Rumbles, Rituals and Rumsfeld
The spectre of possible scapegoating always makes us uncomfortable. Not that Donald Rumsfeld is innocent, just that he is singled out with such ferocious focus that if he goes, it might appear all is now right with the world. John Kerry got it right: we don't need a new Secretary of Defense. We need a new President. This administration must be taken off the stage.
For at the same time that Rumsfeld and Bush are trying to distance themselves from the prisioner photos, their Rabid Right lackeys on the talk media are justifying rough treatment as the way this war on terror has to be conducted. That is more credibly a reflection of this administration's beliefs and policies. It provides the clear answer to why the warnings from the Red Cross and others went unheeded from the very outset of the occupation. It is why Rumsfeld is more upset that he didn't realize the damage the photos would do than he is that he didn't care about the actual practices and their effects on the victims as well as the Iraqi public.
News reports are not emphasizing enough the indiscriminate as well as widespread use of these practices. The only conclusion that anyone can draw is that if these are meant to break the will of the enemy, then everyone in Iraq was the enemy.
The Senate hearing was political theatre, but theatre is where these matters receive their fullest focus. Donald Rumsfeld facing former prisoner of war Senator John McCain and his incisive questions in a quiet, calm voice, was the heart of it today. But the ritual here should be exposure, a common realization and shame, not blood sacrifice.
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