Abuse Of Iraqi POWs By GIs Probed
April 29, 2004 9:31 AM   Subscribe

One Iraqi prisoner was told to stand on a box with his head covered, wires attached to his hands. He was told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted. Torture by Saddam? No, torture by American soldiers in Saddam's most notorious prison. After an Army investigation, courtmartials are likely, and a brigadier general may be forced to resign in disgrace.
posted by hipnerd (81 comments total)
I heard this on the news this morning and it sickened me. This isn't what we are there for and all of the soldiers involved should be imprisoned for war crimes.

How could they actually think that this wouldn't get out?
posted by fenriq at 9:36 AM on April 29, 2004

Well, on the positive side, it's good to see the military taking serious action on the issue.

On the negative side, what kind of half-assed excuses are they trying to pull? "I, uh, hadn't see a copy of the geneva convention, I thought torture was a-okay!". Even worse, there are photographs out there? Imagine what kind of fodder that's going to give to the insurgents in Iraq, as if they already didn't have enough.
posted by malphigian at 9:40 AM on April 29, 2004

I don't think it is too unreasonable to expect things to stay hidden in a military setting.

I'm glad the news did break, and that courtmartials are likely. I wonder how wide spread or common US military abuses like this are in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanmo Bay. This is really a very poor way to conduct yourself. Stuff like this just fuels anti-US sentiment. (More then that, it's inhumane.)
posted by chunking express at 9:45 AM on April 29, 2004

As one who has had two corrections officers as aquaintences in my life, this isn't surprising in the least.

Frederick, a reservist, said he was proud to serve in Iraq. He seemed particularly well-suited for the job at Abu Ghraib. He’s a corrections officer at a Virginia prison, whose warden described Frederick to us as “one of the best.”

I hope I'm never incarcerated in any of Virginia's prisons.
posted by moonbiter at 9:55 AM on April 29, 2004

Well, technically, technically mind you, they weren't tortured, as apparently the electrodes weren't actually hooked up or anything. They were just made to think they would be tortured, so hey! no lasting injuries.

Uh, at least physical ones, you know, the kind you can prove happened. Unless you're dumbass enough to take pictures, that is. No harm, no foul, right? Right?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:56 AM on April 29, 2004

This is deplorable.

Sadly, it is also part and parcel of any military conflict (or police force, or authority) that abuses will occur. This is not an American army issue, rather an issue that exists in every military, including notably the Canadian mission to Somalia.

There can't be any denying that the American armed forces have been among the most humane in history, for what it's worth. Glaring exceptions such as these and others aside.

That being said, the people responsible should be sent to jail for a long time.
posted by loquax at 9:59 AM on April 29, 2004

frankly, the big news would be "no Iraqis have been tortured by Coalition forces, ever", because shit like this is bound to happen in a war scenario. a soldier's business in war is blowing up buildings, killing people, etc -- hopefully, following orders that are not conductive to war crimes. war is about violence, and sooner or later in some cases torture 'll end up being part of that scenario.
that's why the damn peaceniks are so wary of sending kids off to war, especially if the reasons are not good enough/fictitious/made up. because stuff like this will happen, almost necessarily -- a hundred thousand soldiers, you'll have your statistical amount of thugs acting like thugs.
a thug in a uniform remains a thug.

I seriously doubt torture is standard practice in Iraq, but this looks terrible. hearts and minds indeed.

and yes, when one of the main reasons for war is "we'll free you from that thug Saddam" and "we'll show what democracy is", well, it is not conductive to good PR to act like the contras.

having said that, it's good to see that the military is taking action. but I expected it. and it's bad. but not major.
unless it's standard operation procedure, which I'm sure it isn't.
posted by matteo at 10:01 AM on April 29, 2004

heh. what loquax said, almost. I see we're basically on the same wavelenght
posted by matteo at 10:02 AM on April 29, 2004

Happens in every war. Remmeber the Canadian disgrace in Somalie 10 years back?
This extraordinarilly damaging event is both forseeable, and largely avoidable with the proper management.
Proof still more that war management eludes the Bush whitehouse.

Dig the Bush Admin's credibility, winding down toward zero.faster.and.faster

The disquieting thing is, right now its all Bush's shame. But if he wins a 2nd term, us Americans each get our own collective share of his disesteem.
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:14 AM on April 29, 2004

i sure wish i could share the sentiment some of your are expressing that: a) this isn't widespread and not likely to happen again; and b) simultaneously, just something that happens in war.

it's too much like when there's a case that actually proves police officers have abused a black citizen and violated his civil rights. it would be quite foolish to say "look, the system worked and caught it.this sort of thing is bad, but it isn't widespread, and it'll never happen again." because it always happens again. and there are incidents that we never hear about.

i think this is inexcusable. absolutely inexusable. why am i contiunually told that the our troops are shining, noble examples of humanity and that i, as a liberal, am not even fit to spit-polish their boots, let alone qualified to criticize them in any way, shape, or form for anything they or their comanders do, if we're going to just shrug and say "soldiers do this kind of thing" when something like this happens?

this incident is like bush referring to the "war on terror" which is currently being prosecuted by mostly western countries against mostly arabic/islamic countries as a "crusade." how the fuck can the people in charge continually fuck up this bad and continue to do and say things that increase arab/islamic hatred of america? i simply don't understand.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:18 AM on April 29, 2004

While I don't think this is Standard Operating Procedure, I would bet that it happens a heck of a lot more often than we will ever know.

Shrugging it off is like throwing gasoline on an already imflammatory situation. The soldiers need to be made an example of, the commanding officer needs to go to jail. Court martial is a slap on the wrist. He's guilty of war crimes, make him stand up and account for his actions or inactions to stop this torture.
posted by fenriq at 10:27 AM on April 29, 2004

So lord_wolf, you're saying that you have proof that torture is widespread in the CPA in Iraq?

And I think everyone agrees that it's inexcusable, that's why they'll be court-martialed and sent to jail.

