All this cynical gymnastics is torture

The system for picking an inquiry panel seems to be the one used by schoolboys for football

Share
Related Topics

Donald Rumsfeld must be so relieved that the inquiry into the torture of Iraqi prisoners doesn't find him responsible. Especially as, in order to make sure the four members of the inquiry panel would be extra thorough, he got to pick them himself. It's a shame he didn't think of this method earlier, as he could have picked his own group of gymnastics judges, then entered himself into the floor exercise at the Olympics and got 9.5 across the board and a gold medal.

I wonder if Saddam will be allowed to do a similar thing with his trial. Then his mates can hold an inquiry that announces, "While there were abuses under the Baathist regime, it seems probable that these were result of the mother of all breakdowns in communication, and we recommend a thorough overhaul of the filing system. And while those that were tortured may have turned out to be innocent, it seems indisputable that Mr Hussein fully believed they were agents of the Great Satan who could only be dealt with by being attached to electrodes, therefore he acted in good faith."

The system for picking an inquiry panel seems to be similar to the one used by schoolboys for picking football teams. Maybe Bush and Blair are at the front of the room, while all their mates stand facing them in a huddle. Then Blair says "Hutton," and Bush says "Major General Fay," until the only one left is a skinny barrister with glasses that nobody wants.

Even that wouldn't explain how one member of the Abu Ghraib torture inquiry refers in his report to Rumsfeld as a "hero". That's not an inquiry, it's an article in Smash Hits. The full version probably says "Donald is five feet 10 with blue eyes and loves cats. He has been criticised in the press for torture issues, but he swears he'd never do a thing like that, and that's good enough for his devoted fans and good enough for us. And girls, he tells me his favourite bomb is the daisy cutter, and he's already working on his next war, which he hopes will be ready in the new year."

The inquiry does admit there was a disgraceful culture of torture in the jail, but lays all the blame on the individuals involved. Meanwhile the British government is fulfilling another fine wartime tradition. Having screamed about the patriotic duty to support our troops, they change their mind as soon as those troops do anything embarrassing, such as getting killed. Last week the family of a British soldier killed in Iraq visited Downing Street to lodge their protest against the war, which they had opposed even before his death. So the Labour MP Eric Joyce explained that the family was being exploited by the anti-war movement which had ulterior motives. What ulterior motives would they be then? Perhaps he means that the Stop the War movement are not all they seem, for while they may claim to be against the war, behind that facade their real aim is to stop the war.

Or does he mean the anti-war element of the Stop the War campaign is a front, and what they really want to do is stop the widening of the M40 near High Wycombe? Or is he saying that it's underhand to use the fact that people get killed in war as an argument for not having a war? Because you'd never get the Government using people's deaths to further their own causes. They'd never do a thing like referring to the thousands of people killed by Saddam to promote a war, even though the murders took place at a time when they were backing him. Or use the deaths of people in the Twin Towers to justify a war that was in no way connected.

With even finer cynicism, George Bush announced he would attend the Olympic soccer semi-final between Paraguay and Iraq, as the Iraqi team were a symbol of their country's new freedom. Footballers were among the sportsmen tortured under Saddam if they weren't successful, so this should have been perfect. Except that the team's midfielder Ahmad Marajid said, "How will Bush meet his God having slaughtered so many?" And another player, Salim Sadir from Najaf, added "We want the Americans to go away." And their coach said, "We don't have freedom in Iraq, we have an occupying force, an American army that has killed so many."

Clearly they haven't grasped the idea of footballer's interviews. With a bit of coaching they might learn to do them properly and say, "Obviously we're not taking anything for granted, we're going to take on the US military one soldier at a time. And obviously we know we can't expect nothing from the referee out there. But at the end of the day we're a match for any army on our day and obviously we'll be hoping to have cleansed our land of heathen imperialist murdering dogs come quarter to five on Saturday."

And within that story is Bush's and Blair's responsibility for the torture. They announced they were liberating the country, and that everyone would be grateful. But they weren't. So the ungrateful ones were described as a handful of terrorists, against which anything is permissible. But the handful turns out to be most of the country, including their footballers, who must logically be supporters of terrorists. Having listened to the language of Rumsfeld, Bush and Blair, the soldiers of Abu Ghraib must have imagined that a spot of impromptu torture would have earned them an Olympic medal.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

English teachers required in Lowestoft

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A homeless person sleeps in the streets  

This is why I am sleeping rough outside the party conferences

Max J Freeman
Strikes were carried out by manned air force and navy aircraft (File photo)  

Syria air strikes: President Assad now has the enemy he always wanted – Islamist terrorism

Kim Sengupta
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits