Abu Ghraib hearings

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It's becoming increasingly clear that there had been some sort of investigation already going on, and they just didn't want anything public until they'd completed that investigation. This is as things should be and were before the media circus days that have destroyed the process of justice in many ways. Someone inappropriately released the information about this while this investigation hadn't been completed. I'm much more sympathetic to people who want to do things in an orderly and reasonable process, getting things right before saying anything about it than I am to those who want to emphasize parts of a story that we know something about while not investigating the rest. You can call me secretive if you want (which I'm sure you'll do of the Bush Administration), but I'll just call you rash and foolish right back. There are plenty of questions to ask, and they're asking them in the right place now. I'm not willing to say anything about how anyone has handled this until that's all in. Everything I've heard is as consistent with exemplary behavior by both Bush and Rumsfeld as it is with what their detractors are saying.

I do want to say that one thing Rumsfeld said impressed me greatly. I didn't get his exact words, but when he apologized for the actions of the U.S. military under his command, he said "we", referring to the United States. He's got a deeper understanding of communal responsibility than most Americans do. We did this. He understands that. Many people think so individualistically that they resist any notion of one person deserving shame for the actions of others who belong to the same group they proudly belong to after events like 9-11 lead to surges of patriotism. If we band together as Americans then, we band together as Americans when Americans do egregious things. Moral solidarity is a two-way street. Those who see an us-and-them between themselves and the Bush Administration while criticizing Bush for what individuals he's not immediately morally responsible for have done want to have it both ways. They want individualism when they separate themselves from the atrocities, but they want communitarianism to blame others. I think something of each general attitude is correct, but we can't go inconsistently adopting one or the other based on which people we want to criticize and which people we want to distance ourselves from.

Update: Sam has more on the pictures.

Update 2: Swamphopper at The Rough Woodsman has a bitingly sarcastic reductio ad absurdum of the Rumseld Resign argument.

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