Cruel and Inhuman

The Donald Rumsfeld countdown has begun. He apologized to the Senate Armed Services committee today for the abuse of Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib prison.

CNN has some of the pictures taken by US soldiers who were supposed to be guarding prisoners, and they really are as "cruel and inhuman" as Secretary Rumsfeld said they were.

Here's some of what CNN reported:

A military report about that abuse describes detainees being threatened, sodomized with a chemical light and forced into sexually humiliating poses.

Military investigators have looked into -- or are continuing to investigate -- 35 cases of alleged abuse or deaths of prisoners in detention facilities in the Central Command theater, according to Army Secretary Les Brownlee. Two of those cases were deemed homicides, he said.

"The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters after Rumsfeld testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

This Abu Ghraib prison scandal is bad business and it is going to take a take a lot more than apologies to make it right.

But in all the uproar over these "inhuman and cruel" photos, we are missing something far worse. A "reign of terror" in the Darfur region of Sudan, where up to a million people have been forced to flee from their homes.

Here's a bit from a BBC story today:

As we drive out from the main town of Nyala, in southern Darfur, we begin to see the evidence of lives swiftly overturned.

In the first village, ash crunches underfoot.

Huts are charred, the thatch gone.

In the debris is a child's blue plastic shoe.

In the second village, clay water pots lie cracked open like eggs.

A grain store is scorched and empty.

In the huts, there is a muddle of cloth, wooden beds half broken, buried under a thin layer of dust.

The BBC reported on a United Nation meeting where UN officials described numerous "crimes against humanity" being committed against African Muslim Sudanese by the mostly Arab Muslim government in Khartoum.

After briefing the council, UN Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan spoke of a "scorched earth policy" and "repeated crimes against humanity".

He described aerial bombardments as well as systematic attacks on villages by Sudanese government forces and militiamen who killed, raped, and looted.

"This is happening before our very eyes," he said.

Damn. Is it just me, or does it seem like we are getting Vietnam and Rwanda all over again?


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