By now, a lot of ink has been spilled over the story of U.S. personnel torturing and abusing prisoners in Iraq. It’s stories like this that make me wonder just when people are going to realize how badly this war has been managed from the beginning.
The commander of the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been transferred to Iraq to oversee the treatment of 8,000 detainees as part of an investigation into alleged sexual and physical abuse at a U.S. Army-run prison outside Baghdad, officials said Thursday.
The officials also disclosed that the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, has ordered administrative penalties against seven unnamed officers who supervised the Army Reserve military police unit that was responsible for the Abu Ghraib detention facility in November, when Iraqi prisoners allegedly were subjected to beatings and sexually degrading acts by American soldiers.
…According to sealed charging papers that were provided to The Washington Post, soldiers forced prisoners to lie in “a pyramid of naked detainees” and jumped on their prone bodies, while other detainees were ordered to strip and perform or simulate sex acts. In one case, a hooded man allegedly was made to stand on a box of MREs, or meals ready to eat, and told that he would be electrocuted if he fell off. In another example, the papers allege, a soldier unzipped a body bag and took snapshots of a detainee’s frozen corpse inside.
Several times, soldiers were photographed and videotaped posing in front of humiliated inmates, according to the charges. One gave a thumbs-up sign in front of the human pyramid.
The beauty part? Abu Ghraib is one of Saddam Husseins former prisons and torture camps.
Where to begin? One prison guard is accused with raping a teenage boy held prisoner at Abu Ghraib. Of course, he is a private contractor (read mercenary), so he’s immune from military justice.
Add to this story the pictures and descriptions of what’s happening in Fallujah, that are being broadcast and circulated to the Arab/Muslim world.
During the first two weeks of this month, the American army committed war crimes in Falluja on a scale unprecedented for this war. According to the relatively few media reports of what took place there, some 600 Iraqis were killed during these two weeks, among them some 450 elderly people, women and children.
The sight of decapitated children, the rows of dead women and the shocking pictures of the soccer stadium that was turned into a temporary grave for hundreds of the slain – all were broadcast to the world only by the Al Jazeera network. During the operation in Falluja, according to the organization Doctors Without Borders, U.S. Marines even occupied the hospitals and prevented hundreds of the wounded from receiving medical treatment. Snipers fired from the rooftops at anyone who tried to approach.
Put it all together and ask yourself if the occupation of Iraq is really helping stop terrorism or merely fanning the flames of passion that give birth to it in the first place? Sure, the actions of these prison guards is not, as the general interviewed for “60 Minutes” said, representative of the 100,000+ men and women who are serving in Iraq. But tell that to a mother whose child was killed by U.S. forces in the seige on Fallujah. Tell that to the family whose home was bombed in that same battle. Tell them that we really are better than that; that not all of us are like that, and see if they believe it.
After all, it wasn’t the entire population of Fallujah that desecrated dead bodies. But they’re all paying the price for it now.