According to Donald Rumsfeld, the Darth Sidious of American politics, the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was “fundamentally un-American”.

If only.

In fact, according to the New York Times ( Mistreatment of Prisoners Is Called Routine in U.S.):

Physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, similar to what has been uncovered in Iraq, takes place in American prisons with little public knowledge or concern...

The article goes on to detail a litany of abuses suffered by those incarcerated by the US penal system, from the absurd:

[M]ale inmates at the Maricopa County jail in Phoenix [Arizona] are made to wear women’s pink underwear as a form of humiliation.

... to the sinister:

At Virginia’s Wallens Ridge maximum security prison, new inmates have reported being forced to wear black hoods, in theory to keep them from spitting on guards, and said they were often beaten and cursed at by guards and made to crawl.

... to the sickening:

[A Federal District Court Judge] imposed the [federal consent] decree after finding that guards were allowing inmate gang leaders to buy and sell other inmates as slaves for sex.

In fact, it looks like those running Abu Ghraib learned at the foot of a past master:

[T]he man who directed the reopening of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq last year and trained the guards there resigned under pressure as director of the Utah Department of Corrections in 1997 after an inmate died while shackled to a restraining chair for 16 hours. The inmate, who suffered from schizophrenia, was kept naked the whole time.

Perhaps this is one American tradition the Iraqis won’t appreciate.