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The Indefinite Article.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Abu Ghraib and the Green Zone

One of the things that I have long thought is counter-intuitive is the Iraqi occupation using former regime structures, like the palaces for the administrators and Abu Ghraib for a prison. It smacks of bone-headed parsimony: "well, we got these great buildings that are secure and we may as well use them..." It is a clich? to say that the occupation leadership is lack-luster, but the use of former regime structures is abysmal choice. It seems to come more from lack of vision of alternatives rather than malice, but it is not inspiring to hear that those same palaces will become the US embassy when the occupation is over.

The AM radio personality Limbaugh is pretty off about the nature of crimes in Abu Graib. It is more akin to that movie with the banjos than the popular conception of collegiate hazing. For one, the perpetrators are country folk from West Virginia (i.e. not typical fraternity undergraduates); and two they came from an army reserve military police unit with members whose regular jobs were at prisons. From this week's New Yorker article:

Bobeck explained:What I got is that SSG Frederick and CPL Graner were road M.P.s and were put in charge because they were civilian prison guards and had knowledge of how things were supposed to be run.
Bobeck also testified that witnesses had said that Frederick, on one occasion, ?had punched a detainee in the chest so hard that the detainee almost went into cardiac arrest.?

The most awful truth of this thing will likely be that in Iraq we are seeing exposed to the world what incarcerated Americans face every day. Broom-handle in the butt? Abner Louima would say that it is nothing new in the USA.

On the other hand, the other clich? of a vast right-wing conspiracy is in high dudgeon. The hyped outrage should come as no surprise, but what amazes me is that the reports are nothing new, but for some reason the Abu Ghraib pictures changed things. I thought the KPFT commentators didn't pay attention to corporate media like 60 Minutes? Let's give a big Al-Hurrah for the corporate media acting as stenographers for the military's investigation of itself!


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