Saturday, May 01, 2004

War News for April 30 and May 1, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Two US sailors killed near Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Two US Marines killed, six wounded by car bomb near Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: South African security contractor killed in Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Filipino truck driver killed in ambush near Erbil. Bring ‘em on: Two security contractors killed, five wounded by roadside bomb in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Police colonel and municipal official assassinated in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Municipal councilman wounded in assassination attempt in Baquba. (Last paragraph.) Bring ‘em on: One US soldier, two wounded killed by roadside bomb ambush near Mosul. 1,361 Iraqis killed in April. Abu Ghraib happy snaps reach Iraqi. “When he heard about the photos showing U.S. troops abusing Iraqi prisoners, Ghaleb Ribahi fumed. After he saw them with his own eyes, he understood why some Iraqis are fighting the U.S.-led occupation. ‘These are the things that make Iraqis pick up a weapon and want to kill American soldiers,’ said Ribahi, 32, sipping sweet tea at a Baghdad coffeehouse Friday evening. ‘When I saw those pictures, I wanted to pick up a weapon, too.’” US Marines withdraw from Fallujah. “Led by a former Saddam Hussein general, Iraqi troops replaced U.S. Marines on Friday and raised the Iraqi flag at the entrance to Fallujah under a plan to end the monthlong siege of the city. A suicide car bomb on the outskirts that killed two Americans and wounded six failed to disrupt the pullout of Marines from bitterly contested parts of the city.” Commentary Editorial: The behavior depicted in the photos — which, among other things, show naked prisoners being subjected to sexual humiliation by American women — defies basic standards of human decency and the accepted conventions of war. It also hands America's enemies in and out of Iraq a gratuitous propaganda victory at the worst possible moment, as do the allegations of prisoner abuse by British soldiers. The abuses by Americans apparently occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison, a notorious center of torture and executions under Saddam Hussein. Casualty Reports Local story: Ohio Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Pennsylvania soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Missouri soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: South Carolina soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Illinois soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: California soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: California Marine wounded in Iraq. Local story: Oklahoma Marine wounded in Iraq. Local story: California security contractor dies from wounds received in Iraq. A Kodak Moment This is an outrage. If you want to see some of the pictures, go here. I understand CBS has hundreds of similar pictures. River is outraged and I don’t blame her. Professor Cole has some observations on the impact of these abuses in the Arab world. In her post, River says that people will try to explain this away as an “isolated incident.” From the articles I’ve read over the past two days (and I’ve read a lot of them) this wasn’t in any way isolated. According to the most comprehensive article I've seen, this was a systematic policy in that prison to induce detainees to “talk” by applying physical and sexual torture. This was not an incident that happened on a battlefield, where soldiers, regardless of nationality, often do horrible things that they regret for the rest of their lives. The animals wearing American uniforms in those photographs appear to be enjoying themselves while they torment and humiliate their powerless captives. River says she wants something done and done publicly. So do I. This needs to be fully investigated and the perpetrators need to be prosecuted. Military personnel need to face a court-martial, with cameras in the court-room – and especially cameras from Al-Jazeera and other Arab news organizations. The animals who did this need to have their pictures published on the front page of their hometown newspaper – just like any other common sex offender. Abu Ghraib apparently had contractors responsible for both the custody and interrogation of detainees. Most of the stories I’ve read indicate there was significant contractor culpability, both in a failure to adhere to military doctrine on handling detainees and in direct commission of serious offenses. One contractor allegedly raped a teenage boy in US custody. Some of the articles said the US military lacked jurisdiction to prosecute these people. But I’ll bet the Iraqi courts have jurisdiction – the victims were Iraqis and the crimes happened in Iraqi territory. If the US can’t prosecute them, turn them over to the Iraqi courts. With sandbags over their heads. One of the accused, Staff Sergeant Chip Fredrick offered the defense that he wasn’t trained in interrogation procedures. Bullshit, Sarge. You’re a Military Policeman, trained to maintain custody of prisoners. You’re also an NCO in the United States Army, a position of trust and responsibility. You’re trained in the Law of Land Warfare, you’re trained to know the difference between a legal order and an illegal order, and you know how to find an officer when you need to report abuse. Sarge, you suck. One thing to remember is that this entire investigation began when another soldier at Abu Ghraib approached an officer in January and reported this abuse saying, “There are some things going on here that I can't live with.” 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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