Archive - Jul 23, 2004

The Ninety-Four Deadly Sins

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Ninety-four.

Memo to every last one of you right-wing pundit motherfuckers, from Limbaugh on down, who got up on Fox News and Crossfire and all those other fucking pundit shows that have formed their own self-contained pundit ecosystem. YOU ARE DUMB.

It was just seven bad apples. That's what we heard over and over from you apologists. Just seven bad apples. That was your talking point, along with "fraternity prank" and claiming everyone who thought this was a big deal was pro-terrorist and anti-soldier. But most of all, we heard "it was just seven".

Of course, it was ninety-four. Hell, it was MORE than ninety-four, because the Army, in its infinite wisdom, counterd your Abu Ghraib Seven as ONE. And your fraternity pranks left 39 people in our custody dead. So keep an eye on the right-wing pundits today. You think all those people who said "just seven" will be retracting? Correcting? Apologizing? No. What you will hear is them echoing, over and over again, two words from the Army report on the Army's abuses. And those two words are not "ninety" and "four", they are "not" and "systemic".

See, the Army investigated the Army, and the Army determined that there were 94 cases of abuse. That's a matter of record. 39 corpses is also a matter of record. It's data. The cases exist, they were counted, they ended up at 94. But the abuse was "not systemic", and "an aberration", according to the subjective part of the report the Army issued on its own practices.

The abuses occurred in 16 different prison facilities. But they weren't systemic. Two thirds of ALL detainees, not just those officially "abused", were held for a month, over 60 times longer than the 12 hour maximum mandated by regulation. But the problems aren't systemic. Prisoners were given food with rat shit in it, but the problems weren't systemic. In Afghanistan, prisoners were living in their own shit, but the problems weren't systemic.

Interrogators regularly used unapproved interrogation techniques. Well, they weren't exactly "unapproved". We said it was OK for the filthy terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, but not OK for the filthy terrorists in Iraq. I can see where that might be confusing. Very confusing. And aberrant. And not systemic at all.

The investigation didn't actually look into some of the most serious charges from the Taguba report that kicked off the whole scandal, like the "ghost detainees". We have those in the US, too. People we capture, and then hide from everyone, especially the Red Cross. That little minor aberration wasn't investigated at all. But the problems weren't systemic.

That's what you'll hear from the pundits. Over and over again. In a desperate attempt to put this whole thing away in a corner, they will seize on those two words and wield them like a jackhammer. And then spend the next half hour discussing the horrible crimes Sandy Berger committed by taking a couple of copies of classified documents home with him.

Which was INCREDIBLY FUCKING STUPID, by the way. On several counts. The right has shown complete willingness to make shit up ouf of whole cloth to smear the left with. You do not then hand them a minor incident that they can blow up into a major breach of national security. A couple of copies in a jacket pocket suddenly became original classified documents, stolen and smuggled out in Sandy Berger's boxer shorts.

And then, when the Justice Department agreed months ago to keep the whole minor investigation quiet and out of the press, the Democrats actually BELIEVED them. That makes Charlie Brown look like a cynical pragmatist during backyard football practice, that does. "Oh, sure. We won't leak this at all. You can trust us. Just ask Valerie Plame".

I mean, if this is how things go down now, imagine how fucked we'd be if there were any systemic problems.