This is simply a horrifying story. The Times broke it today and coming on the heels of the Newsweek fiasco it’s sure to make a stink. The stories told in here are terrible and hard to imagine. The first story is of a taxi driver who was picked up and tortured until he died. He spent the last days of his life hanging from the ceiling of his cell.
One prisoner was “made to pick plastic bottle caps out of a drum mixed with excrement and water as part of a strategy to soften him up for questioning.”
At the risk of sounding cynical, I don’t think these stories will stop coming. What we are engaging in is ugly and corrupt, and it turns these interrogators into ugly and corrupt people. In two, five, or ten years, whenever the people running this war decide enough is enough, we’re going to hear more hellish stories like this one. Yet the American public will probably be too concerned with who is the new Apprentice or who’s sleeping with Paula Abdul to pay much mind. Wasn’t the public more mobilized against Vietnam? Why the apathy? What do you think? Let’s get beyond the “distracted by spectacle” argument. What else is happening the makes us not care?
I think one answer is that these images and stories are so horrifying, but come from so far away that we can’t wrap our heads around them. These events seem to occur in another universe–yet our soldiers and their victims are real, and at least the soldiers come home to tell these stories and bear psychic scars.