As the Iraqi insurgency intensified in early 2004, an elite Special Operations forces unit converted one of Saddam Hussein's former military bases near Baghdad into a top-secret detention center. There, American soldiers made one of the former Iraqi government's torture chambers into their own interrogation cell. They named it the Black Room.
In the windowless, jet-black garage-size room, some soldiers beat prisoners with rifle butts, yelled and spit in their faces and, in a nearby area, used detainees for target practice in a game of jailer paintball. Their intention was to extract information to help hunt down Iraq's most-wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to Defense Department personnel who served with the unit or were briefed on its operations.
The Black Room was part of a temporary detention site at Camp Nama, the secret headquarters of a shadowy military unit known as Task Force 6-26. Located at Baghdad International Airport, the camp was the first stop for many insurgents on their way to the Abu Ghraib prison a few miles away.
Placards posted by soldiers at the detention area advised, "NO BLOOD, NO FOUL." The slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." According to Pentagon specialists who worked with the unit, prisoners at Camp Nama often disappeared into a detention black hole, barred from access to lawyers or relatives, and confined for weeks without charges. "The reality is, there were no rules there," another Pentagon official said.
No blood, no foul. You know what that reminds me of? the scene in the Grifters where the hood has filled a bag with oranges to beat Angelica Houston with. Because it doesn't leave marks.
God. When did we turn into such an unbelievably brutal society? Stories like this make me think that America isn't worth saving. It makes me think that we've stepped so far over the line that we are indistinguishable from the brutal regimes that we profess to hate.
"The reality is, there were no rules there." Think about that quote. The reality is, this administration doesn't care about the rule of law, domestic or international, and has dispensed with common decency.
So what will tomorrow bring? Cue the wingnuttians moaning and rending their hair over "the enemies of america who endanger our safety by revealing the abuse." And cue the justice department initiating yet another investigation to find out who let the cat out of the bag.