President Bush has angrily condemned the alleged treatment. The catalyst for the uproar: photos of prisoner abuse on "60 Minutes II" — followed by images in Middle East newspapers and the New York Times today.
Meanwhile, the New Yorker on May 10 will publish an article quoting a U.S. Army report the magazine obtained. It will allege "Iraqi detainees were subject to 'sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses' at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad." Newsday reports:
- The internal report detailed such abuses as pouring phosphoric liquid from chemical lights on detainees, pouring cold water on naked detainees and threats of rape, the magazine says in an article for its May 10 issue.
- Other mistreatment of prisoners included "beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair" and "sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick," the report said, according to the magazine.
According to Newsday, the magazine will report that the Army report written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and completed in February says the findings were based on "detailed witness statements and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence..."
There is wide ranging condemnation of the alleged abuses from politicians, op-ed writers, and Internet voices from every part of the political spectrum. And Arabs all over the world are absolutely livid.
Indeed, those most appalled seem to be the conservatives since such allegations about such tactics (one photo on one conservative website shows an Iraqi supposedly beaten to death by Americans) violates the underyling foundation behind U.S. efforts: to bring democracy to Iraq, instill American role-model values, and ensure that the era of the torture chambers is gone forever.
Conservative thinkers are clamoring for crystal-clear action.
For instance, law professor Glenn Reynolds, AKA InstaPundit, as usual has an exhaustive set of relevant links and quotes on this issue. But he makes his view clear in unmistakable terms about not only the alleged abuses but those who try to use it for political gain:
- Of course, it's not the same as Saddam's torture — which was a matter of top-down policy, not the result of assholes who deserve jail or execution, and will probably get one or both. As with other reported misbehavior, it should be dealt with very, very harshly. But those who would — as Senator Kerry did after Vietnam — make such behavior emblematic of our effort, instead of recognizing it as an abandonment of our principles — are mere opportunists.
War veteran Citizen Smash adds:
- We are most vulnerable when we suffer under the burden of tremendous stress — but the ultimate responsibility to resist Evil lies with every individual. Our soldiers sometimes do horrible things. Disgusting things. Cruel things. When they do, we must not hide from the truth. Those responsible must be identified, prosecuted, and punished appropriately. There must be a public accounting for these crimes.
Outraged conservative John Cole notes that these kinds of tactics coupled with photos will cost American lives:
- Do these soldiers understand how many of their brothers-in-arms they have just executed? Do they understand how many Improved Explosive Devices they just built? Do the recognize how many random grenade attacks they have just initiated? And on a simply human level- Have they no sense of fundamental decency? I am so ashamed. That is my uniform they are wearing.
Cole posts some truly revolting pictures of the abuse from this site.