Well I’ve been wanting to say something about this whole Abu Ghraib “prison abuse” (torture) scandal for a while, but what exactly can you say that is not obvious or that has not already been said by some other asshole? Well, hopefully I’ll come up with a few things.
First off, let’s get this out of the way: NO FUCKING WAY is this just the work of six or seven numbnuts soldiers. Yes, those people are scumbags who clearly enjoyed what they were doing and should go to (regular) jail for following unlawful orders. But I’m sorry, I’m not a fucking retard, I’m not buying this bullshit. No bottom of the totem pole grunt is going to be stacking up naked prisoners, raping people with glowsticks, setting dogs on people, attaching wires to people’s dicks AND posing for hilarious novelty photos next to the victim, if they are worried they might be found out. These people were comfortable. There were apparently intelligence people shown in at least one photo, and there were CIA people at the prison. I wonder which one of these six acting alone bad apples brought along the electrodes, hoods, whips and chains? And how did they know so much about the best ways to humiliate Arabs?
Sure enough we now find out from Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker and somebody else in Newsweek that this was an extension of a secret program of torture and sexual humiliation that was being used against terrorists in Afghanistan, now being offered for the average Iraqi on the go swept up at random and locked up for months without recourse. It’s a program signed off on by everybody going all the way up to the number 2 man, Bush, designed to get information out of high risk terrorists but used on old ladies who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when we invaded the wrong country for the wrong reasons. Welcome to democratic Iraq.
Clearly this is what was expected to go on there and a lot of people had no problem with it. Rumsfeld was very telling in his testimony when he seemed to have no idea that the actual torture, raping of children, etc. was the problem. He thought the problem was that there were photos. That was all he kept going on about. “Yes, I knew this was going on but it’s not my fault, because I hadn’t SEEN the photos.” Of course, there were already reports by the Red Cross and if you’ve been paying attention there was even a story in the AP long ago interviewing former prisoners about the atrocities going on there. So once again we have that wonderful choice: we have to either believe our leaders are completely inept and don’t even read the fucking newspaper let alone follow up on reports, or (more likely) that they just didn’t care.
I’ve already heard interviews with two Iraqis (and I’m sure there are more) who took the Abu Ghraib Challenge: they were locked up for subversion against Saddam and then for who the fuck knows against Bush. And both of them chose Saddam as the not-as-bad torture. That’s not looking too good for America when you’re torturing people worse than Saddam. And this was not just happening at Abu Ghraib. We’d already heard stories from prisoners in Afghanistan and Guantanamo. Now that this scandal has hit the stories are coming out everywhere, from civilians in front of Michael Moore’s camera crew, to employees of Reuters and NBC, to Iraqi police!
I will go one step further to say that this shit is not new. Maybe these specific tortures are some new innovations in depravity, I’m not sure, but I’m afraid that the military, yes including ours, has a long history of human rights abuses. That’s what war is about. Go find a veteran from any war and they’ll tell you stories at least about other soldiers dropping people out of helicopters, taking “souvenirs”, burning down villages, etc. Even talk to the youngsters who were “peacekeepers” between the two Iraq wars, you hear stories about giving thirsty Somalians bottles of water with bleach in them or hitting hungry people on the head with the butt of a rifle just for yuks. It’s a large part of the culture of the military, where you are mentally conditioned from boot camp on not to think of your “enemy” as human. (Not just in the US, obviously – but the tv matrix wants you to believe it’s everywhere BUT the US.)
