A peek behind the rhetoric curtain

We don’t really know what’s going on at Guantanamo, but educated people can make a reasonable guess, and it’s not pretty. This story provides a large clue:

The Army confirmed Tuesday that a former military police officer was injured while posing as a prisoner during a training session at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, last year.

But Maj. Laurie Arellano, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, said Spc. Sean Baker’s medical discharge last month was not related to the head injury he received during training at the detention center, where the U.S. government is holding suspected terrorists. She declined to elaborate, citing medical privacy laws.

Arellano’s comments came a day after Baker said he posed as an uncooperative prisoner and was beaten so badly by four U.S. soldiers that he suffered a traumatic brain injury, requiring a medical discharge.

Baker, of Georgetown, said the soldiers only stopped beating him when they realized he might be American.

You know, this isn’t about “supporting the troops” or “hating America” or any of the usual right-wing canards. You put a man in uniform and give him a gun, but underneath, he’s still the same man he was before. There are conscientious servicepeople who would never take part in something like this, and there are sadistic sons of bitches who gleefully join in. It’s foolish to deny the existence of either. What’s supposed to keep the latter from running amuck is discipline and leadership. Right now, leadership is being provided by people who consult with lawyers to see how far they can bend the law before they’re prosecuted for war crimes. The fish rots from the head down.