The fallout from Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the Gulag prisons, and other questionable practices by this Administration is the inability to take the high ground. That, in turn leads to other problems.
Iraq's government said today that it had ordered an urgent investigation of accusations that 173 detainees found in the basement of an Interior Ministry building had been tortured by their Iraqi captors. A senior Iraqi official who visited the detainees said two appeared paralyzed and others had had the skin peeled off their bodies by their abusers.
I'm shocked to find there's gambling going on in this casino.
A joint statement by the American Embassy and the United States military command called the situation "totally unacceptable" and said American officials "agree with Iraq's leaders that mistreatment of detainees will not be tolerated."
For American officials and Iraqi politicians who hold power in the Shiite-led transitional government, the discovery of what appears to have been a secret torture center created a new aura of crisis.
For many Iraqis, the episode carried heavy overtones of the brutality associated with Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-dominated regime. Ominously, for the prospects of curbing rising sectarianism here, the abused detainees appeared to have been almost all Sunni Arabs, and their abusers Shiite policemen loyal to the notorious Badr Organization, a militia with close links to Iran.
For American officials in Iraq, still laboring under the shadow of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and other accusations of mistreatment of prisoners, the new assertions come at a particularly inopportune moment.
Can't anyone in this Administration understand what Iraq has become? And don't tell me this was an isolated incident, or that it doesn't matter.
The dismay among American officers involved in Sunday's operations was evident from a report in today's editions of The Los Angeles Times, which carried the first report of the raid on the Jadriyah building in its Monday editions.
In its report today, the paper quoted Brig. Gen. Karl Horst of the Third Infantry Division, commander of the unit that carried out the raid, as saying that there would be more operations aimed at uncovering secret detention centers. "We're going to hit every single one of them, every single one of them," the general said.
Every single one of how many? May I respectfully point out that the chances of using Iraq as a model of democracy in the Middle East are at or near zero? While a thoroughly discredited and demoralized Bush is prattling on about Democrats being unpatriotic, someone in government has to try and get the ship upright. Why, it's gotten so bad, even Republicans have to do something. But what they're not doing is finding out what went wrong in the first place, so I'll remind them.