Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma opened his remarks at the Senate hearing on Iraqi prisoner abuse today by saying he regretted that he couldn't attend on Friday when Donald Rumsfeld appeared before the panel for his grilling over the scandal. This is what we all missed with Inhofe's absence: His "outrage" at the outrage over the alleged abuse, torture and death of Iraqi detainees in U.S. custody. Here's a prime quote from his rant at the Taguba hearing today:
Inhofe: "The idea that these prisoners -- you know, they're not there for traffic violations. If they're in cell block 1A or 1B, these prisoners -- they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands. And here we're so concerned about the treatment of those individuals."
There's more in the transcript. There are so many things wrong with his remarks, it's tough to know just where to begin. The Red Cross reported that 70 to 90 percent of the Iraqis taken into custody by coalition forces were arrested by mistake. But even if they deserved arrest, the behavior alleged to have occurred at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. military prisons in Iraq constituted serious violations of the Geneva Conventions. Does Sen. Inhofe really condone --even support -- such lawless, immoral behavior? Thankfully, the three-quarters of Americans who say there is no excuse for the horror we've seen in the photos from Abu Ghraib -- and what we've yet to see in the images still to come -- know better.