Iraqi abuse by american soldiers

mad pierrot said:
the "funniest" part of this is how surprised everyone is. What did everyone expect? Lollipops and karaoke? I'm not condoning what they did, but people should wake up to the reality of war. Bad things happen in war, and we're in one. And trust me, for everything that makes it on to the evening news, there is more that doesn't.

you're perfectly right. i guess the part that got me so much was the fact that not only did they take pictures, they were sitting around smiling at all of this like it was some great lark and everything was fine. i can imagine the other things that go on that no one talks about...
 
"They were doing a good job!"

From http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/16/international/middleeast/16LYNN.html

"In a sworn statement to investigators, Pfc. Lynndie England explained the mystery of why soldiers at Abu Ghraib took pictures of detainees masturbating and piled naked with plastic sandbags over their heads by saying, "We thought it looked funny so pictures were taken."

Private England's statement, made May 5, narrates the graphic photographs now at the center of the prison abuse scandal in specific detail and a matter-of-fact tone, describing the abuse as routine and sometimes amusing, but almost never, to her mind, out of bounds.
[...]
Asked later if she thought anything was inappropriate, Private England replied that only the masturbation was. But throughout the statement, she repeats that she and other soldiers were ordered to do the things they did, which has been the defense made by lawyers for the soldiers and the soldiers themselves.

When pressed, however, she said there were no specific orders on how to "break" the detainees for interrogation. But, she said, military intelligence soldiers and others "would tell us to keep it up, that we were doing a good job" aiding the interrogations. Asked who told them to instruct the detainees to masturbate, she said, "I was just told we were doing a good job," according to the statement."

Keep it up, yeah! Well, my understanding of doing a good job is slightly different, but who am I...
 
mad pierrot said:
the "funniest" part of this is how surprised everyone is. What did everyone expect? Lollipops and karaoke? I'm not condoning what they did, but people should wake up to the reality of war. Bad things happen in war, and we're in one. And trust me, for everything that makes it on to the evening news, there is more that doesn't.
Although I don't recall anything on this scale during the Gulf War, so either there was a clear policy shift towards these type of interrogation methods or the procedures to prevent it were thought to be in place.
 
According to an article in this week's New Yorker, the interrogation methods used at Abu Grhaib were originally developed to crack top Al Qauida prisoners captured in the Afghan war. In that war, by denying captives Prisoner of war status, the US was able to use torture and other methods against the prisoners that would otherwise have violated the Geneva conventions.

The shocking part of the article is the allegation that it was Donald Rumsfeld who, frustrated over the lack of information on WMD and the Iraqi uprising, authorized a secret program to allow interrogators in Iraq to use the same methods against prisoners there. One military official quoted in the article strongly opposed the decision, saying that unlike Afghanistan, where they were interrogating hardened terrorists, in Iraq most of the prisoners were "cab-drivers, brothers-in-law and other people off the street". It is estimated that about 60% of prisoners taken by the coalition in Iraq are innocent (the red cross puts the figure at 90%), and allowing torture methods designed for hardened Al-Quaida terrorists to be used against them is just plain criminal. The soldiers seen abusing prisoners in those photos may not have been a few rogues breaking the rules; they may have been following orders that directly flowed from policy decisions made in Washington. The Pentagon denies the claims, but if they turn out to be true it would certainly be the end of Rumsfeld's career and probably it would become one of the biggest political scandals to rock Washington in years.
 
Elizabeth said:
Although I don't recall anything on this scale during the Gulf War, so either there was a clear policy shift towards these type of interrogation methods or the procedures to prevent it were thought to be in place.

an interesting thing to note is perhaps such things did happen, just it never came out because the people were too smart- or knew what they were doing was wrong- to take pictures that could be used as solid evidence. all this whole situation does give the terrorists and other groups more ammunition in their tapes and makes other countries in the coalition align less willing to alogn themselves with the wil of the u.s... the latter result mightn' be too bad, as without all the support the u.s. would have to shoulder the entire weight of iraq and would have to withdraw sooner.
 
Beating Specialist Baker

It's obviously not only one prison in Iraq. This article by N.D. Kristof (NYT) is about an ex-guard in Guantanamo, who was ordered to play a prisoner in a training drill. He was treated so well that he suffered a traumatic brain injury & had to be given a medical discharge later.

Excerpts:
"[...]As instructed, Mr. Baker put on an orange prison jumpsuit over his uniform, and then crawled under a bunk in a cell so an "internal reaction force" could practice extracting an uncooperative inmate. The five U.S. soldiers in the reaction force were told that he was a genuine detainee who had already assaulted a sergeant.
[...]
When I couldn't breathe, I began to panic and I gave the code word I was supposed to give to stop the exercise, which was `red.' . . . That individual slammed my head against the floor and continued to choke me. Somehow I got enough air. I muttered out: `I'm a U.S. soldier. I'm a U.S. soldier.'
[...]
Meanwhile, a military investigation concluded that there had been no misconduct involved in Mr. Baker's injury. Hmm. The military also says it can't find a videotape that is believed to have been made of the incident.

Most appalling, when Mr. Baker told his story to a Kentucky reporter, the military lied in a disgraceful effort to undermine his credibility. Maj. Laurie Arellano, a spokeswoman for the Southern Command, questioned the extent of Mr. Baker's injuries and told reporters that his medical discharge was unrelated to the injuries he had suffered in the training drill.

In fact, however, the Physical Evaluation Board of the Army stated in a document dated Sept. 29, 2003: "The TBI [traumatic brain injury] was due to soldier playing role of detainee who was non-cooperative and was being extracted from detention cell in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during a training exercise."
[...]
If the U.S. military treats one of its own soldiers this way ? allowing him to be battered, and lying to cover it up ? then imagine what happens to Afghans and Iraqis."
 
I read about that Baker guy, the abuse seems to be pretty widespread throughout the whole system of US prison camps that have sprung up in the past couple of years. One thing that hasn't been covered much is the fact that the military is currently investigating the deaths of 37 inmates at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan which are believed to have been homicides commited by guards. That is much more serious than the photos and sexual humiliation.
 
The "detainees" don't exactly fall under the rules of the Geneva Convention because they are not war criminals, because according to America, there is no war in Iraq, just a general "fight" against terrorism, so they are not prisoners of war or criminals; instead, they are "detainees" who are being held which means that the Geneva Convention does exaclty apply to them, so they can do what they want to to the detainees. Smart huh? Instead if thinking up ways of how to get around the Geneva Convention, the U.S. govornment should fugure out ways to create peace in the Middle East or something.
 
*raises eyebrow* holy crap, that's one of the reasons why i prolly won't join the military. not saying that people in the military are necessarily bad, but i hope to never be faced with a situation like that- either as the victim or the soldier following orders. my father's in the army, and i believe we're fortunate that he hasn't been called to serve in Iraq, because at the time he was a drill sergeant instructor at the infantry school. serving one's country is great, but all controversy this goes above and beyond the call of duty.
 

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