I've been angry and sick for months now about the widespread rape, sodomy, torture and killing of prisoners done in our name by US troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and in undisclosed locations we don't even know about. Except for low-level grunts caught on tape and one top figure (who says not without justification that she's the scapegoat), no one in command is being punished. Many in command have been given the Medal of Freedom, promotions and other awards. Many Americans have shrugged and said it's a war on terror and you have to fight hard. Well, you lose when you debase and abandon the principals that made this country great. You lose when our government can grab American citizens on American soil, throw them in a hole and insist that it never needs to answer to anyone ever about what we've done. These Orwellian tactics SHOULD cause an ongoing outcry.
But Bush, to his eternal shame, has made rape, torture and killing in the name of freedom commonplace, dull and in a quiet way even accepted.
It's very clear we now regularly send prisoners to countries we KNOW will torture and kill them to obtain information of dubious value. This washing of our hands is worthy of Pilate and hopefully Bush will be remembered equally with disdain.
The latest charming ally that we send prisoners to?
Uzbekistan. The New York Times reports:
Now there is growing evidence that the United States has sent terror suspects to Uzbekistan for detention and interrogation, even as Uzbekistan's treatment of its own prisoners continues to earn it admonishments from around the world, including from the State Department.
The so-called rendition program, under which the Central Intelligence Agency transfers terrorism suspects to foreign countries to be held and interrogated, has linked the United States to other countries with poor human rights records. But the turnabout in relations with Uzbekistan is particularly sharp. Before Sept. 11, 2001, there was little high-level contact between Washington and Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, beyond the United States' criticism.
Uzbekistan's role as a surrogate jailer for the United States was confirmed by a half-dozen current and former intelligence officials working in Europe, the Middle East and the United States. The C.I.A. declined to comment on the prisoner transfer program, but an intelligence official estimated that the number of terrorism suspects sent by the United States to Tashkent was in the dozens.
A pre-9-11 report by the State Departmen on Uzbekistan said:
The police repeatedly tortured prisoners, State Department officials wrote, noting that the most common techniques were "beating, often with blunt weapons, and asphyxiation with a gas mask." Separately, international human rights groups had reported that torture in Uzbek jails included boiling of body parts, using electroshock on genitals and plucking off fingernails and toenails with pliers. Two prisoners were boiled to death, the groups reported. The February 2001 State Department report stated bluntly, "Uzbekistan is an authoritarian state with limited civil rights."How can anyone take the US seriously when it claims its fighting for freedom and democracy? Bush supports a military coup in Venezuela because he finds the democratically elected leader annoying? Our allies in the Middle East are Saudia Arabia (the number one financial backer of terrorism around the world) and Pakistan (the number one spreader of nuclear weapon material and know-how)? And now UZBEKISTAN?
It's hard to stay angry. But Bush and a complacent American people are making it easy for me.