PHASE 4….A few weeks ago I half-jokingly noted that mainstream conservative reaction to Abu Ghraib had shifted over time. Phase 1: horrible, just horrible. Phase 2: yes, it’s bad, but keep in mind that it’s not as bad as Saddam. Phase 3: give it a rest, OK?

And then I guessed that there might still be a phase 4 to come:

Maybe torturers as heroes, thanks to testimony from someone or other that one of the scraps of information they extracted saved a convoy somewhere? Hey, war is hell.

I am truly disgusted to report today that Phase 4 has now been reached. Here are the words of the Republican chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, Trent Lott:

“Frankly, to save some American troops’ lives or a unit that could be in danger, I think you should get really rough with them,” Lott said. “Some of those people should probably not be in prisons in the first place.”

When asked about the photo showing a prisoner being threatened with a dog, Lott was unmoved. “Nothing wrong with holding a dog up there unless it ate him,” Lott said. “(They just) scared him with the dog.”

Lott was reminded that at least one prisoner had died at the hands of his captors after a beating. “This is not Sunday school,” he said. “This is interrogation. This is rough stuff.”

He’s a real credit to his party, isn’t he?

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