:: Friday, 14 January 2005 ::
Spending a lazy Sabato pomeriggio (that is Satdy afternoon, for you skippies) reading through Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish blog, looking for actual linky evidence of the constant assertion he has taken to making:
5 dead and 130 convictions gained cos of torture carried out by the US.
Looking, looking, looking, but no real success. My search has not been superdupa thorough, but I have tried to capture every post back to the start of November 05.
I have read the linked Heather MacDonald v Marty Lederman exchanges.
And the Publius 'case for Conservative Outrage' linked post too. And of that, a Phil Carter post with lots of linky referencing as well.
I read Sullivan's lengthy piece in the New York Times reviewing "The official government and Red Cross reports on prisoner torture and abuse, compiled in two separate volumes, ''The Abu Ghraib Investigations,'' by a former Newsweek editor, Steven Strasser, and ''Torture and Truth,'' by a New York Review of Books contributor, Mark Danner, are almost numbingly exhaustive in their cataloging of specific mistakes, incidents and responsibilities. Danner's document-dump runs to almost 600 pages of print, the bulk of it in small type. The American Civil Liberties Union has also successfully engineered the release of what may eventually amount to hundreds of thousands of internal government documents detailing the events."
The 'Abu Ghraib Investigations' book, by the way, has the interesting sub-head:
The Official Report of the Independent Panel and Pentagon on the Shocking Prisoner Abuse in Iraq. Edited by Steven Strasser.
Sounds like a real shock pulpy page turner, no?
I have also read the unlinked (I think, cos I could not see them anywheres) substantive Taguba, Jones & Fay, and Schlesinger reports.
In all, what did I find via Sullivan? A LA Times article, a Washington Post article, and AP news link, maybe a couple (and I mean that - a couple only) other news links. I got a bit more out of Publius and Phil Carter.
But what I did find was a bunch of bought-it-hook-line-and-sinker reliance, albeit unlinked, to the International Committee for the Red Cross and the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International.
Sullivan, beautiful writer and passionate man, has fallen into the trap of seeing barbarism everywhere, even where there is none. This makes everything barabric, and nothing barbaric at the same time.
It happened in Oz with the Red Cross and other squealers about the non-gulaginess of our perfectly-decent illegal entrant detention centres.
It happened in Oz about our non-genocide of non-stolen well-less-than-a-single-generation of Oz half-white/half-Aborigines.
They squealed so fricking hard and long about things that did not deserve long squealing - things that were not as barbaric as they said, or even close to it - that now they cry wolf and decent folks like me and my mum cannot be asked to care what they have to say about anything.
And it is happening now over torture.
I reckon Prof Reynolds is on the money when he worries that the hysteria will drive real considerations out of view, so the true effect of torture is not properly determined.
Anyhoo, back to the question: 5 dead 130 convictions.
Cannot for the life of me find the 130 cos my google search goes round to find Sullivan's entry, and Sullivan's link is an expired yahoo news page.
But the 5 dead. That has been known about since May 19, 2004.
In the Denver Post.
Which Sullivan linked to.
And he characterised the deaths as 'mistreat(ment of) captives' back then.
But now, they are 'abuse and torture'. And the end of America's moral authority blah blah blah, you know the current tone.
No more deaths since May 2004.
Good work. So why the continued hysteria?
And this guy convicted and facing a long jail term.
Justice done and seen to be done.
A congrats to US justice working well from Andrew will hopefully (and I believe so) be forthcoming any minute.
For me, those reports are the serious deal. And they sure do read pretty awful. But less awful for me than Brett Easton Ellis's 'American Psycho'. Know why? Cos the folks in Ellis's sick vision were complete innocents and their torturer had no motive, no rationale, no nothing.
But there is war on terror going on and there has been a war in Iraq.
And the enemy is invariably out of uniform, reliously maniacal, misogynist, and all over useless to the advancement of anything on the planet or to the planet's history.
And Oz and the US and UK and Italy and Japan and others, even the French and Germans are not blase about sorting the true villains from the crazies, and the wrong place, wrong time folks. The innocents.
Our side is concerned to do right.
That reality changes, not everything, but an awful lot. It makes me not feel so hysterical about torture as Human Rights Watch et al.
It does not make me blase about it.
I do not want to hear of any Oz soldier ever ever being engaged in substantial beatings (a smack is no big deal), rape, sodomy, drowning, asphixiation. You know. You do. Skin being broken, teeth, eyes, hearing, tongues. Yetcht. You know. I do not want my military to behave like Laurence Olivier in The Running Man.
But they can go up to that line if they feel they gotta.
To protect me.
Anyhoo, enuff with the tomey business. Short and punchy that is what blogs is all about, right?
:: WB 11:12 pm [link+] ::