Sunday, March 19, 2006

happy anniversary, iraq war, oh and about that torture

And as we consider what three years of the Iraq War has wrought, let us remember what our de facto leader George W. "No Vietnam War for me, thanks Dad" Bush said in October 2003
Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers.
I guess that might have been technically correct, in the sense that Iraq was (maybe) free of rape rooms and torture chambers RUN BY IRAQIS. Instead, in a perverse form of outsourcing, responsibility for conducting torture was granted to the United States military and intelligence agencies.

And today in the New York Times, more details about how our people are torturing and abusing Iraqis in our name, in and out of Abu Ghraib, before and after those photos first came to light. This particular article is about a Special Operations unit and how it treated prisoners at a detention center. As the writers point out, it helps prove that the Pentagon and White House are lying when they allege that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were done by a few enlisted, reservist bad apples, avoiding any damage to the careers of officers and regular Army, let alone spooks.

A few inspiring passages from this long and unpleasant article:
In early 2004, an 18-year-old man suspected of selling cars to members of the Zarqawi terrorist network was seized with his entire family at their home in Baghdad. Task force soldiers beat him repeatedly with a rifle butt and punched him in the head and kidneys...
One Defense Department specialist recalled seeing pink blotches on detainees' clothing as well as red welts on their bodies, marks he learned later were inflicted by soldiers who used detainees as targets and called themselves the High Five Paintball Club.
In January 2004, the task force captured the son of one of Mr. Hussein's bodyguards in Tikrit. The man told Army investigators that he was forced to strip and that he was punched in the spine until he fainted, put in front of an air-conditioner while cold water was poured on him and kicked in the stomach until he vomited.
The next day, Admiral Jacoby wrote a two-page memo to Mr. Cambone, under secretary of defense for intelligence. In it, he described a series of complaints, including a May 2004 incident in which a D.I.A. interrogator said he witnessed task force soldiers punch a detainee hard enough to require medical help. The D.I.A. officer took photos of the injuries, but a supervisor confiscated them, the memo said.
The torture and abuse was so bad that the FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency (not exactly a bunch of bleeding hearts) reported them and the DIA even withdrew their personnel from this Special Ops detention camp.

Torture is un-American.