When I first saw the images and read Seymour Hersh’s now-legendary article describing in horrible and terrifying detail the barbarous practices that some members of the US military were carrying out on Iraqi prisoners– acts which were carried out, as we now know and many of us even then suspected, under the direct supervision of military intelligence and with the tacit, if not explicit, authorization of some of the highest-level commanders in the military chain—I felt quite literally ill.
My most immediate reaction, as I recall, was the thought that this was IT; the end of the war as well as the Bush administration and everything that it stood for. I felt absolutely certain that a nation like the US, which had experienced the agonies and the brutalities of Vietnam only a generation or so previously and which withdrew troops from Somalia because it supposedly “could not tolerate civilian casualties”, would have had more than its fill of crude violence and wanton killing in the name of “nation building”. Boy, was I wrong!!
My next sensation was one of deep shame and depression to the point of nihilism. I kept looking at those photographs and every time I looked my flesh creeped and my skin burned with humiliation at the callousness and sadism of Lyndie England and her fellow troopers.
Now I have never been a naive person. I consider myself fairly well-read in history and I am well-aware of the profound savagery that human nature is capable of, as illustrated precisly in that history. But was this really happening now, in Iraq, during an alleged mission of liberation and democracy-building? As an expatriate, how could I continue to hold my head up and look in the faces of the Italians around me who had been seeing the same images and hearing the same shocking stories repeatedly in the media. It was hard to miss the disgust and disdain in their eyes as I passed by the local newstand to pick up a newspaper or an icecream. I wanted to disappear down a hole and come back when this thing had passed over.
It has now been a year since those photographs were published and the news of those shocking events was revealed to the eyes of the world. During that time, Bush was reelected President of the United States and the war has continued to rage with no end in sight.
I’ve often wondered if those Americans who supported the war have not at last moderated their enthusiasm for the blood-letting and outrageous violation of human rights that have been indissolubly associated with it.
Then, this morning I wake up and read this:
[M]ake no mistake about it, they are celebrating this. I just want to warn you, by the time you get to the afternoon shows on cable, and the nighttime shows on cable, Abu Ghraib will be portrayed as if it happened yesterday. We will be getting retrospectives. They will show us the pictures again, and they will go through all of the people they think personally ordered it from Alberto Gonzalez to George W. Bush. I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to revive the National Guard story within some context with this. But, it’s just so illustrative. In fact, Mary Mapes was the producer of the Abu Ghraib story. It was Mary Mapes who got the Abu Ghraib pictures. Somebody in the Defense Department leaked them to her. It was the same show, 60 Minutes Wednesday that ran the first pictures, and the New York Times caught up with it and bammo! They were out on the blocks with it. And so, you’re going to see media celebration today with the sad one year anniversary of Abu Ghraib.
CALLER: Just to keep you with the season, I want to wish you a Happy Abu Ghraib. And I apologize that I didn’t get my Abu Ghraib present in the mail. I was wondering what I could get you for Abu Ghraib this year and how are you going to decorate your Abu Ghraib tree sir?
RUSH: You want to know what to get me for Abu Ghraib? You know what? That is a good question. I don’t really want anything for Abu Ghraib. The Democrats, that is who we need to get presents for. One thing, have you thought about handcuffs? Those have multiple uses for Democrats. A whip. You know, to go along with the handcuffs. Dawn says a good present would be to give a Democrat a digital camera so that he or she can document their own atrocities. All you have to take it to a Madonna concert. You got the whips, and the handcuffs and chains right there on stage and people are paying for this.
CALLER: They may have military intelligence, Rush. Who knows?
RUSH: That is a great question. What kind of gift to give Democrats here on the anniversary of Abu Ghraib. I’m glad you called, Christopher.
We’ll think of more as they, as they come up. You know, you might give them a little pyramid game, something that is in the shape of a pyramid. Wire tap kit. Could borrow that. Ted, actually could borrow one from Raymond Reggie, a wire tap kit. What else? Autographed picture of Mary Mapes. Boy, if you could score, come up with an autograph of Mary Mapes, she’s the mother of the Abu Ghraib scandal. Jumper cables. A pair of jumper cables–superb idea, Mr. Maimone. And these are things we all have lying around the house, folks. Just get rid of it. It is junk. Give them a German shepherd. Oh, yeah, a German shepherd dog, little German shepherd puppy. You can train yourself.
It is Abu Ghraib Day. Senator Kennedy issued a statement, Democrats celebrating the one year anniversary of the Abu Ghraib scandal. I don’t know how I forgot this. Obviously, at the top of the gift list has to be women’s underwear. Remember, women’s underwear was put on the heads of Islamic prisoners to humiliate them. Democrats found this totally objectionable, can’t believe it. Another thing, remember all of the pictures of Abu Ghraib prisoners with bags on their heads, with eye holes cut out. Give them some of those. Those are cheap. Go to the grocery store, get groceries, then give them the empty bags with the eye holes cut out favorite liberal Democrat, that as well as handcuffs. The bag for the head has a series of uses for liberal Democrats as well. Then, of course, there is a leash. A leash can be found at any pet store and it goes along with the German Shepherd that you are going to give away to a democrat here as they celebrate the one year anniversary of Abu Ghraib Day. Kevin in Eugene, Oregon. Hello and welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: How you doing Rush?
RUSH: Pretty good, Kevin.
CALLER: Love to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I just want you to know that we are going to have our Abu Ghraib barbecue party tonight and we are going to be playing nude Twister.
RUSH: (Laughing.) How many people you got coming?
CALLER: Well, I figure we only need 8 or 10 to make it a rip roaring time. I thought that would be kind of fitting.
RUSH: Yeah. Nude Twister? Big Abu Ghraib barbecue. (Laughter.) Okay. And that’s from Oregon. Progress here.
And possibly my favorite “joke” of all:
You know, the Democrats today celebrating the one year anniversary of Abu Ghraib. Now you have to be very careful about how far they take this. I mean, it is one thing to start giving them gifts. We forgot, a water board would be a great gift. For some libs, if you could find a naked Iraqi inflatable insurgent doll that would be a thrill.
I just don’t know what to make of this sort of thing anymore.