Those who have cared enough to keep tabs on what the Bush administration has unleashed in terms of treatment of prisoners in the war on terror will not be surprised at the latest report from McClatchy on Bagram in Afghanistan. And the denialists - who include almost the entire GOP blogosphere - will simply turn the page. But the shame endures:
American soldiers herded the detainees into holding pens of razor-sharp concertina wire, the kind that's used to corral livestock. The guards kicked, kneed and punched many of the men until they collapsed in pain. U.S. troops shackled and dragged other detainees to small isolation rooms, then hung them by their wrists from chains dangling from the wire mesh ceiling.
Former guards and detainees whom McClatchy interviewed said Bagram was a center of systematic brutality for at least 20 months, starting in late 2001. Yet the soldiers responsible have escaped serious punishment.
But why would they be punished when they are carrying out Bush policies? The president, meanwhile, continues what is either point-blank lying or terrifying denial:
"My only point to you is, is that yes, I mean, we certainly wish Abu Ghraib hadn't happened, but that should not reflect America. This was the actions of some soldiers."
The trouble with having someone with the rigid dry-drunk denial mechanisms of this president is that he simply cannot accept what he is: the first president in the history of the United States to have ordered his underlings to torture prisoners.
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