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America's soul is tortured

Pentagon propagandists prop up presidential prevarications

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Neal Boortz was just horrified -- HORRIFIED, I say -- at the revelations of torture of Iraqi prisoners carried out by U.S. troops. George Bush, for whom Boortz shills, spoke to the press last week in Michigan, and declared (doing a good imitation of Capt. Renault in Casablanca) that he, too, was "shocked."

Indeed, there was a lot to be horrified and shocked about. The American soldiers weren't sociopaths, nor were they only testosterone-driven, just-past-boyhood men for whom warfare was a surrogate for sex.

No, the torture team starred a budding flower of American femininity, a lass, little more than a girl, who in photographs is shown being particularly foul in her depraved mistreatment of Iraqis. Not just our boys, but our wives, daughters and sisters have been vilely corrupted by Bush's needless, reckless war.

Pvt. Lynndie England now is the face of America to the rest of the world -- leering in a photograph as she forces a hapless and naked Iraqi man to masturbate. Imagine, if you will, how America would have reacted had there been photographs of POW Jessica Lynch being sexually abused. Our fury would have been boundless. (Lynch, despite Pentagon fairy tales, later debunked, wasn't mistreated.)

Underscoring what the Arab world perceives as America's debauched and immoral national character, England subsequently managed to get herself knocked up and sent home.

The actions of the prison guards, intoned hate-radio second-stringer Boortz, "are going to cost the lives of soldiers." That is, the Arab world, already with plenty of reasons to be pissed at the Bush regime, now has graphic evidence of Americans torturing Iraqis (in Saddam Hussein's very own chamber of horrors, the Abu Ghraib prison, no less), and of committing the uncivilized deeds in a way calculated to offend some of Islam's strictest taboos.

American lives might well be forfeit. But Boortz wasn't really outraged at the guards' actions. In fact, he'd contributed to the anti-Arab frenzy that led to the guards concluding that what they were doing was appropriate. A few days before the Abu Ghraib story broke, Boortz had hooted for volunteer women to parade naked through Arab neighborhoods in America. That, he said (displaying an ignorance of Islam), would compel pious Muslim men who saw the women to commit suicide. Yuk, yuk.

On the torture story, Boortz was parroting spin from the Republican Party's Ministry of Big Lies, the same enterprise that manufactured bogus claims about supposed Iraqi-al-Qaeda links, Winnebago chemical factories, the Niger uranium deal and balsa wood toy aircraft that would supposedly deliver the WMDs to American soil. That's also the same canard machine that told us Bush had no prior warnings about the 9/11 attack.

America's airwaves -- courtesy of folks like Cox Enterprises and Clear Channel -- are dominated by the hateful lies of one side in the political debate, which is a big reason that Americans are so ill informed about Iraq and how the rest of the world perceives us.

There are many things one can say about Boortz. He's incredibly ill informed or incredibly dishonest or both (Saddam's armies, he avers, were more powerful than Hitler's; poverty is the result solely of people making bad choices, not the economy, job outsourcing, racism or other objective factors). And, he's a first-class chicken hawk who is happy for you or your children to get blasted, incinerated or perforated in Iraq, but when his country needed him, he showed his yellow backside.

Beyond all that, Boortz isn't very original. While he claims to be a Libertarian, his spin emanates from Republican National Committee and Heritage Foundation talking-point bulletins.

Now you can see where Boortz was going in blaming future deaths of our soldiers on England and her poorly trained, under-equipped colleagues. This, he and his fellow propagandists say, was just an isolated incident. It's all the grunts' fault. The generals and politicians didn't know.

Never mind that human rights groups had warned about ongoing abuse of Iraqis. Forget that official reports concluded the abuse was widespread and systemic. No matter that war consigliere Donald Rumsfeld had deep-sixed reports of torture until CBS' "60 Minutes II" broadcast the news. Or that defense experts -- including more than a few retired generals -- said this was precisely the kind of problem we'd run into if we overextended our military by invading Iraq.

For Boortz and the other right-wing bullhorns, the only real issue is that the Democrats might find political capital in the abysmal failure of Bush's invasion.

Boortz doesn't want to talk about that. We should return to really important topics such as: Was one of John Kerry's Vietnam wounds really just a scratch?

Bush promised an Arab TV network, "People will be brought to justice." If that promise has the teensiest element of truth to it, then Bush himself will someday stand in the defendant's box.

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