6/19/2007

General Antonio Taguba Gets Reamed By Abu Ghraib Politics:
One of the more interesting aspects of Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article on the Defense Department's ass reaming of Army Major General Antonio Taguba for daring to try to tell the truth about Abu Ghraib is that all the officials opposed to Taguba's diligence were such dicks to him. They didn't just want to stop Taguba; they wanted to humiliate him.

Look at what Taguba says about his first meeting with Donald Rumsfeld and various generals: "'Here . . . comes . . . that famous General Taguba—of the Taguba report!' Rumsfeld declared, in a mocking voice." Man, you get the gut-wrenching paranoia in that remark? See, you don't have to be a dick when you're assured in what you're doing. In poker, the worst kind of bluffing is to puff yourself up when all you're holdin' is jack-high. Then, in the amazing realm of plausible deniability, Rumsfeld kicks out the dick jams again, flat out lying to Taguba in order for them to get their stories straight, like any bunch of gang bangers: "Rumsfeld also complained about not being given the information he needed. 'Here I am,' Taguba recalled Rumsfeld saying, 'just a Secretary of Defense, and we have not seen a copy of your report.'" Goddamnit, even though he's like 900-years old, don't you just wanna kick Rumsfeld's ass on principle, like he's a date-raping frat boy, not feeling bad at all that those bones'll never fully heal?

All Taguba was telling Rumsfeld and his bootlickers, including Paul Wolfowitz, is that the United States had been torturing prisoners: "In the meeting, the officials professed ignorance about Abu Ghraib. 'Could you tell us what happened?' Wolfowitz asked. Someone else asked, 'Is it abuse or torture?' At that point, Taguba recalled, 'I described a naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum, and said, "That’s not abuse. That’s torture." There was quiet.'"

Even in the gym, Rumsfeld's lackeys couldn't help but try to bitchify Taguba. "Later in 2004, Taguba encountered Rumsfeld and one of his senior press aides, Lawrence Di Rita, in the Pentagon Athletic Center. Taguba was getting dressed after a workout. 'I was tying my shoes,' Taguba recalled. 'I looked up, and there they were.' Rumsfeld, who was putting his clothes into a locker, recognized Taguba and said, 'Hello, General.' Di Rita, who was standing beside Rumsfeld, said sarcastically, 'See what you started, General? See what you started?'" Beyond the cold sweat-inducing image of a nude Donald Rumsfeld, these assholes couldn't miss an opportunity to treat Taguba like shit.

And isn't that the whole key to what happened at that Hussein-era hellhole remade into an American-controlled hellhole? It wasn't enough to imprison the people there; they had to be made to regret ever having dared to think about opposing America. What Hersh's article tells us is not just that the decisions about the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib came from the highest levels of the Defense Department (and the Bush administration). It's that the very nature of the men who were creating the policy led naturally to the abuses. It's what they know. It's what they do. It's who they are. For if they can treat an American two-star general like a syphilitic camp follower, what chance did Iraqis have?