Andreas Whittam Smith – Blair is another Chamberlain – in denial and wrong: If the British didn’t wish to be led by an appeaser in the Second World War, then they might well come to a similar conclusion today and say that a prime minister in denial about the causes of a crisis isn’t the right leader to see us through to a successful conclusion. It is worth asking, then, what is the nature of Mr Blair’s refusal of reality. My guess is that Mr Blair is saying something like this to himself; “If I admit error, I’m done for; the best way of staying in power is to bluff it out”. For consider what confessing that the invasion of Iraq was a colossal mistake would mean for the Prime Minister. He would have to accept that scores of British soldiers had died for no good cause. He would have to take responsibility for the deaths of perhaps 25,000 Iraqi civilians. He would have to own up to having led this country into an illegal war. He would have to concede that Iraqi troops and police are as far away as ever from taking responsibility for law and order. He would have to see that civil war is more likely than a constitution. He would have to tell himself that he was wrong to trust President Bush with Britain’s security. And he would have to live with the fact that he had taken this country into an alliance that routinely practises torture.
(Salon 15 July 2004) – Hersh: Children sodomized at Abu Ghraib, on tape: “Debating about it, ummm … Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”
But not if George W. Bush can help it…
New York Times – Government Defies an Order to Release Iraq Abuse Photos: Lawyers for the Defense Department are refusing to cooperate with a federal judge’s order to release secret photographs and videotapes related to the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. The lawyers said in a letter sent to the federal court in Manhattan late Thursday that they would file a sealed brief explaining their reasons for not turning over the material, which they were to have released by yesterday. The photographs were some of thousands turned over by Specialist Joseph M. Darby, the whistle-blower who exposed the abuse at Abu Ghraib by giving investigators computer disks containing photographs and videos of prisoners being abused, sexually humiliated and threatened with growling dogs.
Billmon – Film Noir: If you recall the political bruises Bush took for being against the 9/11 commission before he was for it, and the wonderful platform it gave Richard Clarke to deliver his indictment of the administration’s asleep-at-the-switch approach to terrorism before 9/11, and the embarrassing wrangling it produced over who would testify and under what conditions (public or private, separately or together) you’d think the administration would gladly avoid the risk by endorsing McCain and Graham’s proposals. They aren’t asking for much: Just a few amendments to the Defense Authorization Act, which would only codify the policies the Pentagon has already adopted in the post-Abu Ghraib era. Plus a ban on the practice of hiding “ghost prisoners” from the Red Cross. But the fun’s gone out of that game anyway. And McCain’s amendments would only apply to the DoD. So the CIA could go right on waterboarding away, if Porter Goss had a mind to. But torture is a matter of principle to this administration, and it looks like the White House is going to pull out all the stops (and maybe a few fingernails) to preserve in full the executive branch’s God-given authority to violate the Geneva Convention and the International Convention Against Torture.
It has often been said that Britons have an extraordinary ability to fly into a great calm, but I do wonder how long it’s going to take before we put our foot down over this ‘war’ on terror and the methods used, tolerated and condoned by the Blair government… methods that are both immoral and impractical.
You’ll want to think about speaking out soon, folks… there are many more servings of “Shut the fuck up!” to come.