April 30, 2004

A Laissez Faire Environment

This story about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US captors gets more and more disgusting.

Let me get this straight: we have CONTRACTORS performing and managing interrogations and POW units? (And not only that: we now have contractors serving as bodyguards for Karzai in Afghanistan -- contractors from a company notorious for running underage brothels in the Balkans.)

This is Nuremberg Trial material, folks. Not the specific abuses, though those are apparently nasty in their own right, but the structural system established in which abuses are encouraged. A "laissez faire environment," indeed. Again, this precisely in and of itself has been one of the primary goals of the occupation of Iraq: the creation of what the Confidence Man would call an Antistate, under laboratory conditions as a sort of proving grounds for implementing Antistate measures later domestically.

As a sidebar, the Confidence Man is mighty interested in the role that compact digital imaging technology has played in this prisoner-abuse controversy. Imagine if nearly every single US soldier in Viet Nam had been carrying a tiny camera and had had ready access to instant transmission of images back home. This is a bit of a stretch, but the Confidence Man imagines that in such circumstances, the McCarthy-Nixon race would have been much closer, if not reversed in its historical outcome.

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