06 May 2004

Rush Limbaugh on how the Torture and Humiliation of Iraqi prisoners is OK

I just read this on Josh Marshall's fabulous site Talking Points Memo. Rush Limbaugh is the first commentator I have heard of that has even attempted to justify the torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners:

This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off?

I really don't know what to say, except that I was already ashamed that military personnel who supposedly represent and protect our country could do the horrific things we've been seeing pictures of. I am even more ashamed, though, that anyone would try to justify this behavior, let alone explain it away as "blow[ing] some steam off" and as Americans "having a good time."

Marshall follows this comment by asking how illberal people can be part of a liberal democracy. Good question.

I think Limbaugh's comments tie into something President Bush said earlier this week regarding democracy in Iraq:

"There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren't necessarily -- are a different color than white can self-govern." [This version was printed in George Will's column in the Washington Post; link is now accessible only by paying money.]

The identity of that "lot of people" who supposedly believe that Iraqis cannot govern themselves has been debated lately; I've wondered if Bush was using the smear of racism to neutralize Democrats and other opponents to the war. But after Limbaugh's comments, the real racists who are dehumanizing Iraqis are those, like (Republican partisan) Rush, who justify the acts of American soldiers in Iraqi prisons.

Will Bush denounce Limbaugh? I doubt it, but he should, and loudly.


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