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Monday, January 10, 2005


The Torturer's Tale

More and more disturbing images are being released this week as the trial of Spc. Charles Graner Jr. gets underway. Graner is charged with participating in--and accused of being the ringleader of--the prisoner abuse that took place at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Graner is one of many soldiers who were seen in photos of prisoners in various humiliating poses which shocked the world last spring.

Now, as the trial gets underway and more of these pictures are being made public, we are hearing testimony from other soldiers who worked at Abu Ghraib taht Graner, a former civilian prison guard, went beyond just "following orders" in carrying out these vicious abuses. Witnesses to that abuse claim that Graner not only committed these atrocities, but seemed to enjoy them.

But here at Hairshirt, we don't just like to take what the media hands us, especially as it's so often been processed like Cheese Wiz for easy digestion. So we went straight to the torturer's mouth. What follows, then, is an interview with Spc. Graner, conducted during a lunch break at his trial. During the conversation, Graner was eating a tuna salad on rye and drinking a Fanta Orange.

Hairshirt: Mr. Graner, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.

Graner: You betcha. Anyone who works for FOX News is a friend of mine.

Hairshirt: Umm…yeah. Well, that’s where I work all right. Yup. Anyway, the story we’re hearing in the press, the pictures we’re seeing…they’re pretty damning. They show treatment of the prisoners that is clearly a violation of accepted international standards. What is your explanation?

Graner: Well now, listen Hoss, there’s a couple problems I have with what you jest said there. First off, when you’re talking about “international standards”, you’re talking about shit laid down by a bunch of pussies in Switzerland, right? That whole Geneva Concoction?

Hairshirt: Right.

Graner: Ain’t no Swiss faggot ever—

Hairshirt: They prefer the term “Switzer”.

Graner: I don’t give a shit, ‘cause they’re a bunch of chocolate-eatin’, Eidelweiss-pickin’, watch-makin’ ass-bandits and Mr. Alberto Gonzales says I ain’t gotta do one single ass—lickin’ thing they say. And our Commando-in-chief, a certain George W. Bush agrees.

Hairshirt: Okay.

[At this point, Graner ingests fully half of his sandwich.]

Hairshirt: I’m sorry, you said there was a second point?

Graner: Mo goo udderuh muh wha am eegin!

Hairshirt: Pardon?

Graner: I said don’t interrupt me while I’m eating, faggot!

Hairshirt: Right.

Graner: My second point was that what I did was in no way torture.

Hairshirt: No?

Graner: Hell, no! You ever been in prison?

Hairshirt: Do Professional Development sessions count?

Graner: Nope.

Hairshirt: Then no.

Graner: Well, let me tell you: it’s depressing as hell. You can’t go nowhere, you gotta follow someone else’s schedule all the time. It’s demoralizing. Torture. Pfaw! What I was trying to do was to keep those prisoners’ spirits up.

Hairshirt: Really?

Graner: You bet your sweet ass! I was a cheerleader in high school. The most effective morale boosters we ever had were our human pyramids. There’s nothing like climbing on someone else’s back and building something to get the giggles flowing and chase away the blues.

Hairshirt: Do you really think my ass is sweet?

Graner: Could use some toning, actually. Anyway, I brought my high school training to bear in the prison. We did cheers all the time.

Hairshirt: But these men were naked.

Graner: Well, duh! It was laundry day.

Hairshirt: What about allegations that you forced the prisoners to masturbate in front of one another?

Graner: Look, prison is damned lonely. You ain’t got your old lady in there, you’re gonna start Spankin’ Al Franken.

Hairshirt: But in front of each other?

Graner: Well, we only had one copy of Barely Legal in the whole building. A circle jerk was the only solution I could think of.

Hairshirt: What’s your response to charges that you savagely beat the prisoners?

Graner: No beating went on at Abu Ghraib. What we did there was Rolfing. Again, it was to relieve tension. The prisoners’ muscles were extremely tense. I’m a licensed Rolfing Specialist, so I would from time to time pull their muscles off of the bone and realign them. Rolfing can hurt sometimes. But is it torture? I don’t know. If caring too much for the prisoners in your charge is torture, then, yeah. I’m guilty. Might as well throw me in jail. Where you can bet I’d be happy to find circle jerks and Rolfing.

Hairshirt: And electrodes attached to your scrotum?

Graner: What can I say? Iraqis are a kinky lot. You know how many electrode requests we got on a daily basis?

Hairshirt: Mr. Graner, thank you for your time.