After the Bombs, a Broom Handle Is Nothing

New Statesman (1996), May 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

After the Bombs, a Broom Handle Is Nothing


And so it has come to this. Just over a year ago, President George W Bush, in his premature announcement of victory, stated that "there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves" in Iraq. Now we learn of torture in the very same Abu Ghraib prison that became so notorious under Saddam Hussein. The defenders of the American and British invasion are reduced to saying that Abu Ghraib saw worse and more frequent torture under Saddam but that, while he was in power, nobody ever saw the pictures. The old regime, these apologists argue, used torture as a central instrument of state policy. The difference now is that torture is an aberration--a "breakdown in discipline", as the US army vice-chief of staff calls it--which will be duly investigated, punished and compensated and surely not repeated. All the better if it can be proved that the guilty interrogators worked for private contractors: privatisation is now the established way for politicians to evade responsibility.

Yet responsibility is not so easily shrugged off. It was the Bush administration that branded Iraq as a member of the "axis of evil", its leaders holding weapons of mass destruction that imminently threatened the west, and its regime complicit in the attacks on America on 11 September 2001. It was the Bush administration which decided that the Iraqi army and police force should be disbanded because anybody associated with the Ba'ath regime must be suspect. It was the Bush administration, and its allies in London, that portrayed resistance to the US occupation as the work of Saddamist remnants, terrorists, members of al-Qaeda and dangerous fanatics who were beyond reason. It was the Bush administration that kept Abu Ghraib open, rather as the Soviets kept Buchenwald open after the conquest of Germany in 1945.

Should we be at all surprised that soldiers and interrogators thought they were dealing with deadly enemies who had forfeited all human rights? Should we be surprised that governments which seem so careless of civil liberties at home among their own people should be even more careless overseas? As Kevin Toolis points out (page 8), human rights abuse is historically the norm rather than the exception among occupying powers. Conquering armies expect to take trophies. And if their colleagues in other sections of the armed forces can kill and maim thousands of civilians from a distance with bombs and shells, why would any soldier think it wrong to use broom handles, dog chains and cold water at close quarters? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

After the Bombs, a Broom Handle Is Nothing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.