May 13, 2004
How disgusting does the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal have to get before some Republicans take it seriously?
First there was the ever-reliable Rush Limbaugh, saying that the sadistic treatment was like a "college fraternity prank" and that our soldiers needed "to blow some steam off."
Then there was Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who said, infamously, that he was "more outraged about the outrage" than about the abuse and torture itself.
Now comes Tom DeLay, House Majority Leader, who says, "Some people are overreacting."
The Taguba Report cited the following sadistic and abusive actions by U.S. soldiers: "Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee."
As many as 10 detainees have died under U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan under suspicious circumstances.
And, according to press reports, the photos that members of Congress recently saw showed male prisoners being forced to engage in homosexual sex or forced to degrade themselves sexually with foreign objects. Women were allegedly forced to expose their breasts. And one prisoner had a rope around his waist and was apparently being pulled into a door until he collapsed. Other photos showed dogs snarling at prisoners, and some prisoners "appeared to have dog bite wounds and abrasions," the New York Times reported.
Not to be outraged by this behavior, to minimize it or trivialize it, is to show the worst disregard for human decency.
Is this the message Republicans really want to be sending?