U.S. forces freed at least 41 kidnapped Iraqis during a raid Sunday on an al-Qaida hide-out northeast of Baghdad, the military said. Some of the victims appeared to have been tortured and suffered broken bones. ...Obviously, it was retaliation for Abu Ghraib, where these Arab dearhearts learned of the very concept. Even before the torture manuals I alluded to last week, would anyone really have been surprised by this news? Iraqi media reports say officials have what they think are the bodies of the three captured US soldiers last week and they showed signs of torture (though this article doesn't elaborate so I hesitate; men captured in a fair fight will have violent marks on their body similar to torture, and enemies have a "right" to interrogate too) But they would not be the first such cases.
Some of the captives appeared to be suffering from heat exhaustion. Others gave harrowing accounts of having been hung from the ceiling and tortured, said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, another military spokesman. Evidence of abuse, including broken limbs, appeared to back up their account.
Some of the captives said they had been held for four months, Garver said. Most were middle-age men, but one said he was 14. The victims were taken to a safe location and were receiving medical treatment, the military said.
What this stuff reminds us is that we are the good guys in this conflict. Period.
This doesn't mean everything we do is good. It does mean (1) that whatever we do wrong, they will almost always do it worse, and loyalty can be inferred from rhetorical weight; and (2) our victory will advance the cause of good (even on matters like torture, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo notwithstanding) and our withdrawal and defeat, which the local left pines for, will set it back. Because political defeat is not abstractly moral, but always concrete -- US defeat means defeat to Al Qaeda and Islamism generally. Not to the UN. Not to the Church. Not to some overarching nebula called "decency" (or anything else). But to Islamism.
Fundamental rule of all politics -- whether war or an election. You only get to choose among the alternatives in front of you. Those alternative will always be imperfect, but you must make a choice (including "no choice," which is a de facto choice of the prevalent). Between X and Y, the defeat/victory of X is a victory/defeat for the concrete and immediate alternative Y, regardless of one's private motive or one's preferred alternative of Z. A US withdrawal would be a victory for Islamism, and thus a victory for torture and other forms of brutality.