Does the Right Remember Abu Ghraib? (washingtonpost.com)

Jack Strocchi sent me this piece by Anne Applebaum asking Does the Right Remember Abu Ghraib? . Since I’ve been critical of her recently, I’m pleased to endorse her comments here.

As recent comments on this blog have shown, the answer to Applebaum’s question is undoubtedly “Yes”. Commenters compared torture in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere to fraternity hazing. As Applebaum observes

U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have, according to the administration’s own records and my colleagues’ reporting, used beatings, suffocation, sleep deprivation, electric shocks and dogs during interrogations. They probably still do.

The legal adviser who provided the advice supporting torture as government policy, Alberto Gonzales, will shortly become Attorney-General of the United States.

3 thoughts on “Does the Right Remember Abu Ghraib? (washingtonpost.com)

  1. It’s worth remembering that when a lawyer gives, say, “advice supporting torture”, that’s a precise technical thing that got reported within the legal trade, then passed around the wider media. It does not mean the same as the lawyer himself supporting it, it means he was asked – and answered – to provide an estimate if there were legal arguments about it that could be made to stand up in court. At that level it’s nothing to condemn him for, not even “I was just obeying orders” since it’s only a hypothetical until it does come to court. And to refuse to go along with it because you know it’s wrong is itself prejudging, leaving the court out of it.

    But at another level, as a servant of the US government he was no mere Sir Humphrey. The moral buck wasn’t being passed in the same way as it is when Rumpole defends someone who may well be guilty; the person who asked the question had to be involved too, and he participated in the policy of looking for loopholes. He shouldn’t be condemned for showing loopholes, but he may perhaps be condemned for encouraging people to sail close to the wind in the first place.

  2. The Old Right, led by Buchanan, have always been opposed to the Iraq war and the oppressive practices that it set in train. Earlier last year Steve Sailer made the comment:

    This kind of Abu Ghraib garbage is, generally speaking, one of the necessary consequences of us wanting to remain in Iraq while a lot of the more violent young Iraqi males want us to leave. (Forget the opinion polls – in an insurrection you don’t count noses, you count balls.) I always thought it was not a good idea for us to be in Iraq, precisely because we’d end up being responsible for this kind of thing.

    s errand to expect the New Right to remember Abu Gharib because it was the New Right which created Abu Gharib, endorsed it and tried to minimise its significance. But one supposes Applebaum should get brownie points for raising a New Right wing voice in opposition.
    I ( 3/1/2005 @ 4:18 pm) have bent over backwards to try and see some good coming from the exposure of Abu Gharib, in terms of improved US admin accountability & a renewed committment to military intelligence system that does not endorse torture. But the current US admin. is in the hands of people who are simply beyond individual shame, let alone insitutional constraint. Expecting them to “come good” is a little like expecting the insurgency to peter out, a vain hope.

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