Yes, you've probably heard more than I have. But still... There's a hell of a lot of things one could say about the revelations of torture in Iraq (which doesn't excuse the beheading of an American civilian, but that's beside the point). I suppose if I say the things that are on my mind, then I can get back to doing stuff.
1) Rumsfeld, or whoever made the basic decision, is either an idiot, evil, or both. Colin Powell knew what would happen, and tried to warn people. Anyone who knew anything about the way these kind of things work knew it would happen.
2) Apparently they aren't teaching things the same way they did the short time I was in Basic; while it was clear you were expected to obey orders, they did point out that you are not obligated to obey orders which are illegal.
3) Civilians DO NOT GIVE ORDERS TO MILITARY PERSONNEL.
4) Let me repeat that: CIVILIANS DO NOT GIVE ORDERS TO MILITARY PERSONNEL.
5) Whoever in the military let this kind of thing go by needs to be hung out to dry. There's no excuse for it.
6) I'm not sure what to do about the guards themselves. If one looks at the psych studies, it takes some pretty unusual people to avoid falling into certain patterns in those kinds of conditions. At the same time, you simply cannot ignore it or just say "well, heck, shit happens."
7) To be fair, I think the punishment should be run right up the chain of command (and the usurped chain of command, presumably to Rumsfeld or whoever really pulled the trigger on these decisions) and then applied evenly across the board. Yes, the person at the top didn't do anything personally to the prisoners, but they set into motion ALL the events. OTOH, yes, the guards did things personally, but (if they have any decency in them at all) the memory of what they did will add to their punishment. So it evens out, I think. Firing for cause/dishonorable discharge across the board. Or fines. Or jail time. But apply it evenly to everyone. Make it clear that we don't tolerate this behavior, we do not condone it, and that no matter what level you're at in our society, if you do things like this, YOU WILL PAY FOR IT.
8) Bush is a bright man. He's also an idiot. Unfortunately the areas in which he's an idiot are just the areas in which he needs to be bright. I may have to vote Democrat rather than Libertarian just on the faint thought that my vote and that of others vaguely associated with me could be the final straw to dump him. And I don't WANT to vote for either of the main parties.
9) Serious reparations to the prisoners. Yes, even if they're nasty rotten stinking terrorists in fact. We f***ed up. We gazed into the Abyss and the Abyss gazed back into us. Take two steps back, let 'em go, pay 'em money, pay for any other treatment they need. If they attack us, well, okay, they'll get arrested or shot, but as a nation we have been dishonored. We must take the proper path to regaining what shreds of self-respect we can. WE MUST BE BETTER THAN THAT. We do not torture prisoners. We do not behead people on national TV. We do not abuse people because it amuses us. And if someone acting for us DOES these things, we must pay for it.
There. I think I'm done with this rant for now.