Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Torture: OK. Talking About It: No.

Apparently, it's okay for the U.S. Army to torture. The trick is that you just can't tell the media about it. The only crime Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan committed, according to his court martial verdict, is talking about the then-ongoing investigation into the activities at Abu Gharib. Using dogs on a detainee? OK. Stripping Muslim detainees nude? OK (imagine if Sunni's did that to a virgin twenty-something woman from Texas...). Not stopping your subordinates (NB: not superiors) from doing these things? OK.

Just be quiet about it.

At a time when Alberto Gonzales is being chastised as though he were humanity's sole architect of torture, we'd do well to keep stories like these in our heads. Torture is not an act of a few bad apples (remember My Lai and the ensuing flurry of congressional and courts martial, anyone?), but rather the conscious policy of an aggressive imperialism. And besides, you can get away with it, too.