Another thought or two…

1) If Rumsfeld himself is prepping the U.S. and the world for the new pictures and videos from Abu Ghraib, and using a phrase like “sadistic, cruel and inhuman” to describe them, they must be real doozies. Even more interesting is the fact that, with that announcement, the White House seems resigned, for God knows what reason, to the idea that the pictures are going to be published. As Rumsfeld says, on one of those rare occasions that he and I agree about something, “It’s going to get still more terrible, I’m afraid.”

2) It’s also going to be interesting to see what happens to Lynndie England. In her Abu Ghraib photo-shoot her beefed-up looks and stylish posturings with a cigarette brought to mind the butch Private Vasquez that Jenette Goldstein played in Aliens. Yet in her civilian photos England’s a vision of American down-homeness, and now she’s 21, freshly home from serving her country, and reportedly pregnant by her soldier boyfriend (who also happens to be one of her co-torturers).Scenarios like that normally melt like butter in the mouths of middle America, and despite her starring role in the photos that brought the shitstorm on, she wasn’t formally charged w/anything until a day or two ago, when she was finally ticketed with abusing prisoners in salute to her contribution to the wreckage that our foreign policy has become. In almost any other circumstances the White House and Pentagon might try to spin her as an All-American Girl who got in over her head, an aberrant version of the Jessica Lynch meme, but how can they do that now? And how will they look in the eyes of Bush’s supporters when they do hang her out to dry?

Also, before I forget, anyone in need of a good cry should definitely take a stroll through The White House Press Briefing Archive, though whether you’ll shed tears of mirth or rage probably depends on your capacity for handling black comedy. In places it’s almost heartbreaking to watch the inept Scott McClellan, a living exemplar of the Peter Principle who you probably used to beat up in high school, struggling to stay on message in the face of all the questions an openly skeptical and frustrated press corps can throw at him. It’s rich if maddening stuff.

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