When Dick Durbin got up on the floor of the Senate and compared the detention center at Guantanamo Bay with the Nazi deathcamps, the killing fields of Cambodia, and the Stalinist gulags, we warned that he had handed our enemies a huge propaganda victory. When Ted Kennedy blew up over the Abu Ghraib abuses and turned them into a prime-time spectacle, we warned that publicizing them so widely would enrage our enemies. We suspected that Al-Jazeera had already looped the speech and the pictures and might play them continuously whenever the news got too slow.
Perhaps we should also have pointed out that other people might want to use it for their own propaganda purposes. The Moscow Times has taken Durbin’s correlation of Gitmo to the gulag to heart and used it to deliver the strangest and most venomous media attack on the American government outside of the Arab press:
Last week, we wrote of the Bush Faction’s increasingly successful drive to establish the principle of unlimited presidential authority — beyond the reach of any law or constitutional restriction — as the new foundation of a militarist American state. This relentless push toward autocracy gained even more strength in recent days, in two cases centering on what has emerged as the very core of President George W. Bush’s authoritarian philosophy: torture. …
Cheney brought hard words from on high for the tepid trio: Bush will veto any attempt by Congress to place any fetters on his arbitrary power over the captives in his worldwide gulag. The grim-visaged veep put it plainly: Such legislation would “restrict the President’s authority” to conduct the terror war as he sees fit, and thus cannot be tolerated. The whole defense budget will be tossed into the toilet if the amendments are attached, Cheney thundered.
This would be the first veto of Bush’s presidency: a mark of the supreme importance he places on his ability to seize people without charges, hold them indefinitely, break their bodies and their minds, then dispose of them as he pleases. This power is obviously more important to him than the defense of the nation itself. But what’s most striking about this case is the fact that the amendments — sponsored by ersatz “maverick” John McCain, among others — are actually part of the process of establishing an open, “legal” structure for Bush’s unrestricted “commander-in-chief state.”
And the upshot of Chris Floyd’s screed? What does the Moscow Times thinks is our ultimate goal for Guantanamo Bay?
This is the power that Bush declares cannot be restricted by courts or Congress or any law on earth: the power to torture, to murder, to terrorize — and to rape children. This is the dark, filthy heart of his militarist state.
With each new atrocity on every side in the hydra-headed “war on terror,” you think that now, perhaps, we’ve reached the bottom. But never believe that comforting notion. The evil that has opened up beneath our feet is bottomless, and we are falling deeper, fathom by fathom, into the pit. The worst, far worse, is yet to come.
Child rape? That’s what Floyd insists the unreleased photos from Abu Ghraib shows, even as he lies about the outcome of the investigation. Floyd maintains that “in all the show trials of low-ranking “bad apples” the Bushists have staged — not a single person has been charged or even reprimanded for these abominations.” Floyd has not paid much attention, as all of the guards involved in the abuse have been convicted or pled guilty. No matter; Moscow Times doesn’t let the truth stand in the way of good propaganda.
This is what happens when our bloviating leaders try to score political cheap shots by blowing a few isolated incidents out of all proportion. It hands idiots and malicious twits like Chris Floyd to paint America as the land of child-rapists and torturers, ironically in the land that gave us the gulags in the first place.
When our politicians learn that wartime puts great responsibilites on public debate, perhaps the Dick Durbins and Ted Kennedys will take those responsibilites to heart. Until then, expect to see more of this drivel shoveled out to Muscovites, Parisians, Berliners, and many, many more. (h/t: Pat A. in Phoenix)