The Diddly Award

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

Illustration By: Peter Hoey

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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.”

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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