And the Bush regime has made this worse with their shameless post 9-11 propaganda. You know the routine: It’s a new kind of war and we need to take a new approach. It doesn’t matter what the UN thinks (they never get anything done), it doesn’t matter what the American people think (that’s like using focus groups!), it especially doesn’t matter what EVERY FUCKING OTHER COUNTRY ON THE WHOLE GOD DAMN PLANET thinks (they’re just jealous of our giant military penis), we know our cause is just and we must act now to defend ourselves from a small time dictator in a tiny country on the other side of the planet who at any moment could give invisible weapons of mass destruction to terrorists that he doesn’t get along with. The Constitution doesn’t apply to our own citizens because they are “enemy combatants,” the Geneva Conventions don’t apply to the prisoners from our wars because they are not official Prisoners of War. We will shock you and awe you and topple your statues and live in your mansions and smoke your cigars and go door to door rounding up suspicious people to put in your prisons. We will spend over a hundred billion dollars on destroying you, even when our own economy is in a shambles, just to freak your shit out. We’ll let you plow through our soldiers without even showing their coffins on TV and when we run low on soldiers we’ll send in thousands of mercenaries and when you drag them through the street we will invade your town and massacre anything that moves (but not mention that part on TV, because it’s so insignificant to us) and we WILL have our revenge for what you did to my daddy and, uh…
oh yeah but we totally didn’t mean for our soldiers to be torturing the people they rounded up. Oh my! This is appalling. Why, I was so SURE we had closed down Saddam’s “rape rooms” that I always talk about. Well, this is embarassing. When I first heard about this I was so upset I couldn’t even do anything about it at all for months, including notifiying congress, until after the pictures were shown on 60 Minutes 2: The Revenge. That’s how shaken I was. But now I’ve regained my composure and now, NOW, we WILL bring to justice those six or seven lone wolf bad apples who did this completely on their own with no knowledge, encouragement, culpability or responsibility falling on anyone else at all. Unless you can pin this on Bill Clinton somehow. We’re working on that one.
I loved how Rumsfeld said he would only resign if he became inneffective, right after he spent hours claiming he had no idea this was going. You can’t have it both ways, Rummy. Either you’re a useless incompetent boob or you knew what was going on. Make up your mind.
BLOWING OFF STEAM
Now, I don’t care if you’ve been a republican your whole life, and you’re 400 years old, there’s no way you can be a reasonable person and really believe in this administration at this point. There is a point when you have to go wait a minute dude, you’re kind of an asshole, we don’t want you in our treehouse anymore. It’s the same as with Rumsfeld. Either you purposely let these crimes go on or you clearly have no fucking clue how to lead a country (or read a newspaper).
I mean I just can’t comprehend how they even do it. I understand not wanting to think your guy is a loser. Let me give an analogy. I like Michael Jackson. The dude can fucking dance. “Off the Wall” – not too bad an album. Sure he’s a weirdo, but I like a good weirdo. He’s like Marlon Brando in THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. As long as he’s not hurting anyone he’s cool.
But then he gets accused of molesting a kid and I start going uh oh, I hope Michael didn’t really do it. And he pays off the kid and I try to explain it away – I ask myself why would any parent accept the money over a conviction if their kid was really molested? But on the other hand why would Michael settle out of court if he didn’t do it? And then he hangs his baby off a balcony and I’m thinking Michael, what the fuck are you doing man? And then he gets accused again and I really, really want to believe they’re just railroading him because he’s a weirdo. And I try to believe it. And I still hope it’s true. But I still find myself thinking oh Jesus Michael, what is your nose gonna look like after 20 years in the can?
The Bush regime did more than molest a kid. What do these phrases bring to mind:
election 2000, felon purge, secret energy task force, Enron, Halliburton, story about goats, yellowcake, Valerie Plame, weapons of mass destruction, “dead or alive,” charter flights for bin Ladens, Patriot Act, caravan of death, no one could ever have imagined planes used as weapons, I mispoke, no 9-11 commission, Henry Kissinger on 9-11 commission, stonewalling 9-11 commission, refusing to testify to 9-11 commission, only testify for 1 hour, okay I’ll testify but not under oath and with Cheney and only one guy can take notes but nobody can record it, mission accomplished, bring ’em on, made in the USA, weapons related program activities?
And that’s only the beginning. These fuckers clearly do not pass the Michael Jackson test, and I don’t think I will ever understand how they have lasted this long, because I refuse to believe that my country is THAT stupid. With the acrobatics that have to be performed in the brain of a faithful republican to justify all this shit, I expect all their heads to start popping like balloons by the time commander in chief touches down for his triumphant appearance at the convention in New York. I predict it will be a cakewalk and they will be greeted by flowers and candy, and New Yorkers dancing in the streets.
