Is there a person in the world who believes that, absent photos, the present US government would have ever acknowledged the abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war? This, after all, is an administration so dedicated to the principle of loyalty to regime, that anyone who dares say something against the administration faces a full court press of hostile, and often untrue, allegations against them. Shall I go through the partial list? Richard Clarke, James Wilson/Valerie Plame, Paul O'Neil. The list is relatively short right now, but just wait until Rumsfeld gets fired and decides it's time to spill the beans (then again, he probably won't spill the beans because he's a true believer, which means he probably won't get fired).
Where does this abuse come from? Is there really any doubt? This is the administration who has made argument after argument that the Geneva Convention does not apply to just about every person they have captured in Afghanistan. This is an administration who has created a jail in no man's land - Guantanamo Bay - so as to evade any national or international scrutiny of it's actions. This administration has come up with legal fictions so as to arrest, detain, and permanently imprison US citizens without having to every justify it to a court or other neutral body. In short, this administration has little respect for the laws or traditions which separate our country from the terrorists who would wish harm upon us. Is there any surprise that, after years of arguing that laws don't apply to it (this administration not only refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, they threatened to cut off any military ties with any country which did not promise to forever grant immunity to all US soldiers regardless of their actions), a prisoner of war abuse scandal like none ever seen in this country has erupted under this administration?
This administration has debased not only our culture, our society, and our political system, it has debased our traditions, and our position in the world as a shining beacon. Wake up everyone - the whole world hates us right now, because, with the best of intentions, we have proceeded to shred just about every international institution and accepted practice. Well, two things - 1) the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions (better to be smart), and 2) if you are going to bypass everything that WE worked our butts off building over the last 60 years, you had better do it absolutely perfectly, ie, don't do evil things while acting Machievellian.
This administration has utterly failed. I see polls that suggest that 80% of Republicans believe that the war in Iraq is going well. This underscores a larger problem - people only listen to the news they like to hear (this is a problem, I believe, because this is exactly what got us into this mess with President Bush - he only listened to advisors who told him things he liked to hear. Couple that with a refusal to read newspapers, you have him doing exactly what his father refused to do with the results his father feared most). Republicans can continue to listen to idiots like Sean Hannity, who equates tyranny and terrorism with liberalism, for their news. But, I fear, it will result in a further debasing of that which we have fought so hard to achieve over the last 200 years.
I know conservatives will say I hate America. But, this is because they listen to idiots like Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, who can only say that in response to legitemate criticism. All I have to say, I hate their vision of America, because it is only more of the same we have seen in Abu Ghraib.
God help us all.