It's all so old news isn't? One of the more appalling aspects of the president's current cheery, goofy demeanor is that he has clearly sealed off from any psychological absorption that he is and will always be the president who authorized and enforced a new torture regime - torture that, despite all the spin, spread like wildfire after given permission at the top, and involved far, far more than "three" waterboarding sessions. Read Philip Gourevitch's and Errol Morris's profile of Sabrina Harman, the woman behind the camera at Abu Ghraib, in the current New Yorker. These were no rogue improvisers; they were implementing policy - as the torture and murder and rapes in almost every theater of combat and every branch of the armed services are now a matter of the historical record. An excerpt:
“You also had stress positions, and you escalated the stress positions,” Davis said. “Hand-cuffs behind their backs, high up, in very uncomfortable positions, or chained down. Then you had the submersion. You put the people in garbage cans, and you’d put ice in it, and water. Or stick them underneath the shower spigot naked. They’d be freezing.” It was a routine, he said: “Open a window while it was, like, forty degrees outside and watch them disappear into themselves . . . before they go into shock.”
The Gestapo and Stalin techniques - excruciating stress positions, imposed and brutal hypothermia, extended sleep deprivation of the kind Menachem Begin once decrobed as the worst of all torments, sexual abuse, beatings - all these were enforced not just at Abu Ghraib but at Camp Cropper, Bagram, Gitmo and many other informal detention centers, and authorized and overseen by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. and as so often they never are held accountable. That's what low-level grunts are for, isn't it? Again:
The abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was de facto United States policy. The authorization of torture and the decriminalization of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of captives in wartime have been among the defining legacies of the current Administration; and the rules of interrogation that produced the abuses documented on the M.I. block in the fall of 2003 were the direct expression of the hostility toward international law and military doctrine that was found in the White House, the Vice-President’s office, and at the highest levels of the Justice and Defense Departments.
These are the guilty men.