The most amazing thing of all is the people who are willing to actually defend the torture and cornholing of the Iraqi prisoners. Even Bush won’t do that publicly. But that didn’t stop Rush Limbaugh from comparing it to hazing and saying the soldiers were just “blowing off steam.” You know, boys will be boys. They’re just kids having a good time, who sometimes like to take people prisoner, force them to take off their clothes and masturbate on video and then pile them up into a naked ass-pyramid and pose next to it mugging and thumbs-upping. I mean you had to be there I guess, but it was hilarious.
After Bush announced that “justice will be done” I wonder why Limbaugh didn’t go after him for being too hard on these innocent kids just blowing off steam in the rape room?
Oh well, forget that douchebag – what’s scarier is that even after this there are nutballs out there who think we should be more lenient about torture and degradation. I swear on the passion of the Christ I saw the bastards at Fox news just the other day doing a report about “Should the CIA really have to keep the kid gloves on when dealing with dangerous terrorists?” It was bad enough when you assholes were saying this shit before, but RIGHT AFTER a report about what was going on at Abu Ghraib? Do you know what “raping juvenile prisoners” means? Not okay for Michael, but you want it to be the official policy of the United States? You people are unbelievable. If that’s the way you feel maybe you should write it on a glowstick and shove that bitch far up your ass. And take a picture of it. You’ve earned it, Fox News. God Bless America.
Anyway after all this, I now believe more than ever that we have to end this fucking war immediately. A few weeks ago I thought there was no way this situation could ever be solved militarily, but after THIS? Even if it really was a few bad apples, how would YOU feel as a “liberated” Iraqi? Would you trust americans after seeing those pictures? Would you want them in your country?
John Kerry (who you non-felons should still vote for, because he’s not Bush*) and many other democrats are repeating this Karl Rove bullshit about “we need to stay the course” and “if we leave now it will make it even worse.”
Well I’m sorry, but there will be an Iraqi civil war no matter if we leave now or 250 years from now. The new Iraq cannot begin until we leave. As long as there are american soldiers in Iraq, there will be roadside bombs and suicide bombs and rocket propelled grenades and worse. To claim otherwise is willful ignorance. Maybe you also believe this whole Israeli-Palestine thing will blow over, but you, uh, mispoke. That small amount of welcoming as liberators we got, that was it boys. Don’t expect that if you hang around long enough, they’ll start loving you again.
No Iraqi government that is chosen by the US, or with help by the US, or even endorsed by the US, ore perceived to be endorsed by the US, will be seen as legitimate. Not by Iraqis and not by most of the world.
Of course, to leave now (or on June 30th, as I’m starting to consider a possibility) would be embarassing. It would mean we, the unstoppable giant military penis of death, can’t do everything we want. It would mean that we were the stormtroopers with those giant robot walkers, and the Iraqis were the Ewoks with the sticks and rocks. It would give us another national hangover like Vietnam. It would make it harder to get public support for starting new wars for a few years. It would make Bush look like a loser in the history books instead of a maniac.
This is an administration that never, ever admits it is wrong, an administration that has never apologized until very recently when it was forced into half-apologizing for the Abu Ghraib rape room fiasco. Obviously saving face is very important to these guys, so I got a perfect way for them to save face. I am speaking of course of seppuku, the ritual suicide that was popular among samurais in feudal Japan. It was considered a good way to make up for disgrace and defeat, and sometimes the only honorable path. I guarantee if Bush goes up there in front of Congress and cuts himself open without flinching, it will be praised around the world. “I very seldom agree with Bush’s policies, but I must give credit where credit is due. I fully support the president in disemboweling himself, he did a terrific job and I feel proud to be an American on this historic day.”
Even those sick fucks in the various terrorist groups would probaly give it up to Bush. He would no longer be AWOL George, he would always be remembered for the seppuku and he could legitimately be considered a bad motherfucker.
I know it might be a little weird but I think it is worth trying. Or maybe I’ve just been watching too many samurai movies. But I doubt it.
Anyway, thanks for reading, more soon.
*have you noticed how right wig pundits say that you can’t run a campaign on Bush being bad, you have to explain why the opponent is good… and yet they supported overthrowing Saddam without having any clue who would replace him?
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.