The Diddly Award

Honoring our rubber-stamp Congress, whose members have found plenty of time to do squat.

The See-No-Evil Black Hood is awarded to the U.S. senator most adept at confecting an excuse for the torture at Abu Ghraib, which not only shamed the nation but failed to yield a single known piece of valuable intel. The nominees are...

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who announced that he—and many others—were "more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment." Despite a report from the Red Cross estimating that as many as 90 percent of Iraqi inmates were "arrested by mistake," Inhofe elaborated: "These prisoners, you know they're not there for traffic violations. If they're in cell block 1-A or 1-B, these prisoners, they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands, and here we're so concerned about the treatment of those individuals." (Later, U.S. forces released more than 2,000 of these detainees.)

Sen. Zell Miller (ambiguous political orientation-Ga.) said that the sexual degradation at Abu Ghraib was just high school gym stuff: "The two times I think I have been most humiliated in my life was standing in a big room, naked as a jaybird with about 50 others, and they were checking us out. Now that was humiliating.... It didn't kill us, did it? No one ever died from humiliation."

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), at a hearing with General John P. Abizaid, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, after the scandal broke, said he was bewildered by the "unreal" press accounts and promised Abizaid that he'd go easy on him because, "It's been a landslide of criticism."

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), apparently looking back to the days of Bull Connor sic-cing hounds on civil rights marchers, harrumphed about the guards' use of unmuzzled dogs, "Hey, nothing wrong with holding a dog up there, unless the dog ate him."

And the Hood goes to... Pat Roberts, who, within earshot of a New York Times reporter, began his investigation of the scandal by whispering to Gen. Abizaid: "I'll throw you a couple of softballs."