I've been considering these subjects for several days now. I've read the news, read some of the pundits and the thoughts of several bloggers. Permit me some thoughts.
First, what happened at Abu Ghraib was not torture, at least not by any definition I'd be willing to allow. Abuse yes, but not torture. Given what SecDef Rumsfeld said today it may wind up that there was actual torture, but so far I've not seen firm evidence of the fact.
Second, we need to bring our MP miscreants to a very public justice, but that justice must be proportional to the offenses. You don't get 20 years at hard labor for laughing at naked Iraqi men's genitals. We should make sure that we track the problem back to it's source, however high up the chain of command, and eliminate it from the military. We should also take steps to make sure it happens again. It's too distracting and causes too many operational problems. The lack of morality is obvious and doesn't need commenting on.
Third, enough of the crocodile tears about the whole abuse issue. Until someone proves real torture, the worst that was done was to embarrass the dickens out of these prisoners. As far a brief search of the medical literature reveals, there has not been a single documented case of death caused by embarrassment.
Fourth, these Iraqis were in Abu Ghraib for a reason, and it wasn't to tour the "Top 10 Sites Where Saddam Tortured His Own People", OK? Allowing the possible exception for mistakes of caution being made in a war zone, these were not nice people.
Fifth, we have apologized enough--probably too much. We're starting to look a little desperate here, people. We don't need to be desperate, we need to finish this part of the War on Terror and move on to the next AO.
Sixth, when is anyone going to apologize to us for the first World Trade Center bombing, the embassy bombings, the USS Cole, 9-11 or any of the other attacks on us? I know, don't hold my breath.
We need some proportion here. We did not start this war--the Islamists did. They've sown the wind and should now reap a much deserved whirlwind. As the have demonstrated with the hacking death of Nick Berg (Sorry, but it wasn't a beheading. Beheadings are relatively quick. This wasn't.), it's time for a cockroach killing contest, and rule #1 is that the contest isn't over until the last roach is dead. Turn the military lose to do what they do best--kill people and break things. (I stole this last phrase from Jerry Pournelle--it's just too good.) Leave the nation building to others who are interested. We just need to make it utterly clear that if you mess with the US, you will die, very likely in a hail of bullets and smart bombs. And we won't rebuild your country for you. You made the mistake, you pay for it. I don't think the lesson would have to be taught too many times before it would get through even the Islamist's thick skulls--assuming they still had any to get it through.
Unless there is something major that comes out of this, I'm done commenting on this entire sorry episode. I just don't see what else I can say constructively.