Should the US should have pulled out of Europe in 1944 if a soldier was caught torturing a German? Or raping a woman? Should we disband police forces after a corruption scandal? One bad act does not condemn an entire enterprise, unless your problem is with the enterprise itself, which is of course a different issue.
posted by loquax at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2004

A couple of people have mentioned the Canadian incident in Somalia. Just FYI, that entire regiment was disbanded in disgrace, and I believe charges were brought.
posted by Capn at 10:40 AM on April 29, 2004

no, loquax, i don't have any proof.

but since this "war on terror" started, we've done so many things that i never thought the country i love so much would do that i simply don't have faith that it's not more widespread.

the accumulation of these kinds of things leaves me feeling that if there is a god/allah/g-d/zeus or whatever out there, he should just wipe humanity off the face of this rock and start over again.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:56 AM on April 29, 2004

I know what you mean lord_wolf, and I didn't mean to sound snarky, but because some things are so bad right now, I think it's really important to keep the right perspective and judge the relative merits of what's going on to ensure that things improve, not just in the context of Iraq, but in any facet of life on this rock.

I really fear knee-jerk, emotional reactions, whether they're Bush's or Kerry's or anyone's.
posted by loquax at 11:21 AM on April 29, 2004

Wait until Mister Cheney hears about this! Those guys are totally in trouble!

I'm with those who would be surprised to learn this does not happen. Frankly, I'm delighted that the electric leads were not hooked up. Soldiers are killing machines, at least the good ones are. The best you can hope to do is restrain them, and apply conspicuous punishment to the ones you catch red-handed.

Of course, the absolute best you can do is not deploy them, but it's too late for that now.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:43 AM on April 29, 2004

I support soldiers and police officers to an extent, but I also think it's important to remember that those professions draw a lot of folks who enjoy violence, killing, and being all-around macho. We must always police the police (and military.)
posted by callmejay at 12:06 PM on April 29, 2004


This is not an American army issue, rather an issue that exists in every military

G. F. Y.
posted by Satapher at 12:48 PM on April 29, 2004

those professions draw a lot of folks who enjoy violence, killing, and being all-around macho

We must always police the police (and military.)

While I agree with your second point as a general rule for any organization with authority, including the UN, IRS, DMV, NYSE, and so on, your first point is opinion and not fact. I think a lot of people would take exception to that characterization of "a lot of folks" in those professions. The vast majority of soldiers and police officers do their jobs professionally and beyond reproach.

On preview: Satapher - ?
posted by loquax at 12:50 PM on April 29, 2004

"The elixir of power, the elixir of believing that you're helping the CIA, for God's sake, when you're from a small town in Virginia, that's intoxicating,” says Myers. “And so, good guys sometimes do things believing that they are being of assistance and helping a just cause. ... And helping people they view as important."

HAHAH!! oh, god damn.

the elixir of believing that you're helping the CIA, for God's sake, when you're from a small town in Virginia, that's intoxicating,

HAHAH!!! please, your honor......my client's not guilty.... cause he's a small town yokel!!!!

holy shit that's funny!!!!!!

also, i'm fucking appalled. and lest any of you believe any of these godawful excuses, know that every single servicemember has classes on the geneva conventions and the rules of warfare.
posted by taumeson at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2004

Some of the pictures are available here

"We didn't have a copy of the geneva convention, so naturally we assumed it was okay to strip the prisoners naked and make them do a human pyramid".
posted by malphigian at 1:11 PM on April 29, 2004

This was bound to happen. When you put untrained people in a position of power over others, something evil occurs. You need to be aware of this going in, and have safeguards in place. This is not an isolated incident, it's like Murphy's law, it is occuring everywhere it can. The sad thing, is we have known this for years, and still let it happen.
posted by MetalDog at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2004

every single servicemember has classes on the geneva conventions and the rules of warfare.

yes. and US Presidents are usually sworn in using a Bible.
posted by matteo at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2004

"Frederick told us he will plead not guilty, claiming the way the Army was running the prison led to the abuse of prisoners.

“We had no support, no training whatsoever. And I kept asking my chain of command for certain things...like rules and regulations,” says Frederick. “And it just wasn't happening."

I dont know...I dont have any training or anything, but I know I shouldn't do shit like this to people. all of them, including the general in charge of them, should all be court-martialed, and then tried for war crimes.
posted by ShawnString at 1:50 PM on April 29, 2004

metaldog: I'm glad you pointed out the Stanford experiment. This is not an issue of Iraq or the military per se, but it's going to be made into one because of the carelessness of those who should know better.

ShawnString: Ditto. And Frederick in particular should know better, because he had training. He was a friggin' corrections officer, for Christ's sake.
posted by moonbiter at 2:07 PM on April 29, 2004

"The occupation of Iraq has, of course, been portrayed by Bush ideologues as
a "laboratory for democracy" in the Middle East. To MOUT geeks, on the
other hand, it is a laboratory of a different kind, where Marine snipers
and Air Force pilots test out new killing techniques in an emergent world
war against the urban poor
. "
posted by specialk420 at 2:08 PM on April 29, 2004

There can't be any denying that the American armed forces have been among the most humane in history, for what it's worth.


So faced with evidence of torture by the US military your response is to claim it to be the humane military in history?

I proclaim you today's posterboy for cognitive dissonance!

posted by sic at 3:34 PM on April 29, 2004

Should the US should have pulled out of Europe in 1944 if a soldier was caught torturing a German?


So faced with evidence of torture by the US military in Iraq your response is to claim that fighting the Nazis in WW II was too important a venture to have been canceled due to American GIs torturing Germans?

I proclaim you today's LORD AND MASTER of the false analogy/straw man/flat out nonsense argument!

posted by sic at 3:41 PM on April 29, 2004

Huzzah! Thank you. I've been waiting for some recognition.

Alas, is there nothing to be gained by examining the whole picture through the glasses of moral relativism? All I was saying was that 1 documented incident does not a rabid, kill-bot army make. Neither does 10, or 100, when compared with the Soviet Red Army, or the Japanese Army in China and Korea, or Hitler's army. All things considered, I think Iraqis (or Canadians) would rather be occupied by the American army than that of almost any other in the world, despite this deplorable behaviour.

I totally agree with the other posters here calling for jail time, etc if those responsible are found guilty. I'm just saying don't lets blow it out of proportion and erase many of the positives associated with the American military in history, even if you don't agree with their present utilization.

Personal example: Recently Toronto policemen have been implicated in corruption scandals, drug dealing and racist behaviour. I say throw anyone involved in jail, root out the negative elements, going as high as necessary, but don't forget that the police protect us every day and are 99% good, decent, honourable people, even if I don't agree with all of the laws they have sworn to protect.

