They Never Learn

From today’s New York Times…first the good news:

Under a barrage of international and domestic criticism, the top American commander in Iraq has barred virtually all coercive interrogation practices, like forcing prisoners to crouch for long periods or depriving them of sleep, the Pentagon said Friday.

The commander, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, will still consider requests to hold prisoners in isolation for more than 30 days, according to a senior Central Command official who briefed reporters on Friday. The general has approved 25 such requests since October, the official said. But the official said that General Sanchez would deny requests to use other harsh methods.

“Simply, we will not even entertain a request, so don’t even send it up for a review,” the Central Command official said.

Then the bad:

The changes appear to affect only operations in Iraq, and would not change interrogation methods at the American base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, or in Afghanistan.

Given that allegations of murder, mistreatment, beatings and torture go back to the start of the war in Afghanistan–remember the treatment Johnny Walker Lindh received?–it’s not like our Afghan gulags should get a free pass. Ditto with Gitmo, where dozens of prisoners have already committed suicide after having been driven mad by U.S. interrogators. But the Bush Administration seems absolutely determined to stretch out the prison abuse scandal as long as possible.

The question is, will it make a difference in November? At this point, anyone who votes for George W. Bush tacitly admits they favor torture. Living next to such morality-deprived scum should make the skin of any red-blooded American patriot crawl.

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About Ted Rall

Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at, editor-in-chief of, a graphic novelist and author of many books of art and prose, and an occasional war correspondent. He is the author of the biography "Trump," to be published in July 2016.

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