Editors' Note: The image below contains violent and explicit images and video footage. NSFW and possibly a trigger.
I’ll be honest. I haven’t paid much attention to Bush’s lame “victory lap,” as the clock finally runs out on his administration. I have no more stomach for hearing the man speak than I ever did before. And certainly not to hear him prattle on about his “legacy.”
Maybe it’s because I spent a good bit of the holiday rearching videos about how and why the United States came to join the company of those state that practice and/or facilitate torture.
Maybe it’s hearing Bush describe the awfulness that was Abu Ghraib as a “disappointment.”
With the Iraq war in its sixth year, he most aggressively defended his decisions on that issue, which will define his presidency like no other. There have been over 4,000 U.S. deaths since the invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
But it was in that area that he also acknowledged mistakes. He said that “not finding weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment.” The accusation that Saddam had and was pursuing weapons of mass destruction was Bush’s main initial justification for going to war.
He also cited the abuses found to have been committed by members of the U.S. military at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq as “a huge disappointment.”
No, Mr. President. Abu Ghraib was not a “disappointment.” A disappointment is not getting what you wanted for the holidays, or being stood up on a date.
Abu Ghriab was a both a horrific human rights abuse and a defining moment for your administration.
(Update: Apparently, some of the images in my Abu Ghraib video were in violation of Veoh's TOS, and the video was deleted. Make of that what you will. The video is still available via OurMedia.Org.)
And remember that some 70% to 90% of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib were arrested by mistake. Some even supposedly picked up at random by U.S. troops.
Some of them were innocent, perhaps even many.
Some of them were even children. And some of those children had horrific experiences at Abu Ghraib.
After Donald Rumsfeld testified on the Hill about Abu Ghraib in May, there was talk of more photos and video in the Pentagon’s custody more horrific than anything made public so far. “If these are released to the public, obviously it’s going to make matters worse,” Rumsfeld said. Since then, the Washington Post has disclosed some new details and images of abuse at the prison. But if Seymour Hersh is right, it all gets much worse.
Hersh gave a speech last week to the ACLU making the charge that children were sodomized in front of women in the prison, and the Pentagon has tape of it. The speech was first reported in a New York Sun story last week, which was in turn posted on Jim Romenesko’s media blog, and now EdCone.com and other blogs are linking to the video. We transcribed the critical section here (it starts at about 1:31:00 into the ACLU video.) At the start of the transcript here, you can see how Hersh was struggling over what he should say:
“Debating about it, ummm … Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”
That horror has roots coming directly from your administration.
For you the disappointment is that you got caught. For the rest us, the disappointment is due to the reality that it happened at all.
The disappointment is that those responsible will most likely get away with it.