On the other hand, if there is evidence of systemic use of torture in Iraq as the policy of the CPA, that's a very different story and is a very different discussion. Until that is uncovered, if it is uncovered, let's reserve judgement on the military as a whole.

PS: How have the insurgents or whatever you want to call them been treating POW's or civilian hostages? No condemnation for them?

On preview: Lord and master! No, it's too much for one man. Please! You flatter!
posted by loquax at 3:54 PM on April 29, 2004

These are awful. The soldiers are standing over the prisoners like they just bagged a deer. I can't believe that the discipline or responsibility broke down so far as to allow this to happen.

If you are not outraged at this, maybe you haven't seen all the pictures, they are truly hellish. (link - warning democraticunderground, and very graphic!)
posted by milovoo at 4:03 PM on April 29, 2004

The pictures are pretty awful. There's no excuse for the soldier's behaviour at all. I haven't been trained in how to guard prisoners of war but I know that you're not supposed to sexually molest them and torture them.

Does this condemn the efforts of the US to establish democracy in Iraq? No but I think its pretty arguable that we're not there to establish democracy.

And the violence visited against the hostages held by the terrorists and insurgents has been pretty universally decried as wrong (with the bizarre exception of Japan being ashamed that they were caught in the first place).
posted by fenriq at 4:36 PM on April 29, 2004

PS: How have the insurgents or whatever you want to call them been treating POW's or civilian hostages? No condemnation for them?

Are you suggesting we reduce ourselves to the depravity of our enemies? No? Then why make such a stupid statement?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:50 PM on April 29, 2004

"The U.S. Army -- Not As Bad As Hitler or Stalin Yet"

Now there's a marketing tool!
posted by briank at 4:51 PM on April 29, 2004

Come now, be fair. You can twist my words around however you like and make jokes, but deep down, if you read what I said, you can't really disagree.

And civil_disobedient, seriously, how do you get that I was suggesting the US army reduce itself to the level of its enemies? Where was that suggestion? Do you seriously think that's what I was trying to say? No? Then why make such a statement?
posted by loquax at 5:20 PM on April 29, 2004

Hmm. What's the first charge of the inditement? Getting caught out in the first degree?
posted by kaemaril at 5:24 PM on April 29, 2004

seriously, how do you get that I was suggesting the US army reduce itself to the level of its enemies?

Because you are attempting to judge the behavior of our soldiers in the same moral context of our enemies. Which is fine if you are comparing apples to apples, but I'd really like to think (hope?) that we hold our troops to a higher standard than our enemies. Making a throwaway statement like this:

How have the insurgents or whatever you want to call them been treating POW's or civilian hostages? No condemnation for them?

... is a pointless attempt to trump up our own actions, because you are effectively saying, "Well, it could be worse." Which is true, no doubt, but is a poor standard to judge from. The way the insurgents (or whatever you want to call them) treat our hostages is inconsequential to the way we treat them. We have our own ideas on the ways prisoners should be treated that are based on hundreds of years of history and tradition: our "morality" is thus pre-defined; yet your comment reaks of moral relativism ("Well, we might be treating them badly, but at least it's not as badly as they treat us.")

I hear this kind of crap coming from the mouths of conservatives all the time, like it's supposed to make us feel all better inside because, well, we might be bad, but at least we're not as bad as them. Fuck that. We're better than them precisely because we don't reduce ourselves to this sort of shit. We abide by the rules we have set for ourselves even before we go to war, and even after our enemies have resorted to the most debased and unhonorable depravity. We stand firm and resolute because we have something to back it up with. When I read about American GI's torturing someone, even if it's "just psychological," I seethe with anger because we selling ourselves out.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:55 PM on April 29, 2004

How have the insurgents or whatever you want to call them been treating POW's or civilian hostages? No condemnation for them?

I hear what you're saying Civil, and I agree for the most part. I made that comment only in response to this thread, I was not trying to say that we should judge ourselves by anyone else's standards in that comment or anywhere else in the thread. I certainly don't think that. When I mentioned moral relativism, it was not to say that we are not as bad as others, but in fact to say that the American military has, for the most part, been a good and positive influence in the world. Feel free to disagree on that point. Maybe some of the analogies I tried to make came across badly. If so I apologize.

Throughout this thread I've been saying what those soldiers did is reprehensible and that they deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. No doubt about it. I'm not making apologies for them, their superiors or the military in this instance. All must take responsibility.

That being said, this incident does not reflect on the current military as a whole, as I'm sure you would agree from other comments of yours that I've read. I think this incident highlights the vigilance required to ensure that the American military continues to be a professional organization and hopefully a positive presence, even if we disagree on how and where they are being used.
posted by loquax at 8:54 PM on April 29, 2004

More of the pictures are available here.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:27 PM on April 29, 2004

Why do I hate America so much?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:47 PM on April 29, 2004

One bad act does not condemn an entire enterprise, unless your problem is with the enterprise itself, which is of course a different issue.

I don't see it as a different issue, and neither do the British command. They've been complaining up and down the ranks of late that US soldiers are inappropriately brutal in their treatment of Iraqis, and seem to regard the Iraqi people as "untermenchen." (Can't find link, story's about a week old)

The bloody"enterprise" you speak of and this appalling revelation of "many, many" torture events committed by our troops are merely two symptoms of the same disease: American arrogance and disregard for anyone's well-being but that of our ruling class.
posted by squirrel at 11:35 PM on April 29, 2004

When I was a boy, I was told that the enemy had shot down my Dad's cousin, Porter Haliburton. I saw the enemy as a ghostly man with long hair and a green face from a Toulouse-Lautrec print, with a long Dirty Harry pistol, unafraid and firing at our planes. When Porter was freed in '73, we were sharply admonished not to ask him about leg irons or torture (he was taken POW in Fall 1968, just as the worst conditions for Vietnam POWs were created - solitary confinement,beatings, ropes,starvation.

Porter is a Christian man. He has gone back to Vietnam and broken bread with his torturers. He forgives them. I've seen his letters, he loves the country and its people.

I was raised to believe that our army did not do this but I remember the tears on my mother's face when we children wanted the flag ice cream on July 4 after the My Lai murders.

