What The Right Used To Believe

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“We admit to looking forward to a fair trial of the accused [at Abu Ghraib] followed by their harsh punishment. They have endangered any American unlucky enough to find himself at the mercy of our enemies in the war on terror. They have impeded our progress in that war. More fundamentally, they traduced their mission, betrayed their fellow soldiers, and disgraced their country. Anyone up or down the chain of command who was criminally complicit should be prosecuted, too … There’s only one way to drain this poison, and it isn’t further breast-beating, from the administration or its foes. Bring on the trials, and the punishment,” – Richard Starr, for the editors, Weekly Standard.

“What was done [at Abu Ghraib] was against 1) regulations, 2) army convention, and 3) civilized tradition. What do the reformers want? Pre-induction courses for U.S. soldiers in which they are told not to strip and torture captives and photograph them naked? Should there be, also, a course on how they should not fire guns at their own officers? Is there nothing that can be taken for granted?” – William F Buckley Jr. who at the time did not realize that these techniques had been authorized by the president himself.

“The principle is: The response by the nation’s government must express horror, shame and contrition proportional to the evil done to others, and the harm done to the nation, by agents of the government. Americans are almost certainly going to die in violence made worse in Iraq, and not only there, by the substantial aid some Americans, in their torture of Iraqi prisoners, have given to our enemies in this war. And by the appallingly dilatory response to the certain torture and probable murder committed in that prison. The nation’s response must, of course, include swift and public prosecutions. And the destruction of that prison. And punctilious conformity to legal obligations — and, now, to some optional procedures — concerning persons in American custody,” – George F Will. in a column called “No Flinching From The Facts.”

How far they have all fallen. Where is the CIA’s expression of “horror, shame and contrition” today? And what has been revealed in the Senate report is far worse than what happened at Abu Ghraib – and stems from the very same executive branch decisions.

(Illustration from Foreign Policy)