Dissembling a Disgrace

It’s the sub-title I can’t get over. 

Mike Allen’s Washington Post article  is titled “Lawmaker Tours Become Part of Guantanamo Life,” but the sub-title is Pentagon Responds to Critics With a PR Push.

Absolutely everything critically spoken or written about the Bush administration is answered not by thoughtful response or intellectual debate or even by hard-nosed facts and figures.  In the place of reality, we have and (worse) have accepted public relations blitzes. 

We’re being fed a constant bowl of Wheaties. 

RumsfeldviperstyleThis administration has been conspiratorial in its false-selling of the wrong war at the wrong time against the wrong enemy, compounding that criminal act by yet another; the hopelessly ill-conceived occupation and rebuilding of Iraq.

In the face of this, the world has been shown an aspect of our nation that no American would recognize; a military-prison system run amok. In the aftermath

  • President Bush has not so much as raised his voice in anger
  • Donald Rumsfeld hasn’t stood to take responsibility, although responsibility is his
  • No senior officers have paid the price for a military run wild
  • No changes have been made in the trying of detainees
  • No heed has been taken of the scores of military and privatelawyer complaints
  • No answers are given
  • No hope is held out for change

This fiasco has been and continues to be a massive worldwide cover-your-ass campaign. But there is, by God, a plan.  A public relations plan in place of a plan of action.  A shell-game run by the Pentagon in this ongoing deception of the American public, that is becoming by the day more unrealistic and transparent. 

Another bowl of Wheaties, this time sugar-coated.

Deception is a tough game in our still (but less and less) open society.  Smarter administrations than this one (and one needn’t go far for that example) have tried and failed.  Nixon comes to mind for the Republicans, Johnson for the Democrats.

Rumsfeld’s Pentagon is flying dozens of lawmakers—that’s the word they use, lawmakers—to Guantanamo for a dog-and-pony-show of sanitized, spiffied-up, lace-curtain “tour cells.”  Thus we have the unreality of the lawbreakers entertaining the lawmakers and everyone’s eating it up.  It’s the hottest ticket in Congress. 

JonporterAccording to the Pentagon, one aim of the PR offensive is to head off an independent commission. They actually admit that. It must be working among the softer heads in Congress.  Representative Jon Porter (R-Nev, photo on right) said of the inmates he had seen (from a distance), “Many of them are happy to be here.”

I cannot tell you how disheartening I find it to hear such things from an elected official.

Tom Wilner is a lawyer representing eleven Kuwaitis, locked up now for more than three years.  They don’t seem as happy as Porter would have us believe. “Some of my guys are kept under bright lights 24 hours a day and haven’t seen sunlight in eight months. They’re emaciated, it’s a terrible place.” Congress has been told the typical menu is ‘lemon chicken and rice pilaf.’  But instead of that fare, our intrepid lawmakers were being fed tour cells and set-up interrogations where prisoners were able to ‘bargain’ for better conditions.

Gencraddock_1Four-star general, Bantz Craddock (now there’s a John-Wayne name), was quoted, “We want folks to see what we’re doing.” Well Bantz, old boy, we’ve seen what you’re doing and yet even today the Pentagon is holding back those infamous 87 photographs that purportedly include child-rape and murder.  Not panties and leashes this time, child-rape and murder.  Answer me that one, Bantz.

The next act in this tragedy is to off-load American held prisoners to countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen and Saudi, where the common everyday garden-varieties of torture will be beyond any public view or legal intercession. 

And thus my country, my president and my military continue to dissemble this international disgrace in my name and your name and the name of your children. John McCain introduced legislation to prevent just such occurrences and Dick Cheney had him in to the White House a few weeks back to dissuade him, to no avail.  McCain said about the arm-twisting, “It’s not about them, it’s about us.”

Which says it all.

Read more of my rants on the war in Iraq at my personal web site.

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