On my mother's side of the family, I've been to the Resistance Museum in Oslo with bloodstained whips, irons, execution wall, legscrews, a Gestapo tea kettle with a valve for hot water torture. A roll of toilet paper that a prisoner wrote on with pinpricks instead of cleaning his ass.

Tonight I am deeply ashamed and afraid for my country.
posted by crunchburger at 1:00 AM on April 30, 2004

Shrugging it off is like throwing gasoline on an already imflammatory situation. The soldiers need to be made an example of, the commanding officer needs to go to jail. Court martial is a slap on the wrist. He's guilty of war crimes, make him stand up and account for his actions or inactions to stop this torture.

Court Marshall's cover all punishment aspects, including the death penalty. In other words, it isn't just a slap on the wrist, it will probably send him to jail for a long while.

Isn't war crime allegations more used for systemitic, high level war planning? Like sparking invasions and all that? I doubt that it could be applied to the low levels who did this. Maybe the higher levels, but I'm unsure how much they were complicent in the incident.

I'm really sad to hear that things like this happen, and I expect better from my fellow military members. Most of decent human beings though. However, it's part of the civilian world's responsibility to keep us honest.

And if some more of you type of people joined the military, there would be even a less chance of this happening. I can only do so much.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:01 AM on April 30, 2004

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
posted by Mossy at 5:20 AM on April 30, 2004

Another things aren't quite what was claimed report:

Rebuilding Aid Unspent, Tapped to Pay Expenses

Seven months after Congress approved the largest foreign aid package in history to rebuild Iraq, less than 5 percent of the $18.4 billion has been spent and occupation officials have begun shifting more than $300 million earmarked for reconstruction projects to administrative and security expenses.

Recent reports from the Coalition Provisional Authority, the CPA's inspector general and the U.S. Agency for International Development attest to the growing difficulties of the U.S.-led reconstruction effort. And they have raised concerns in Congress and among international aid experts that the Bush administration's ambitious rebuilding campaign is adrift amid rising violence and unforeseen costs...

Of the $18.4 billion in Iraqi aid approved by Congress in October, just $2.3 billion had been steered to projects through March 24, the CPA told Congress this month. Only $1 billion has actually been spent, the authority's inspector general told congressional aides Monday. In January, the CPA had said it had planned to spend nearly $8 billion during the first six months of this fiscal year.

posted by y2karl at 7:07 AM on April 30, 2004

However, it's part of the civilian world's responsibility to keep us honest.

OHO!!! what the FUCK?

no it isn't. it's up to the commissions officers. you should know that. they are the commander in chief's embodiment of authority. the only civilians that should have anything to do with the military are the civilian leaders like the secretary of defense, etc.

man, step up and take responsibility. well, not you personally, L.C....i mean, in general.

and you're right about the war crimes tribunals. they're not supposed to be used for lower level folks...i mean, they COULD be, but that's really what the courts martial will be for.
posted by taumeson at 7:20 AM on April 30, 2004

In Front Of Your Nose

And all of the proposals one hears for resolving this ugly situation seem to be either impractical or far behind the curve.

Some say we should send more troops. But the U.S. military doesn't have more troops to send, unless it resorts to extreme measures, like withdrawing a large part of the forces currently in South Korea. Did I mention that North Korea is building nuclear weapons, and may already have eight?

Others say we should seek more support from other countries. There may once have been a time — say, last summer — when the U.S. could have struck a deal: by ceding a lot of authority to the U.N., we might have been able to persuade countries with large armies, like India, to contribute large numbers of peacekeeping troops. But it's hard to imagine that anyone will now send significant forces into the Iraqi cauldron.

Some pin their hopes on a political solution: they believe that violence will subside if the U.N. is allowed to appoint a caretaker government that Iraqis don't view as a U.S. puppet.

Let's hope they're right. But bear in mind that right now the U.S. is still planning to hand over "sovereignty" to a body, yet to be named, that will have hardly any power at all. For practical purposes, the U.S. ambassador will be running the country. Americans may believe that everything will change on June 30, but Iraqis are unlikely to be fooled. And by the way, much of the Arab world believes that we've been committing war crimes in Falluja.

I don't have a plan for Iraq. I strongly suspect, however, that all the plans you hear now are irrelevant. If America's leaders hadn't made so many bad decisions, they might have had a chance to shape Iraq to their liking. But that window closed many months ago.

Meanwhile on the P.R. Front:

Arab stations show Iraqi prisoner images

Arab television stations led their newscasts Friday with photographs of Iraqi prisoners being humiliated by U.S. military police. One main channel called the pictures evidence of the "immoral practices" of American forces.

Accused Soldier's Journal Details Prison

A soldier accused of abusing Iraqi war prisoners wrote that his commanders ignored his requests for rules of conduct and silenced his questions about harsh, humiliating treatment of inmates.

In a journal he started after military investigators looking into the abuse approached him in January, Army Reserves Staff Sgt. Ivan ``Chip'' Frederick wrote that Abu Ghraib prison, near Baghdad, was nothing like the Virginia state prison where he worked in civilian life.

The Iraqi prisoners were sometimes confined naked for three consecutive days without toilets in damp, unventilated cells with floors 3 feet by 3 feet, Frederick wrote in materials supplied to The Associated Press by a relative Thursday.

``When I brought this up with the acting BN (battalion) commander, he stated, 'I don't care if he has to sleep standing up.' That's when he told my company commander that he was the BN commander and for me to do as he says,'' Frederick wrote.

USA Today Poll: 57% of Iraqis say 'US Out Now'

Only a third of the Iraqi people now believe that the American-led occupation of their country is doing more good than harm, and a solid majority support an immediate military pullout even though they fear that could put them in greater danger, according to a new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll.

...The insurgents, by contrast, seem to be gaining broad acceptance, if not outright support. If the Kurds, who make up about 13% of the poll, are taken out of the equation, more than half of Iraqis say killing U.S. troops can be justified in at least some cases. But attacks against Iraqi police officers, who are U.S.-trained, are strongly condemned by the Iraqi people.
58% say the soldiers conduct themselves badly or very badly.

60% say the troops show disrespect for Iraqi people in searches of their homes, and 42% say U.S. forces have shown disrespect toward mosques.

46% say the soldiers show a lack of respect for Iraqi women.

Only 11% of Iraqis say coalition forces are trying hard to restore basic services such as electricity and clean drinking water.

