Thursday, July 14, 2005

Andrew Sullivan on the Schmidt report:

Maybe you still remember the shock of seeing the photographs of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. More gruesome images are on their way, and may well be released within a month. What we saw - the use of barking dogs, people shackled to the floor, sexual abuse, a man dragged around on a leash like a dog, simulation of gay sex, references and threats to relatives - was indeed shocking. But we were emphatically told by the administration that none of this was policy, that all of it was dreamed up by some nutjobs on the night shift who got their ideas from bad television or their own demented psyches.

One great merit of the Schmidt report - which is otherwise riddled with worrying euphemisms, dismissal of troubling facts, exoneration of almost all commanders - is that we now know that almost every one of the Abu Ghraib techniques was practised and innovated at Guantanamo. These were not improvised out of nowhere. They were what the report calls "the creative application of authorized interrogation techniques," and the interrogators "believed they were acting within existing guidance."

3:03 PM