You don't have to be crazy to be disappeared, but it helps
December 8, 2004 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Whitewashing Torture. "On June 15, 2003, Sgt. Frank 'Greg' Ford, a counterintelligence agent in the California National Guard's 223rd Military Intelligence (M.I.) Battalion stationed in Samarra, Iraq, told his commanding officer, Capt. Victor Artiga, that he had witnessed five incidents of torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees at his base, and requested a formal investigation. Thirty-six hours later, Ford, a 49-year-old with over 30 years of military service in the Coast Guard, Army and Navy, was ordered by U.S. Army medical personnel to lie down on a gurney, was then strapped down, loaded onto a military plane and medevac'd to a military medical center outside the country." (Salon, day pass req.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR (15 comments total)
For those of you who want to avoid the whole "Salon Day Pass" rigamarole, you can click on the article's link on Salon, then click on this link, which tells Salon's cookie that you're legit for the day.

A handy link to bookmark, really...
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2004

That's a sad story. I feel for this guy, and hope that getting the truth out will in some way lessen the sting of being shafted by your own country.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:07 AM on December 8, 2004

While this person's actions will no doubt have a negative impact on the rest of his life, from a superficial viewpoint the incident sounds almost hopeful: your reward for doing the right thing is to be whisked out of harm's way. Of course, if enough servicemen insisted on investigation of abuses, the response would probably become far more severe.
posted by bshock at 9:16 AM on December 8, 2004

If it weren't for the integrity of Army medical professionals, Ford could be up shit creek without a paddle. They could have threatened him with medical psychological discharge, which might have made it impossible for him to return to his old job at Folsom. Or just kept him locked away for a while until he saw the error of his ways.

So we're lucky that, in a way, it is an isolated phenomenon. But it seems to be "isolated" to a pretty large field (i.e., the whole theater).

I'm continually surprised at two things that I keep seeing in these accounts: First, that folks like Ford, Tsai, and the other extra-theater physicians will consistently do the right thing even when they know there's personal risk involved. (And Ford would damn well know all about that, having been a corrections officer at a tough joint like Folsom.)

Second, that people like Col. Tsai are actually permitted to speak candidaly to outlets like Spiegel. Don't get me wrong -- I think it's appropriate to trust a trained high-ranking professional to know the difference between when information does and doesn't pose a national security risk -- but it still surprises me that it's permitted.
posted by lodurr at 9:22 AM on December 8, 2004

Thanks insomnia_lj. For some reason I couldn't get past the free day pass ad.

Interesting story. Mind blowing actually.
posted by Outlawyr at 9:52 AM on December 8, 2004

Every day in every way, the war is getting sicker and sicker.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:02 AM on December 8, 2004

Shut up! Just shut up!

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na - support the troops, get a magnetic ribbon and place on your SUV. God bless our preznit, the Holy One.
posted by nofundy at 10:14 AM on December 8, 2004

More from the Mid-East: After pep talk, troops readying for Iraq put tough questions to Rumsfeld.

We (America) are beyond fuck, we're in some kind of infinite recursion of fuck.

On preview:
I think what nofundy means is:
posted by MikeKD at 10:22 AM on December 8, 2004

Well, I say this for Rummy: He's not boring.
posted by lodurr at 10:37 AM on December 8, 2004

the war is getting sicker and sicker.

Alas, it is the way of things. As 'your buddy' gets hurt, you feel the need to protect your own life any way possible.

So it just gets worse and worse as each side ratchets up.

As each side tries to 'preserve' their 'way of life'
posted by rough ashlar at 10:40 AM on December 8, 2004

I need some motivation to stay enthusiastic about this war.
posted by anthill at 10:58 AM on December 8, 2004

"Patriotism Means No Questions..." Indeed.
posted by cows of industry at 11:04 AM on December 8, 2004

capt. victor artiga lives somewhere. someone is his neighbor. his dog shits in someones yard and his kids play with someones kids. i really think, as concerned citizens, we should let him know, through personal contact with his loved ones, how proud we are of him. i also think we should be sending emails to him in iraq, keeping him apprised of our efforts, and assuring him not to worry about his family, because they are in the good hands of his fellow americans.
posted by quonsar at 12:25 PM on December 8, 2004

Reminds me of the scene in Godfather II, where they bring the old Sicilian dude into the courtroom, and his brother the snitch clams right up...
posted by lodurr at 1:23 PM on December 8, 2004

In Soviet Russia, government tells YOU when your crazy!., wait.
(Will Yakov's jokes ever work again?)
Seriously - why isn't anyone held accountable? Why are we not stomping mudholes in the government's ass? Why isn't some prosecutor or lawyer salavating over this?
posted by Smedleyman at 4:41 PM on December 9, 2004

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