The Defense Department, which was shown the survey results Wednesday, said it doesn't respond to polls. But in a statement, it noted that Iraqis say their lives are getting better and said that the fact the poll could be taken indicated increased freedom in Iraq.

Juan Cole's comment:

The numbers are negative for the US, and are much more negative than previous such polls. Moreover, the polling ended by April 2, just before the Shiite uprising and the worst of the Fallujah fighting, so that it is .highly likely that the present attitudes of the Iraqi public toward the US are much more negative

Said comment was made before the photographs from Abu Ghraib prison were released.

The good news is we are standing down in Falluja, which will be patroled by Iraqi units which may well contain former insurgents in their ranks and which will be commanded by a Baathist general who was formerly an aide to Chemical Ali. Remember: There's lots and lots of good stuff going on in Iraq.
posted by y2karl at 7:38 AM on April 30, 2004

We are engaged in a war for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, and further the Arab world. Too many in the military focus narrowly on the day to day battles against Saddam's army and now the insurgents. This one incident and its broadcast throughout the Arab world has likely set us back as much if not more than if we had leveled Fallujah with bombs. Everybody responsible, up and down the chain of command, should be cashiered and court martialled in a public display that lets the Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world know that America finds this behavior repugnant. These sick bastards have seriously harmed the war effort and if guilty deserve no sympathy.
posted by caddis at 8:07 AM on April 30, 2004

No it isn't. It's up to the commissions officers; you should know that. they are the Commander in Chief's embodiment of authority. The only civilians that should have anything to do with the military are the civilian leaders like the Secretary of Defense, etc.

Man, step up and take responsibility. Well, not you personally, L.C. . . I mean, in general.

You missunderstand. I was only trying to stress the primacy of the civilian over the military, that the entire armed forces are accountable to the President, and Congress, through oversight and Armed forces committees. The main point was that the civilian world needs to scrutinize every move we make. (while hopefully taking it into perspective) In no does that lift burden with us. The fault ultimately lies with the men and women who transgressed the rules of war and their orders. But of course, the officers carry burden to for their subordinates fault and for not acting to prevent it. And as someone who is in officer training, that's what they are there for.

I hope you understand that my comments weren't to take blame away rather to focus it and remind that all citizens have the responsibility to outrage.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:37 AM on April 30, 2004

On preview: Lord and master! No, it's too much for one man. Please! You flatter!

Louquax, my lord and master, I'm glad you took my comments in the spirit that they were offered.

Still, I do believe that your way of framing this situation, in your own mind I mean, is very dangerous. Personally, I don't think that when faced with blatant evidence of something terrible that one should immediately think of the "good things" that, for all intents and purposes, justify the "bad thing". I know you insist that is not what you are doing, but nevertheless it is what you are doing.

Instead, why not reexamine your belief that the US army is "humane" in the new context that this evidence presents you? Also, if you want to be really honest with yourself, examine the history of the US army with an open mind and perhaps you'll find that behind all of the red-blooded, all-american, noble freedom fighter propaganda that american soldiers, like ALL SOLDIERS IN HISTORY, are turned into animals by war. Killing is killing, brutality is brutality, whether you do it to free your nation from the British as the minutemen did or to free your nation from the US occupation as the Iraqi resistance does, both noble causes.
posted by sic at 8:42 AM on April 30, 2004

I see no evidence indicating that this instance of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners is somehow exceptional. What I do find amazing is the fact that the perpetrators were idiotic enough to take smiling snapshots of themselves in front of naked prisoners...
The article squirrel referred to about British Army shock at the behavior of American troops in Iraq can be found here (in the Telegraph no less)...
loquax: All things considered, I think Iraqis (or Canadians) would rather be occupied by the American army than that of almost any other in the world, despite this deplorable behavior.
All things considered Iraqis, Canadians, Indians, Brazilians and all the worlds' nations would rather not be occupied by any army at all, thank you very much. If I really had to choose however, I'd go for the British (based on their conduct in Basra and the Iraqi South) or other armies of less belligerent nations. I'd still be shooting at them until they got out of my country of course, but they do seem a bit more civilized and less prone to collective punishment and "having fun" with prisoners. I would easily compare what's happening in, say, Fallujah with the Russian attack on Grozny (and the Russian Army's subsequent behavior). Of course no Russian torturer worth his or her salt would be stupid enough to take pictures of their crimes...
posted by talos at 9:25 AM on April 30, 2004

Could someone please tell the president that there are still rape rooms left in Iraq?

The Guardian: "One civilian contractor was accused of raping a young male prisoner but has not been charged because military law has no jurisdiction over him."

From the New York Times (registration required): "A year ago I did give the speech from the carrier saying we had achieved an important objective, accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein," Bush said.

"As a result, there are no longer torture chambers or mass graves or rape rooms in Iraq," the president said.
posted by miguelbar at 9:57 AM on April 30, 2004

The one good thing to come out of all this is that the people involved were punished. in many countries, including allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia, torture and humilation is part of SOP.
posted by chaz at 10:57 AM on April 30, 2004

There's nothing good that came out of this. Yes, the abuse is in the open. Yes, the war crimes have been made public. But we look like idiots, and, to many Iraqis, no better than Saddam. And the thing that we're all thinking is: is this the tip of an iceberg or is this an isolated case? What's happening at Guantanamo?

The reason these chuckleheads got found out is because they were stupid enough to video tape and photograph their crimes.

Punishing the perpetrators is the right thing to do, but no one deserves a pat on the back for that.

If Bush and Rumsfeld want to make a statement to the world, they should court-martial everyone from the perpetrators on up and disband the unit.
posted by bshort at 11:26 AM on April 30, 2004

Thanks for the link, talos.

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

So... the monsters we're fighting here are the Iraqi people?

We're not fighting with monsters here, Mossy, we're creating them by the thousand. And the abyss we're staring into is the massive human tragedy we've created.

Oh, but we've built some schools. Mishegoss.
posted by squirrel at 11:42 AM on April 30, 2004

Hearts & Minds 2.0

Guantanamo Warden to Oversee U.S. Iraq Prison Rules

A former head of the U.S. Guantanamo Bay jail in Cuba has been sent to Iraq to ensure proper prison conditions, after photos apparently showed U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, the military said on Friday. The photos appeared to show U.S. soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad run by the military posing and laughing as naked, male prisoners were stacked in a pyramid or made to simulate sex acts with one another. The pictures were also shown on Arab television, outraging Arabs already embittered by the U.S. invasion and occupation of an Arab country, and seemed sure to further alienate Iraqis whose resentment of Washington has fired two simultaneous uprisings.

