

Donald Rumsfield may write "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours?" but he knows very well, or he should, that the comparison is absurd. Detainees are not given offices without chairs. What this implies is a deliberate PR spin, like that used in campaign ads to give the public a nice cozy feeling about actions that can easily turn deadly.

If the motive for torture is military intelligence then doing anything that threatens the life of the detainees threatens the ends being worked toward. If the detainees' lives are treated casually then we have no choice but to believe that the motive is NOT military intelligence.

To use the example from an earlier blogathon post, V. I confess: I am!

'You hold a terrorist who knows the location of a diffusable bomb which, if exploded, will kill x million people. Do you have the right to torture him/her to find the bomb?'
If we say yes, how do we justify killing the sources of information so valuable that ethics must be thrown out the window?

From Human Rights First

Most troubling among all of these cases are those we describe as detainees tortured to death, a number we put at 8-12. These are detainees who were beaten, suffocated, or otherwise died in circumstances meeting the definition of torture set out in the federal law banning the practice, which criminalizes acts “specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.”
Each of these deaths represents a setback in the war on terror. Either because we are losing valuable information or because these people were tortured simply to make us feel safer.

It isn't just those who have been charged with abuse who need to answer for the deaths of detainees, it is also those who created the environment where abuse is something people would pay for on a Las Vegas getaway and those who will buy that analogy because to do otherwise would be depressing.


Abu Ghraib: The Las Vegas of Iraq was written and first posted on the blogathon against torture to help raise money for Amnesty International USA.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:36 PM   0 comments links to this post


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