Politics What Will They Say About the Dead Soldiers?
Reading the news this morning that those two missing U.S. soldiers have been found dead in Yusefiya, their bodies so “brutally tortured” that military officials are describing the discovery as simply “their remains,” I’ve been wondering what connections will be made by those who write about the killings.
In particular, I’ve been wondering if a connection will be drawn between the torture and killing of these two U.S. soldiers, who were apparently in Al-Qaeda-wannabe custody before their deaths, and the widely reported torture and killing of suspected Al-Qaeda members in U.S. military custody.
After all, one of the arguments for John McCain’s torture ban was that allowing the U.S. to torture enemy combatants made our soldiers less safe. Or, to put it another way: Throwing out the Geneva Conventions hurts our captured soldiers more than it helps our interrogators.
I don’t know if “The Mujahedeen Shura” would follow the letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions even if the U.S. promised to do the same. But I see that some people, anticipating that these two U.S. soldiers would be found badly tortured, were already wondering yesterday what kind of outrage the U.S. could reasonably express in the event that the soldiers were found to have been mistreated.
What if we get pictures of the soldiers, nude, cowering, screaming in a corner, shitting themselves on the filthy floors of a makeshift cell, as their captors hold snarling dogs on leashes just out of bite range of the soldiers? …
What if, and, really, does it need to be said, they are made to stand, hooded, with faux electrodes attached to their nuts and fingers, told that if they don’t start answering questions, well, testicles only can take so much electroshock before they just pop like squeezed grapes?
What will our government do? What could it do? Could it condemn the actions as not abiding by the Geneva Conventions? Could it call the actions “torture”? Could it demand accountability? Could it demand that the soldiers be treated as POWs? Could it simply say, “Well, we don’t do that shit…anymore”?
UPDATE: Sullivan says this today:
I doubt whether even Donald Rumsfeld will describe what has been done to two young American soldiers as a “coercive interrogation technique.” But you never know. Some people wonder why I remain so concerned about torture, and the surrender of our moral standing with respect to this unmitigated evil. Maybe the news of captured, tortured and murdered Americans will jog their conscience. Or maybe it will simply reinforce the logic of torture-reciprocity endorsed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Gonzales.