May 23, 2004

Refusing to say the 'T' word.

Adam Hochschild has an excellent article about how the US government and military has been calling what happened at Abu Ghraib anything but what it is: torture.

We found these paragraphs particularly compelling:

Some years ago, I heard a man who had narrowly escaped the death squads in El Salvador explain how deniability worked there. "The military will call a meeting of commanders," he said. "They will say, `You know, this man David X is getting to be a threat to us.' Then the commanders, when they have their meetings with their own officers, they'll say, `You know, today we heard of this man who's making a lot of trouble for us.' Then when those officers meet with the sergeants, his name will be floated again. And you can assume David X will soon be dead."

Shortly afterward I interviewed a general who had some of the most notorious Salvadoran death squads under his command. Death squads? Orders for executions? Of course not! He showed me a loose-leaf notebook, carefully listing complaints of human rights abuses with a chart showing how each case had been investigated.

Pentagon officials doubtless have their own versions of that general's loose-leaf notebook to show to human rights investigators. Obviously, no coded orders, suggestions or hints given to the Abu Ghraib prison guards will appear in them. And, no, these were not orders for deaths but they were for actions similarly beyond the law.

Via NY Times.

Posted by Magpie at May 23, 2004 03:15 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |

That is the way cultures operate. In a culture of systemic abuse, anyone on an enemies list is fair game. There is a lot of parallel between the thinking of fanatical right wingers here and those who loosed the death dealers in South America.


Posted by: Scorpio at May 23, 2004 04:32 PM