As Terrorists Strike Arab Targets, Escalation Fears Arise

A string of significant terrorist actions, all within days of one another, in major Arab capitals, may signal that the war in Iraq is fueling the very kind of extremism it was supposed to curtail, Arab officials and analysts said Thursday. They believe that the attacks — in Damascus, Syria; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and Amman, Jordan — were the acts of terrorist cells that have been formed throughout the region in response to a call by Osama bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda, to rise up and strike the West and to the images of Americans killing Iraqis shown on television. There are as yet no direct indications that any structural or organizational ties link the loose-knit groups committing such acts, the analysts said. Rather, they are bound by a common ideology of jihad, or holy war, and common enemies — the West, particularly the United States, and Arab governments they perceive as traitors to Islam. "The American policy in Iraq created a chaotic atmosphere, which has had a ripple effect across the region, inspiring chaotic, random operations," said Mohammed Salah, an expert on extremist groups and a writer for Al Hayat, an Arab newspaper in London.
posted by y2karl at 11:48 AM on April 30, 2004

maybe I should have put 'good' in quotes... but what I meant is that at least people are not trying to justify this or make it legal. whatever your opinion of Bush and the military, the dudes came out strongly against this, and that is good.
posted by chaz at 12:34 PM on April 30, 2004

I see no evidence indicating that this instance of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners is somehow exceptional.

I also see no evidence that there aren't bat-people living in the next galaxy. Without allowing you to look inside every POW camp in Iraq 24-hours-a-day, there's no way to refute that assertion.
posted by jonmc at 1:09 PM on April 30, 2004

"The main point was that the civilian world needs to scrutinize every move we make."

True. Too bad the U.S. military has gone out of their way to prevent it.

Should we mention all the reporters who have been killed in Iraq? What about the "odd coincidence" that Al Jazeera's offices keep getting targeted by the U.S. military, or that their reporters keep getting killed, threatened, or, in one case, sent to Guantanamo?

Why is it when Amnesty International expressed concerns months ago about the treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, the military failed to fully cooperate with them? Infact, the military made promises to them back in June of 2003 that they would grant every Iraqi detainee access to a lawyer within 72 hours. Those promises were just lies, apparently.

Why has the U.S. military gone out of its way to prevent any attempts at counting all the Iraqi civilians who have died during the war? In my opinion, the concerns of groups like Amnesty International and reporters like Robert Fisk have been completely vindicated. They tried to tell us that the evidence was out there about these kinds of abuses, but we wouldn't listen and our media, by and large, failed to report on such things, even when supported by numerous independent witnesses. Why? Because the military (and the government) wouldn't grant access, and they denied, denied, denied.

If you wish to say that the civilian world needs to more closely scrutinize the military, then clearly the military must change their policies to stop treating civilians like the enemy.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:24 PM on April 30, 2004

In the context of warfare, is such a thing as a "humane" POW camp even possible? on any side of any conflict? I'm not trying to escuse any action or lay any blame here, but think about it. You're a soldier asked to watch over those who are dedicated to killing people like you. You're in a war so violence is already no stranger. You're also young and have the power to inflict pain on your "enemy." We can all say that we wouldn't take "revenge" but do we really know? We'd all like to believe that but until we're in the actual position we honestly don't know what we'd do. And if it's not an actual wartime situation, insert your own personal most hated ideological/political/ethnic/religious group. Imagine all your grudges against them.

It may be a sad and vile part of the human condition, but sadly I think it's in all of us.

Just thinking out loud.
posted by jonmc at 1:37 PM on April 30, 2004

"they were stupid enough to video tape and photograph their crimes."

I suspect the reason they were this stupid is that this is so widespread, they didn't see anything wrong with it. Didn't anyone else get suspicious when they talked about civilian "advisors" helping to conduct interrogations?
posted by MetalDog at 1:43 PM on April 30, 2004

Looking at BBC news at the moment, it seems some of our lads have let us down too.

The quote was meant as irony squirrel, this is the war on terror after all..
posted by Mossy at 2:36 PM on April 30, 2004

jonmc, that is true but being a soldier is a job and training tells you what to do and what not to do.

Also, not saying this is the case, but there are something like 10,000 people being held by the US... how many of them are dedicated to battling US forces and how many of them got caught up in the situation?

Hard to say... maybe not even relevant, but I think you have to go with Bush and the military on this one: there is no excuse.
posted by chaz at 3:24 PM on April 30, 2004

To echo Mossy, the BBC is leading with a story from the Daily Mirror that British troops have also been abusing Iraqi prisoners, though the Mirror hasn't got it up on its website as yet. (It will probably be up here in the next few hours.)
posted by biffa at 3:40 PM on April 30, 2004

I think jonmc has a point, I think most of us would like to think that we would all be stand up to rights abuses, but the reality is that many people, once they get caught up in situations that require some kind of judgement just go along with what everyone else is doing. This doesn't excuse anyone but its something to keep in mind when we're condemning people.
posted by biffa at 3:55 PM on April 30, 2004

Wow... I stand corrected as far as British troops are concerned...
jonmc: see MetalDog's point.
posted by talos at 4:29 PM on April 30, 2004

jonmc, that is true but being a soldier is a job and training tells you what to do and what not to do.

Not disagreeing, chaz, I was as saddened and angered by those photos as anyone else. Just something that occurred to me is all. More an indictment of the whole state of war in general than any kind of political position.

jonmc: see MetalDog's point.

I see it, but you're still assuming guilt, and applying guilt by association: these soldiers are doing this, therefore all soldiers must be doing it. Is this the only incidence of abuse going on? Probably not. Does that mean all the troops overseeing prisoners are committing atrocities? Probably not.
posted by jonmc at 4:40 PM on April 30, 2004

We can all say that we wouldn't take "revenge" but do we really know? We'd all like to believe that but until we're in the actual position we honestly don't know what we'd do. And if it's not an actual wartime situation, insert your own personal most hated ideological/political/ethnic/religious group. Imagine all your grudges against them.

