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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Rumsfeld said:

'The implication -- think of the people who read that around the world. First of all, our forces read it [reports of U.S. prison torture and official U.S. government sanction of the torture]. And the implication is that the United States government has, in one way or another, ordered, authorized, permitted, tolerated torture. Not true. And our forces read that, and they've got to wonder, do we? And as General Pace said, we don't. The President said people will be treated humanely, and that is what the orders are. That's what the requirements are.'

'Now, we know that people have done some things they shouldn't do. Anyone who looks at those photographs know that. But that's quite a different thing. And that is not the implication that's out there. The implication that's out there is the United States government is engaging in torture as a matter of policy, and that's not true. Think of the second group of people who see it. All those people in the region and in Iraq and in Afghanistan, that we need their cooperation, we need their help, the people in those countries, the people in the neighboring countries, and think how unhelpful that is for them to gain the inaccurate impression that that is what's taking place.'

'Third, think of the people who, for whatever -- whenever -- today, tomorrow, next year -- capture an American civilian or American military personnel and will use all those headlines about torture and the impact in the world that people think that's what's taking place, and use that as an excuse to torture our people. So this is a very serious business that this country's engaged in.'

Thus we get a one-two punch for today from disinformation's heaviest hitters -- George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. Note that he doesn't present any evidence, other than a vaguely-worded (more on that in a minute) statement by the President that the U.S. will treat people "humanely". What, exactly, does "humanely" mean to this administration? The White House Counsel legal opinion leaked by the Wall Street Journal goes to great lenghts to parse words. Note also how Rumsfeld's concentrating on the most public aspects of the abuse -- the photographs, the President's statemets, etc. These are not representative, though, of what's really going on. Let us remind our readers that there are currently 35 investigations into deaths of prisioners in both Iraq and Afghanistan. One U.S. citizen, who was posing as a detainee at Guantanamo, suffered head wounds so severe he had to be hospitalized. The photos are bad, but as Rumsfeld himself said the worst is yet to come.

For one thing, Seymour Hersh is writing a book about the issue due out in the fall. Robert Fisk is also writing a book, although that won't come out until next year. Josh Marshall of and an occasional Atlantic Monthly contributor has hinted on his blog that he's working on a big story which will (hopefully) come out in the near future. Rumsfeld can argue all he wants, as he does in the second paragraph from the quote above, about that the U.S. isn't "engaging in torture as a matter of policy", but it's true. The same can be said of Bush's accusations of ties between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. We're not sure how much longer these guys can keep it up, but either way they're already in a world of hot water. Come November, that hot water will most likely be boiling.

Andrew 5:45 PM : |


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