The US is shocked that the Iraqis were torturing prisoners, the Spanish are shocked that Americans brought prisoners through Spain on the way to secret torture chambers, and the Iraqis see this as business as usual.
“Of course,” Sunnis say, “Shiites are setting up torture chambers. That’s how it works. Saddam did it, Americans do it, why wouldn’t the Shiites?”
Setting aside the serious moral questions about whether torture is staining the soul of America (yes), and whether using torture (or whatever we’re calling it these days) is putting our soldiers in danger if they’re captured (yes), we have to consider the fact that the US is trying to build democracies in Afghanistan (remember them?) and Iraq, and wants to push various other countries in that direction. We are an example, the shining City on a Hill, and we have to be a good example.
I’ll bet money right now that the Iraqi torturers use Abu Ghraib as an excuse for their behavior. I’ll say right now that I don’t buy it, these guys would do the same thing either way. I’m just disturbed that our actions give any excuse for this sort of behavior.
And scroll all the way down to the bottom of the first article about Iraq for a cute story about American troops throwing prisoners into a lion’s cage. Fun!