It may be a sad and vile part of the human condition, but sadly I think it's in all of us.

I wonder if it is because so many of us are provided with so many opportunites to practice such things at home.

Study Tracks Boom in Prisons and Notes Impact on Counties

A study mapping the prisons built in the boom of the last two decades has found that some counties in the United States now have more than 30 percent of their residents behind bars. The study, by the Urban Institute, also found that nearly a third of counties have at least one prison.

"This study shows that the prison network is now deeply intertwined with American life, deeply integrated into the physical and economic infrastructure of a large number of American counties," said Jeremy Travis, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and an author of the study.

"This network has become a separate reality, apart from the criminal justice system," Mr. Travis said. "It provides jobs for construction workers and guards, and because the inmates are counted as residents of the counties where they are incarcerated, it means more federal and state funding and greater political representation for these counties."

In addition, Mr. Travis said, because the study found that prisons were increasingly being built far from the cities where most inmates come from, "we are making it harder and harder for their families to remain in contact with them." As a result, he said, "we have made it harder for these inmates to successfully re-enter society when they are released."

The study, "The New Landscape of Imprisonment: Mapping America's Prison Expansion," was released yesterday. The number of federal and state prisons grew from 592 in 1974 to 1,023 in 2000, and this study is the first effort to show where all the building has taken place. In 1923, the United States had 61 prisons.

America: The Stanford Prison Experiment "R" Us.
posted by y2karl at 5:36 PM on April 30, 2004

The Memory Hole: Photos of Iraqis Being Abused by US Personnel

Juan Cole writes:

Others are floating around the internet that are even more explicit, and appear to involve forcing female prisoners to perform sex acts on male ones. There was also apparently coerced male on male sexual activity.

Has anyone heard of or seen such?

...[A]ppear to involve forcing female prisoners to perform sex acts on male ones--We are so totally fucked in the P.R. war if that is true. Big time. There go your hearts and minds right there.
posted by y2karl at 6:02 PM on April 30, 2004

Accused Soldier's Journal Details Prison

'I Just Pulled the Trigger'

And a sidebar:

Troops in Iraq killed at rates approaching Vietnam War-era levels

The last time U.S. troops experienced a two-week loss such as this one in Iraq was October 1971, two years before U.S. ground involvement ended in Vietnam.
posted by y2karl at 6:46 PM on April 30, 2004

The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos

Very NSFW. Here are the pictures of women. Very horrific. From where they come and who is in them is another story--they are not from the series that were shown on CBS. From wherever they come, however, they are being presented as being from Abu Ghraib. This is not good.

And then there are the British:

My horror at PoW sex abuse pics

THE young mum who uncovered the Iraqi PoW sex snaps scandal said last night: “I felt sick to the stomach at those pictures.”

Kelly Tilford, 22, called police after developing a film in her photo shop. The shocking pictures — revealed by The Sun yesterday — showed male Iraqis apparently forced into sexual positions by their British captors. In another a prisoner was suspended by rope from a fork-lift truck driven by a laughing Brit. Fusilier Gary Bartlam, 18, of Tamworth, Staffs, is being grilled by the Army’s top criminal investigator — amid fears the scandal is the tip of an iceberg.

posted by y2karl at 11:32 PM on April 30, 2004

The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos

I can't speak for all those photos, but I have definitely seem some of them before, in conjunction with Yugoslavia and maybe even the first Gulf War. I wish I remembered where, but I can't. No doubt the original CBS photos are accurate, but I would bet a lot that few in the link above have anything to do with what happened in Iraq.

It honestly looks to me like someone took some relevant photos, then interspersed them with muck dredged up from God knows where. Frankly, a lot of the pictures look like they could be screen captures from bad porno movies (of course, this is not meant to offend, especially if they are genuine, which many are not). But I swear I have seen them before, and years ago, not as part of the war in Iraq. It's not even worth discussing those photos in the context of US military behaviour in Iraq. I'm sure people with an interest in kicking the Americans out of Iraq were floating them around even before the incident in the prison took place.

This kind of disinformation and dissemination of anti-American propaganda, for lack of a better word, is no more helpful to Iraqis than the lies the Bush administration makes, according to some. I don't even know what to say with respect to that link. I hope someone disproves it, and fast, to anyone who might think American soldiers raped women while taking pictures of themselves sticking their rifles in their mouths. Reality is bad enough, this is just stupid.

(y2Karl - I'm not referring to you, thanks for the link, I'm horrified at the source)
posted by loquax at 12:12 AM on May 1, 2004

I couldn't help but reflect on the fact that one of the US soldiers participating in the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners was a woman. Imagine if the tables were turned and she found herself in the opposite situation. And if we found out about it.
posted by alumshubby at 5:33 AM on May 1, 2004

Sy Hersh is on the case. He's got the results of the internal investigation.

(I checked twice to see if this had been posted before, sorry if I missed it)
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:58 AM on May 1, 2004

These so called soldiers who committed these atrocities are no more than traitors who have severely sabotaged our war effort and should be treated as such. No mercy. If this behavior, even if less extreme, is common then we need to clean ranks in at least as great a fashion as in the Air Force Academy scandal.

All of the military apologists here who make light of this action sicken me. Abusing prisoners is morally wrong, and hurts our own cause. These so-called soldiers might as well be working for the anti-American propaganda machine over these. How can you call yourself patriotic and defend them? Do you really want to win this conflict, do you care about America, or are you just so used to blinkardly supporting the military against liberal attacks that you are blind to actions that rise to the level of treason?
posted by caddis at 10:39 AM on May 1, 2004

jonmc: you're still assuming guilt, and applying guilt by association: these soldiers are doing this, therefore all soldiers must be doing it.
No, not all soldiers not even necessarily most soldiers... I said that torture and mistreatment were probably not exceptional... I'll rephrase this: Based on all sort of sources from Iraq (among which is the testimony of British officers I linked to, and reports of US army snipers shooting women and children in Fallujah, to name two), one can hardly be surprised that mistreatment of Iraqi resistance prisoners is occurring - even without these pictures.
posted by talos at 12:35 PM on May 1, 2004

General Suggests Abuses at Iraq Jail Were Encouraged

The Army Reserve general whose military police officers were photographed as they mistreated Iraqi prisoners said Saturday that she had been "sickened" by the pictures and had known nothing about the sexual humiliation and other abuse until weeks later. But the officer, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski of the 800th Military Police Brigade, said the special high-security cellblock at the Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, where the abuses took place had been under the tight control of a separate group of military intelligence officers who had so far avoided any public blame. In her first public comments about the brutality — which drew wide attention and condemnation after photographs documenting it were broadcast Wednesday night by CBS News — General Karpinski said that while the reservists involved were "bad people" and deserved punishment, she suspected they were acting with the encouragement, if not at the direction, of military intelligence units that ran the special cellblock used for interrogation. Speaking in a telephone interview from her home in South Carolina, the general said military commanders in Iraq were trying to shift the blame exclusively to her and the reservists. "We're disposable," she said of the military's attitude toward reservists. "Why would they want the active-duty people to take the blame? They want to put this on the M.P.'s and hope that this thing goes away. Well, it's not going to go away."

