Crime Figures, Great and Small
Spc. Sabrina Harman, one of the participants in the tortures carried out at Abu Ghraib, has chosen to be interviewed on ABC's 20/20. A little positive PR before the trial.
Spc. Charles Graner, another MP charged in the abuse scandal, has just received a ten year sentence for his part in the abuse.
It appears that one thing weighing very heavily against Spc. Graner, was evidence that he took great pleasure from the abuses he and other guards perpetrated. Spc. Harmon whose smiling face appears in some of the most damaging of the photos is bringing her serious face to television to say " she wishes she could apologize to the Iraqi people, but doesn't think she did any thing wrong".
She wishes she could apologize. Doesn't that make you feel all warm inside? She says that she didn't hurt anybody. Presumably, Iraqis are nobodies.
She was part of the party that created the now famous picture of the Iraqi man in the hood with the electrodes secured to his body. The human Christmas tree in the eyes of some.
She was smiling a lot in those days but she isn't smiling now.
She wants you to know that children love her and she was kind and generous to an Iraqi family that cooked hot meals for her. Touched?
I think we can believe that Harman will get a lighter sentence than Spc. Graner. We can be just about 100 percent certain that no one who gave the orders will be mentioned, much less held accountable.
At Graner's trial, the defense lawyers attempted to bring the orders he and other defendants were following, as evidence to the trial. The media did not report that the defendants attempted to compel the testimony of officers such as LTC Jordan and COL Pappas. The court refused to grant immunity to the officers so there was no testimony from the officers. It is cool to be an officer, no? Big scoop for the media too, eh? Alas, the media somehow missed that part.
It is quite remarkable that no one above a Staff Sargent has been charged with a crime. Yet, it is obvious to everyone who cares to look, that these MPs were following directives from civilian and Military intelligence people, at the prison. In this interesting background piece about the 372 Military Police Company, the unit the accused belonged to at the time of the crimes, some interesting things are said about strange changes that took place in the prison after the 'spooks' moved in. Only one low ranking military intelligence soldier has been charged with anything.
It started with Bush sending Gonzalez to get a legal memo that allowed him to redefine torture in a way that makes the term meaningless. The memo was requested by the CIA, according to Mr. Gonzalez.'s testimony during the confirmation formality.
Now Bush can give the CIA the good news that they can torture as long as they are not trying to kill the victim. Such mercy from Fearless Leader. Protecting the lives of even his enemies.
The Prez tells the CIA to play rough and dirty with detainees. The intelligence spooks move into Abu Ghraib and suddenly, terrible things start to happen. What are we supposed to believe? That those MPs suddenly went weird, all at the same time? And the events only coincidently occurred after the spooks moved in?
That is what the White House and the military would have you believe. The court says there is some responsibility higher up the chain of command, yet, no charges, and damned little truth revealed.
One cheery note for crime watchers: Our beloved Secretary of Defense, Mr. Rumsfeld, has been charged with war crimes in Germany. For the time being, at least, Mr. "Go with the Army you've got" can not go to Germany without facing possible arrest. When is the last time an American Secretary of State was threatened with arrest by a non hostile nation? A long time ally.
While I do not believe the German charges will stand for long or be brought to trial any time soon, I do believe they are but a taste of what is to come.
At this time, it is difficult to imagine that those in power and those that gave the top level orders will ever be truly held accountable for their actions. It appears that America is at the zenith of it's power and can not be touched by anything as feeble as international law.
Truly, it looks like the Empire has already reached near its zenith. It has certainly inflated and over reached itself so early in its conquest stage, it could well be that we are already witnessing the beginning of the trip down.
That sounds imaginative and naïve today but I wonder if future historians will not view this and the next couple of years as the beginning of the end of this self proclaimed empire.
The US still has a potent military but most of it is in Iraq, strained to the limit, in a fight they are destined to lose. The Bush administration is running up the debt like a drug addict with a stolen credit card. With no end in sight.
The dollar is plunging and any small export gains made have already been spent. The long term ramifications are just beginning to be felt.
I keep wondering, what happens when the government of the United States has borrowed more than it can possibly pay? What will the terms be and who will make those terms?
On whose behalf and for whose benefit are America's resources being spent? And who is going to foot this massive bill?
American citizens need to be asking themselves these questions. We need to be asking these questions at every opportunity and we should be demanding some real answers before the real price of this president's ambitions rises any higher.
There are reasons why this president operates in such secrecy while creating an impenetrable wall of yes-men around himself. There are too many important questions not being asked of this group of extremists who have taken control of America and are turning it into something that serves the interests of very, very few Americans.
The corporate media is not going to ask those questions for us. Meaning it is up to us to be asking those questions at every opportunity.