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U.S. Military Bars Some Iraq Interrogation Methods
May 14, 2004 5:01 PM   Subscribe

U.S. Military Bars Some Iraq Interrogation Methods...The officials said the decision was made on Thursday by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, on the same day that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with him on a surprise trip to the country and visited the Abu Ghraib facility on the outskirts of Baghdad. .. Is this a tacit admission that what took place was not simply rogue actions by individuals but rather military folks following orders of some kind? And, then, why do the new ground rules apply just to Iraq and not to other places?
posted by Postroad (27 comments total)

 
Hmm. So, "stress positions", sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation, etc are out (even though they're all COMPLETELY LEGAL! No, honest!) BUT:

"From that list, Sanchez has decided to continue to allow jailers to request the option of isolating a prisoner for more than 30 days at a time, officials said."

And here's the third paragraph of Article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of Prisoners Of War:

No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.

Ya think "isolating" people for 30 days or more might be considered "disadvantageous"? Even when they're backing down, they STILL can't get it right.
posted by kaemaril at 5:56 PM on May 14, 2004


Liberal pussies. It's a war. These are hardcore evil people. Torture no. Fear, sleep and psychological pain, yes. And yes, please, more panties on heads!
posted by ParisParamus at 6:18 PM on May 14, 2004


"Torture no. Fear, sleep and psychological pain, yes". Fear, sleep (deprivation) and psychological pain ARE torture. It may not be high-voltage to the gonads, or yanking finger nails out with pliars, but it's still torture.

Also, these are not "hardcore evil people", these are people who even the US administration have now admitted should be treated as prisoners of war. POWs are not "hardcore evil people" by default.
posted by kaemaril at 6:33 PM on May 14, 2004


I am against torture, but something to consider-- The Geneva Convetions are designed when 2 armies (of whatever size) are fighting each other. They might apply well for the majority of the rebellion, but what about the Al Qaeda tactic of blowing up trucks in crowded areas, like during Shia religious holidays (like the Ashura bombs which killed 180 Shias)? Should they not be able to use light/sound/sleep deprivation, etc. to get information about impending terror attacks against Iraqi civilians?

I don't know, but it seems to me if I were Iraqi, and foreign terrorists were planning to kill my civilians, I might be in favor of the 'light' brand of torture, stuff that is described above. I'm not sure. Some people say it's not effective anyway which is a whole different issue. I guess what I'm pointing to is that the war in Iraq, while in some ways a classic guerilla war, also has elements of terrorism which fall outside the realm of ordinary fighting. What to do about that? It's a hard question. What will the Iraqis do when they take control?
posted by cell divide at 6:35 PM on May 14, 2004


> Should they not be able to use light/sound/sleep deprivation, etc. to get information about impending terror attacks against Iraqi civilians?

Hmm. Well, that's an interesting question. Since we're so worried about the safety of Iraqi civilians here... should the Saddam regime not have been able to use light/sound/sleep deprivation, etc. against captured US troops to get information about impending bombing missions against Baghdad, since that might have hurt Iraqi civilians?

I'm guessing Messrs Bush, Rumsfeld etc might have had conniptions if that argument were tried.
posted by kaemaril at 6:44 PM on May 14, 2004


It's not a new debate... if you could prevent the deaths of hundreds by torturing one person, should it be done? Many say no because the question of where to draw the line is so hard to answer. I personally believe that when dealing with a known terrorist - not a suspect - this sort of thing may be justified to prevent attacks. Terrorism is a form of warfare where "fight fire with fire" actually makes sense. While this doesn't apply to the underlying causes of current terrorism, it does apply to existing terrorist networks.


POWs are not "hardcore evil people" by default.

Granted that some of Saddam's torturers (I take no responsibility for the credibility of the link, but you've all heard of the horrors) are now prisoners of war, I doubt you can safely declare that *none* of them are "hardcore evil people."
posted by Krrrlson at 7:16 PM on May 14, 2004


Hmm. Well, that's an interesting question. Since we're so worried about the safety of Iraqi civilians here... should the Saddam regime not have been able to use light/sound/sleep deprivation, etc. against captured US troops to get information about impending bombing missions against Baghdad, since that might have hurt Iraqi civilians?

For someone trying to be devil's advocate, I'd think you could do better. The idea of Saddam protecting Iraqis is laughable and you know it.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:17 PM on May 14, 2004


These are hardcore evil people.

Except for the 70 to 90 percent arrested by mistake, one would hope.
posted by homunculus at 7:40 PM on May 14, 2004


Liberal pussies. It's a war. These are hardcore evil people. Torture no. Fear, sleep and psychological pain, yes.

Hmm. Even the army admits that these techniques are better at getting people to say what you want to hear, than getting real information.

I don't know how to respond *shudder*. It's wrong on so many levels-- moral, pragmatic, etc.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:41 PM on May 14, 2004


"No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

Thus showing why the Geneva conventions have been broken by every army everywhere since their inception.

You know, torture (as in the infliction of extreme mental or physical duress) often leads (not always, but often) to incorrect information and is additionally morally wrong.

But the idea that you cannot cause any duress whatsoever on someone during an interrogation is so ludicrously unrealistic that it makes the whole Geneva accord something far to easily ignored. No matter what you do your breaking it... and that always trivializes a law ro protocol.
posted by soulhuntre at 8:26 PM on May 14, 2004


I thought the war ended last year? Where have I been...
posted by a3matrix at 9:31 PM on May 14, 2004


How evidence obtained through coercion is undermining the legal war on terrorism.
posted by homunculus at 10:28 PM on May 14, 2004


Liberal pussies. It's a war. These are hardcore evil people.

