May 12, 2004

Every time things couldn't possibly get worse.

They do.

Here's the start of a Reuters story:

The U.S. Army general under investigation for anti-Islamic remarks has been linked by U.S. officials to the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, which experts warned could touch off new outrage overseas.

A Senate hearing into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was told on Tuesday that Lt. Gen. William Boykin, an evangelical Christian under review for saying his God was superior to that of the Muslims, briefed a top Pentagon civilian official last summer on recommendations on ways military interrogators could gain more intelligence from Iraqi prisoners.

Critics have suggested those recommendations amounted to a senior-level go-ahead for the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners, possibly to "soften up" detainees before interrogation -- a charge the Pentagon denies.

[For more about Gen. Boykin's earlier adventures, see this October 2003 post at Magpie.]

The continuing developments around the invasion and occupation of Iraq remind us more and more of the later years of the Vietnam War. We recall that there were a lot of stories floating around in the US left about awful things that our govermment was doing in Vietnam, or doing in Vietnam via its client regime in Saigon. As time passed, it not only turned out that these stories were true, but that the facts were much worse than the grimmest leftist paranoid imaginings.

As the facts come out about Dubya's military adventure in Iraq, we keep having the feeling that we've seen this all before. And that the legendary 'lessons of Vietnam' referred to so often by US politicians in the 1970s and 1980s were just that: legends.

Posted by Magpie at May 12, 2004 01:23 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |

These "Christians" who have never read the words of Christ are going to destroy us all.

Posted by: Ron In Portland at May 12, 2004 04:31 AM

Nail on the head. It would take a massive social science research project to verify, but it seems to me that every single public figure I remember who's made a big show of their righteousness has been later found to be involved in seriously unethical conduct. As Chris Rock would say, that train is never late.

But it isn't their fault, it's ours. If the public hasn't figured out yet that the people who talk the most about virtue usually have the least, then they've gotten the leaders they deserve.

Posted by: natasha at May 12, 2004 08:07 AM

The Alliance for Justice has launched a new website urging Justice Scalia to recuse himself from the Cheney energy case! Check it out: Scalia can recuse himself anytime before the Supreme Court renders its decision.
There is a great flash animation that goes with it too. You have to see "Quid Pro Quack" Duck'em!

Posted by: Natacha at May 12, 2004 09:37 PM

And the Pentagon and Bush administration both defended Boykin's 'right to free speech.' However - under the UCMJ, no such right exists for military folks (so to speak). Those families of soldiers who were complaining some months ago regarding conditions in Iraq, lack of body armor, lack of water, etc., used the same argument and were told, 'Uh-uh!'. So it works now?

Posted by: Kitt at May 12, 2004 11:24 PM