GW Bush apologized to the Arabs for American torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners. He said that the Arabs would “have to understand” that the torture wasn't really what America was all about. Bush is so steeped in the Imperial Mindset that he can't even apologize without giving orders to the people to whom he is apologizing. He wasn't really kidding when he complained that his life would be easier if he were a dictator.
Dianne Feinstein seemed very emotional in her distress over the humiliation of these Arab prisoners. It would be refreshing if she would show the same sympathy for the people who have been imprisoned, sodomized, raped, and murdered in the drug war that she supports.
Politicians of all shapes and sizes are maintaining that torture is not the American way. That theory is a little hard to maintain when you consider that the United States has more instruments of human misery than any other country in the world: more prisons, more weapons of mass destructions, more weapons of individual destructions, and a seemingly endless supply of hypocrisy. The US has more people in prisons than any other nation, and the prisons are overcrowded. It's hard to believe that all this goes on without torture, especially with the evidence provided by the Rodney King scandal and other similar events.
The fact is that violence, torture and coercion has become the American Way, and this Way is supported by vast segments of the US population.
The people of the US have supported too many wars to enumerate here in detail. In most cases they have done so without any personal consequences. The world has been remarkable patient with the “Americans”. Starting in 1898 with the Spanish American War up through WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the first gulf war, the US was able to invade, bomb and otherwise perform extreme violence on a lot of countries without any significant payback. Soldiers and their families have suffered, but the general population has gotten off with a few economic sacrifices. In the Vietnam War around 58,000 US soldiers were killed, and around 2,000,000 Asians. That's a “kill ratio” of about 34 to one.
That's how it became possible to think that war had little or no cost. Perhaps it is even “good” for the economy. If a war on Nazi Germany was such a success, perhaps we also needed a war on poverty and a war on drugs.
After having killed millions of foreigners over a century of warfare, the US was struck on 9-11 and 3000 US citizens were killed. It was a national trauma. It seemed to the Americans that the world had changed. The world had not changed, but the US had experienced the pain of an effective counter punch for the first time. The public could no longer view war as purely a spectator sport. They were suddenly vulnerable to being hit in some small proportion to the misery they were dishing out to others.
Advances in technology have lead to declining morality in the USA. Technology is power, and power corrupts.
Now the US has put 135,000 soldiers in Iraq over the objections of the world's 1.5 billion Moslems. There are a little over 11,000 Moslems for each US soldier to deal with. It seems that this endeavor may not succeed, especially if the US can't use torture. Perhaps “quagmire” is too mild a term.