Salon's War Room:
After Donald Rumsfeld testified on the Hill about Abu Ghraib in May, there was talk of more photos and video in the Pentagon's custody more horrific than anything made public so far. "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse," Rumsfeld said. Since then, the Washington Post has disclosed some new details and images of abuse at the prison. But if Seymour Hersh is right, it all gets much worse.
Hersh gave a speech last week to the ACLU making the charge that children were sodomized in front of women in the prison, and the Pentagon has tape of it. The speech was first reported in a New York Sun story last week, which was in turn posted on Jim Romenesko's media blog, and now EdCone.com and other blogs are linking to the video...
"Debating about it, ummm... Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay?" Hersh is transcribed as saying. "Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."
Saving the Iraqi people from the brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein. Yay for us...
Prior to and during the invasion of Iraq, FOX's Sean Hannity made a habit of referring to Saddam Hussein's "rape rooms and torture chambers." Never much of a creative thinker -- or any other kind of thinker for that matter -- Hannity would always use exactly those words in exactly that order. Rape rooms and torture chambers. In fact, in defending the abuse at Abu Ghraib to controversial lefty professor Ward Churchill in 2006, Hannity said, "Well, tell that to Saddam Hussein, who had rape rooms and torture chambers and had mass graves with hundreds of thousands of bodies in it. Perhaps that doesn't impact you. Or perhaps you're just so fixated on your hatred for your own country that you want to ignore the fact that innocent people were slaughtered and dying every day. Maybe you don't want to -- you want to ignore those facts. Is that it, Professor?... Underwear on head is not the same as dead bodies in graves, is it, sir?"
In 2008, Hannity debated the Iraq war with self-help guru Deepak Chopra. Chopra called it a "disastrous war" and Hannity whipped out his old standby.
HANNITY: I disagree with you. It liberated a free -- liberated people...
CHOPRA: Liberated. Have you -- just go to Wikipedia, and you’ll see the conservative estimate is 400,000 Iraqis dead, and you know, the other estimate is a million. We don’t even include that in our conversation. What did those guys do to cause this jihad attack?
HANNITY: Well, and you might have forgotten...
HANNITY: Deepak, wait a minute. Wait a minute. But you forgot, those people -- there were rape rooms and torture chambers, and the people were living in misery and -- in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
But the most damning use of Hannity's patented phrase wasn't by Sean Hannity himself, but by the Heritage Foundation's Evan Sayet in a 2007 lecture titled, "Regurgitating the Apple: How Modern Liberals 'Think'." In that speech, Sayet proclaimed that the left was all for Saddam Hussein, because both we and Saddam shared a hatred of America.
"[T]o the Modern Liberal, to the mindless, to those who cannot discriminate between these behaviors, the only possible explanation for us going to war is some nefarious cause: because we're evil and Saddam Hussein, therefore, is a victim." Sayet said. "So they will rush there, as we've seen, and act as human shields to protect his rape rooms and his torture chambers because they won't judge rape rooms and torture chambers, for that requires critical and moral judgment."
Like I said, damning. Not for the left who are being attacked here, but for the right who now rush to the defense of torture. Turns out those patented "rape rooms and torture chambers" are still there, they're just under new management. Once that became undeniable, the phrase "rape rooms and torture chambers" was dropped. Hannity doesn't use it anymore and no one borrows it from him. To use Sayet's words against him, "they won't judge rape rooms and torture chambers," for that would require a "critical and moral judgment" of the Bush administration. They were never concerned with torture. If they were, they'd still be concerned about it now. It was all phony. The tears Hannity spilled over those poor, tortured Iraqis were crocodile tears. He didn't care about them. All Hannity cares about is having Republicans win elections.
So, now that we've determined that the right never really gave a damn about the torture chambers, what will that mean if Seymour Hersh is right? How will they feel about the rape rooms?
It's likely that the only response they'll have is spin. It was Iraqi guards who were doing all the raping of the women and the children, not the Americans. US personnel may have known about it, but Iraq is a sovereign nation. They forgave torture, which was previously so unimaginably awful that it justified the unprovoked invasion of a nation. What about rape?
I'm guessing they'd just work around it. Hannity still has those "mass graves with hundreds of thousands of bodies." That's probably worse than mass rape. They can still use that. As long as someone, somewhere does something worse, they seem to believe we can claim innocence.
What the quiet retirement of Hannity's patented "rape rooms and torture chambers" line shows is the underlying nihilism of the man and many on his side of the aisle. If he used to be horrified by torture, he's a big fan of it now. Who knows how he'll approach rape?
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