Iraq Prisoners Faced 'Sadistic' Abuses

The army report listed abuses such as "breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; ... beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick."

The report, written by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, said evidence to support the allegations included "detailed witness statements and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence."

Photos of torture reach Iraq - Removing Saddam Hussein was supposed to end the torture, but photos of U.S. soldiers humiliating prisoners bring a horrific past back

Perhaps the most disturbing photo for Iraqis was one showing a hooded prisoner standing on a narrow box, with a makeshift poncho draped over his body. The detainee's hands were stretched out, with wires attached to them. CBS reported the prisoner was told he would be electrocuted if he fell off, although the wires were not connected to a power supply. "That picture showed exactly the type of torture that Saddam's thugs used," said Hassan Saeed, 27, who sat with five friends in a fish restaurant overlooking the Tigris River. "The Americans promised us that things would be different than they were under Saddam. They lied." Huddled around a rickety wooden table, his friends nodded in agreement. "Saddam's men also liked to take photographs of their torture victims - just like the Americans," chimed Abbas Omran, 34, an electrician. "They have no shame."
posted by y2karl at 4:12 PM on May 1, 2004

From CunningLinguist's link, Sy Hersh in The New Yorker:

As the international furor grew, senior military officers, and President Bush, insisted that the actions of a few did not reflect the conduct of the military as a whole. Taguba’s report, however, amounts to an unsparing study of collective wrongdoing and the failure of Army leadership at the highest levels. The picture he draws of Abu Ghraib is one in which Army regulations and the Geneva conventions were routinely violated, and in which much of the day-to-day management of the prisoners was abdicated to Army military-intelligence units and civilian contract employees. Interrogating prisoners and getting intelligence, including by intimidation and torture, was the priority.

The mistreatment at Abu Ghraib may have done little to further American intelligence, however. Willie J. Rowell, who served for thirty-six years as a C.I.D. agent, told me that the use of force or humiliation with prisoners is invariably counterproductive. “They’ll tell you what you want to hear, truth or no truth,” Rowell said. “‘You can flog me until I tell you what I know you want me to say.’ You don’t get righteous information.”

Under the fourth Geneva convention, an occupying power can jail civilians who pose an “imperative” security threat, but it must establish a regular procedure for insuring that only civilians who remain a genuine security threat be kept imprisoned. Prisoners have the right to appeal any internment decision and have their cases reviewed. Human Rights Watch complained to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that civilians in Iraq remained in custody month after month with no charges brought against them. Abu Ghraib had become, in effect, another Guantánamo.

As the photographs from Abu Ghraib make clear, these detentions have had enormous consequences: for the imprisoned civilian Iraqis, many of whom had nothing to do with the growing insurgency; for the integrity of the Army; and for the United States’ reputation in the world.

posted by y2karl at 4:32 PM on May 1, 2004

Arab Reaction to Photos of Prisoner Abuse

Samia Nakhoul of Reuters has gathered up some immediate reactions from the person on the street, a few of which I quote here. She reports that a Syrian woman, Khadija Mousa, said, "They keep asking why we hate them? Why we detest them? Maybe they should look well in the mirror and then they will hate themselves . . . What I saw is very very humiliating. The Americans are showing their true image."

Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the pan-Arabist London newspaper, al-Quds al-Arabi, said, "The liberators are worse than the dictators. This is the straw that broke the camel's back for America . . . "That really, really is the worst atrocity. It affects the honour and pride of Muslim people. It is better to kill them than sexually abuse them.""

Daud al-Shiryan of Saudi Arabia: "This will increase the hatred of America, not just in Iraq but abroad. Even those who sympathised with the Americans before will stop. It is not just a picture of torture, it is degrading. It touches on morals and religion . . . Abu Ghraib prison was used for torture in Saddam's time. People will ask now what's the difference between Saddam and Bush. Nothing!"

Driver Hatem Ali, 30: "Americans are racists and cowards, that's what I understood from these pictures."

Mahmoud Walid, a 28-year-old Egyptian writer: "These soldiers are being touted as the saviours of the Iraqi people and America claims to be the moral leader of the world, but they have been caught with their pants down, they have been exposed, the whole world sees them as they really are."

posted by y2karl at 6:23 PM on May 1, 2004

And now we have the parents of one of these fine lads giving us the Nuremberg Defense. Sweet.
Spc. Jeremy Charles Sivits, 24, of Hyndman allegedly photographed prisoners in scenes of humiliation at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. ...

But Daniel and Freda Sivits of Hyndman said they support their son, who they say was following orders.

"He was doing what he was told by his commanding officers," Mr. Sivits said.

"You don't question your superior officer, you do what you are told."
posted by moonbiter at 6:50 PM on May 1, 2004

I didn't want to start yet another thread on this and the British photos one seems to be (should be) more about the authenticity of the pictures......however, the latest reports have interviews with detainees with even more nasty details:

Shakir, whose gaunt cheeks are covered by a thin beard, said U.S. interrogators used his relationship with his brother to try to extract a confession. On three occasions following extended sessions, he said, they were taken in Humvees into the desert north of the port. There, he said, they were buried up to their necks in the sand.

"I couldn't see my brother," he said. "Then I heard shots fired. They came back and told me my brother was dead."

But his brother had not been killed, and the interrogators sometimes fired near his head to frighten him.

posted by CunningLinguist at 7:37 AM on May 3, 2004

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