This is the logical progression of Bush’s policies. The whole article is essential reading, but this story stands above the usual corruption:
One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.
For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.
There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.
He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers – all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees.
The seller, he claimed, was the Iraqi-owned company he worked for, Shield Group Security Co.
“It was a Wal-Mart (nyse: WMT – news – people ) for guns,” he says. “It was all illegal and everyone knew it.”
So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn’t know whom to trust in Iraq.
For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam Hussein, and he was classified a security detainee.
Also held was colleague Nathan Ertel, who helped Vance gather evidence documenting the sales, according to a federal lawsuit both have filed in Chicago, alleging they were illegally imprisoned and subjected to physical and mental interrogation tactics “reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants.”
A Special Forces team went to the trouble to rescue them first in order to torture them:
According to their suit, Vance and Ertel gathered photographs and documents, which Vance fed to Chicago FBI agent Travis Carlisle for six months beginning in October 2005. Carlisle, reached by phone at Chicago’s FBI field office, declined comment. An agency spokesman also would not comment.
The Iraqi company has since disbanded, according the suit.
Vance said things went terribly wrong in April 2006, when he and Ertel were stripped of their security passes and confined to the company compound.
Panicking, Vance said, he called the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, where hostage experts got on the phone and told him “you’re about to be kidnapped. Lock yourself in a room with all the weapons you can get your hands on.'”
The military sent a Special Forces team to rescue them, Vance said, and the two men showed the soldiers where the weapons caches were stored. At the embassy, the men were debriefed and allowed to sleep for a few hours. “I thought I was among friends,” Vance said.
The men said they were cuffed and hooded and driven to Camp Cropper, where Vance was held for nearly three months and his colleague for a little more than a month. Eventually, their jailers said they were being held as security internees because their employer was suspected of selling weapons to terrorists and insurgents, the lawsuit said.
The prisoners said they repeatedly told interrogators to contact Carlisle in Chicago. “One set of interrogators told us that Travis Carlisle doesn’t exist. Then some others would say, ‘He says he doesn’t know who you are,'” Vance said.
Let’s see, what should the rightwinger response to this be? What would come out after they hummed the Jeopardy tune in their head for a few seconds, trying to figure out a way the treatment of this Navy veteran was justified.
Well, first of all, they’ll have to do anything they can to character assassinate this guy. Veteran, schmeteran. Sometime, somewhere, a superior officer criticized him (I hear that happens in the military). Secondly, reinforce the military’s rationale: Claim this whistleblower really was in on the deal; surely somebody can tie him to some of the dirty sales. If not, insinuate it anyway via anonymous sources. For the cherry on the cheesecake, check his voting record. Has he ever given money to a Democrat running for office? If so, he’s toast, because that would explain everything.
Please let me know if you hear a winger trying any of these tactics. It will happen, because this is such an obvious affront to what kind of a country we identify ourselves as. This doesn’t represent George Washington’s America, it represents George W. Bush’s America. Power rules, the truth must be punished. The GOP base, still in love with Bush despite their noise, still believes he’s the presidential incarnation of Jack Bauer, breaking the rules for the “greater good,” all because he wants to “keep us safe.” They entirely approve of everything done here, even if the men were physically tortured.
Unfortunately, this is the kind of story that makes those outside the Cult of Bush ill, and so it cannot be allowed to stand as is. The good Christians of the base cannot brag of torturing whistleblowers openly. They even need to make excuses for themselves, else their consciences threaten to stir. But deep down, their feelings towards Donald Vance (and his co-whistleblower, Nathan Ertel) are simple to sum up: “Fuck you, you should have kept your mouth shut.”