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Friday, July 16, 2004


By way of Atrios, comes this snippet of the White House press gaggle, with Scott McClellan showing a dogged, disturbing refusal to answer an even more disturbing question. In this world of ever decreasing attention spans, the vast majority of Americans, nudged in this direction by politicians and mainstream media, have already put Abu Ghraib behind them. Well, they think they have; as per the dictum of out of sight, out of mind. There's also the truth that the American people don't want to know the truth of this situation; we don't want to see what our sons and daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives are capable of when thrust into an immoral militaristic enterprise such as Bush's folly in Iraq.

Trouble is, though it hurts to look upon what's happened Abu Ghraib (and elsewhere) with open eyes, it is a very real, very current, and very living situation that speaks to what this country has become, to what depths we have sunk under the "leadership" of George W. Bush. The levels of depravity (as alluded to by Sy Hersh on more than one occasion) reached by our own, inflicted upon women and children as well as men, innocents as well as "insurgents" or "terrorists." The list grows daily. Answers are in short supply right now, but the attempt to brush this under the rug, to dismiss it from the collective American consciousness is doomed to failure. There's a whole iceberg beneath this scandal, unfortunately, a great many, much more horrific, things happened inside the walls of that prison., and much of it was documented and recorded in photos and videos. If Hersh is right, what has yet to come to light will make the initial scandal seem miniscule in comparison.

In any case, here's this exchange (after, as Atrios points, he dodged her repeatedly) between Helen Thomas and McClellan:

Q Does the President -- does the United States harbor or hold secret detainees who are not available to the International Red Cross?

MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, this is an issue that came up earlier in the week and I talked about it at that point. When it comes to the International Committee for the Red Cross, we work very closely with them on detainee issues, and we --

Q I have a follow-up.

MR. McCLELLAN: Okay -- we stay in close and regular contact with the Red Cross on all the issues related to detainees. And they do, from time to time, raise issues and we work to address those issues directly --

Q Why don't you answer the question? Do we have secret detainees and is it possible that they could be subjected to the same treatment as in Baghdad prisons?

MR. McCLELLAN: We work to address these issues that the Red Cross raises directly with the Red Cross. And any issues that they have, we respond directly to the --

Q That's not the answer to the question.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- Red Cross. We meet with them on a regular basis at a variety of levels, and we stay in close and constant contact with them. And I really don't have anything else to add to this issue.

Q You don't know whether we have secret detainees --

MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, Helen, I don't have anything else to add to this issue.

Q Why?

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead.

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