Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Bravery of Being Out of Range*

C.I.A. Abuse Cases Detailed in Report:

WASHINGTON —The Justice Department released a long-secret report Monday chronicling abuses inside the Central Intelligence Agency’s overseas prisons, showing how interrogators choked a prisoner repeatedly and threatened to kill another detainee’s children.

In response to the findings, Attorney General Eric H Holder Jr. chose John H. Durham, a veteran prosecutor from Connecticut who has been investigating the C.I.A.’s destruction of interrogation videotapes, to determine whether a full criminal investigation of the conduct of agency employees or contractors was warranted.
Contradicted By:

U.S. Says Rendition to Continue:
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of sending terrorism suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation, but pledges to closely monitor their treatment to ensure that they are not tortured, administration officials said Monday.

The announcement, by President Obama’s Interrogation and Transfer Policy Task Force, seemed intended in part to offset the impact of the release on Monday of a long-withheld report by the C.I.A. inspector general, written in 2004, that offered new details about the brutal tactics used by the C.I.A. in interrogating terrorism detainees.
Offset? How about "totally contradict and confuse the issue"? We have known for years that "private contractors" tortured people, under the aegis of the C.I.A., and that most of this went on in the so-called "black site" secret prisons overseas. In fact, most of the report dealing with the abuses and those "threatening to kill children" was aimed at work done by private contractors hired by the C.I.A.

The privatization of torture, as with privatizing things via military contractors, prison contractors and other wholly unqualified, weekend warriors, has been known to invite abuse and criminal activity, from Afghanistan and Iraq, to Guantanamo Bay. In fact, more criminal charges have been filed against private contractors during the past eight years of war than have been filed against military personnel.

But we use these contractors as a form of Keynesian stimulus and welfare in this country, propping up companies and personnel who feed at the public trough, many of whom end up defrauding the government, and ultimately providing little of value in return.
Tales of epic fraud—of double billing and bid rigging, of kickbacks and theft—have dogged the reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only are taxpayers unwittingly enriching fly-by-night contractors, corrupt officials, and local power brokers, but unscrupulous operators are undermining the prospects for progress that US troops have given their lives to make possible.
That's probably the cruelest of ironies. Our military personnel fight and give blood for the cause, only to have these Rambo-wannabe contractors (most of whom either can't cut it in the military or can't cut it any longer) claim credit for being on the "front lines" in the "war zone."

I'll defer to one of my favorite artists Roger Waters*, who pegged this "the bravery of being out of range." Easy to run your chest-thumping smack when your (expletive deleted) is nowhere near danger.
Sick of the mess they find
On their desert stage
And the bravery of being out of range
Ironic, isn't it? We prop up these private contractors with billions in tax payer dollars, spend millions more investigating the mess they create, and somehow this gets sold to the public as a "savings."

I'll take my savings in the form of a rebate check, thanks anyway.

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