By now probably everybody has read about the newest torture revelations from the illegal prison at Guantanamo. Today there are mainstream media condemnations from Maureen Dowd in the New York Times and even from token right-winger Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe. There is of course nothing new about the revelation of obscene and hidden details of political life. What makes this one different is that is that the obscene details are being played out on a large scale, using public resources, and in the name of every citizen.
None of this can be covered over with ritual condemnations or, as with the torture in Iraq, with show trials of a few low-ranking military personnel. The decision to use public institutions for the sexual humiliation of political opponents and people who are imagined to be political opponents can only be a political decision taken at the highest levels.