You are a troll, yes?
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:47 PM on May 14, 2004


Liberal pussies. It's a war. These are hardcore evil people. Torture no. Fear, sleep and psychological pain, yes. And yes, please, more panties on heads!

Oh my. Such talk about loving pain and wearing panties. FreedomParamus is a sexually troubled person engaging in dangerous activities. Because we care about him and those tempted to join him, it is important that we neither encourage nor legitimize such a destructive lifestyle. Discuss.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:55 PM on May 14, 2004


Krrrlson> I doubt you can safely declare that *none* of them are "hardcore evil people."

Hence why I said "by default" instead of a blanket statement. Yes, there could be bad people in there.

> For someone trying to be devil's advocate, I'd think you could do better. The idea of Saddam protecting Iraqis is laughable and you know it.

Why? Just because you're an "evil, ruthless dictator" doesn't mean you don't care about the welfare of your people. Especially when SOME of those people are your powerbase, and especially when you're in the middle of a war and you can get brownie points by "defending your people from the ruthless aggressors".
posted by kaemaril at 2:52 AM on May 15, 2004


Incredible. Incredible, that I had to hear my government say that we will no longer torture POWs (correction - they aren't really POWs and it really isn't torture, but we are stopping anyway).
posted by caddis at 3:06 AM on May 15, 2004


A report was released just before the torture lite scandals broke by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, called Human rights standards applicable to the United States' interrogation of detainees (PDF, 1.1MB). It's conclusion (now common knowledge, but then a scoop): "that individuals detained by the United States at its military and intelligence facilities in connection with the initial War in Afghanistan and the subsequent ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, are being subjected to interrogation techniques that constitute torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:12 AM on May 15, 2004


I *heart* XQUZYPHYR.
posted by Cyrano at 5:13 AM on May 15, 2004


Victims of torture

Torturers are cowards.

Pudgy keyboard jockeys that defend torture, like X, Y and Z* are less than cowards and should spend time exploring the links provided.


*Hint, they have posted to this thread.
posted by sic at 7:35 AM on May 15, 2004


Anything can be torture. A dripping tap. A dripping tap on your forehead. A tap on your shoulder repeated without end.

A drop of water? Torture? What pussies! Anyone in favour of Torture Lite™ would surely be able to withstand such a girl's torture. Please form an orderly queue.
posted by Blue Stone at 7:40 AM on May 15, 2004


Pentagon officials admit interrogation techniques approved for use in Iraq violate the Geneva Convention. Sen. Jack Reed asked Pace if a foreign nation held a U.S. Marine in a cell, naked with a bag over his head, squatting with his arms uplifted for 45 minutes, whether would that be a good interrogation technique or a Geneva Convention violation.

"I would describe it as a violation, sir," replied Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"As I read General Sanchez's guidance, precisely that behavior could have been employed in Iraq," said Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat.

Reed then asked Wolfowitz a similar question. Wolfowitz initially tried to sidestep it, but eventually replied, "What you've described to me sounds, to me, like a violation of the Geneva Convention."


posted by caddis at 8:00 AM on May 15, 2004


The Gray Zone

"The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror."
posted by homunculus at 2:17 PM on May 15, 2004


Since the summer is a bad time for television, could someone please make a reality programme entitled: 'Subject PeePee to treatment he doesn't regard as torture, and watch him cry like a baby'?
posted by riviera at 3:46 PM on May 15, 2004


Dear Penthouse:

I never believed the letters I read here, but since deciding it is liberal, my pussy has raised taxes, let negroes and wimmen vote, declined to prosecute Greenpeace for terrorism, appointed activist judges, grabbed my guns, sent my taxes to the UN, pardoned trees with regards to their responsibility in contributing to global warming, taken Heinz ketchup off the list of vegetables, let teh gay be married, shipped babies wholesale to Hillary! so that she can bathe in their blood (thereby maintaining her evil superpowers,) arrogantly set unfair and arbitrary rules the movers and shakers of our private sector are forced (now disarmed) AT GUNPOINT to follow, sent good Americans to re-education camps because they use too much oil, abrogated states' rights since 1864, legalized prostitution marihuana and miscegenation (not to mention plugging glowsticks into foreigners' assholes,) fucked my dog in the ass, raised taxes again, driven God-fearing Christians from their burning homes, murdering, raping and pillaging all the way, sold America out to those dirty Chinks, raped State Troopers, interns and any small mammals who got too close, raised taxes again, taught our children that meat eaters are worse than dirty dirt, and banned cigarettes.

My concern is that my asshole might be a liberal too.

Yours in Christ,
Trondant

P.S. Hitler was a liberal!

P.P.S. Can someone change my diaper?
posted by trondant at 4:03 PM on May 15, 2004


Bush : "Constitution Check, Geneva Convention Check, what else needs updating?"

Rummy : "The Bible?"

Bush : "Somebody get Mel Gibson on the phone"
posted by fullerine at 4:56 PM on May 15, 2004


Some Chinese See Positive Lessons in Iraqi 'Torture Gate'
posted by homunculus at 10:47 AM on May 16, 2004


Shadow on the U.S. Beacon
posted by homunculus at 6:02 PM on May 16, 2004


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