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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #80 - 4 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Amnesty International says it has evidence of "pattern
       of torture" in Iraq (
   3. Who will the troops shoot? (bluepilgrim)


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 02 May 2004 19:52:46 +0200
From: "" <>
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: Amnesty International says it has evidence of "pattern
 of torture" in Iraq

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

        Amnesty International says it has evidence of "pattern of
        torture" in Iraq


LAST UPDATE: 5/2/2004 9:10:00 AM
LONDON (AP) - Amnesty International said it has uncovered a "pattern of
torture" of Iraqi prisoners by coalition troops, and called for an
independent investigation into the claims of abuse.

The London-based human rights group said it had received "scores" of
reports of ill treatment of detainees by British and American troops.

British military police are investigating allegations of abuse by U.K.
soldiers after the Daily Mirror newspaper published photos allegedly
showing a hooded Iraqi prisoner who reportedly was beaten by British

Amnesty's Middle East spokeswoman, Nicole Choueiry, said she was not
surprised by the pictures.

"We've been documenting allegations of torture for a year now," she
said. "We have said there are patterns of torture."

Choueiry said the British government should call an independent
investigation into the abuse claims.

The British allegations surfaced after the American network CBS
broadcast images allegedly showing Iraqis stripped naked, hooded and
being tormented by their U.S. captors.

Six U.S. soldiers face courts-martial in connection with allegations of
mistreatment of detainees at an Iraqi prison.

President Bush expressed "deep disgust" at the photos, and Prime
Minister Tony Blair said any abuse of Iraqi prisoners by coalition
troops would be "completely unacceptable."

On Friday, Amnesty said it had received "frequent reports of torture of
other ill-treatment" of detainees by coalition forces.

"Methods reported include prolonged sleep deprivation, beatings,
prolonged restraint in painful positions, sometimes combined with
exposure to loud music, prolonged hooding, and exposure to bright
lights," the group said in a written statement.

The Daily Mirror 's front-page picture showed a soldier apparently
urinating on a hooded prisoner. The newspaper said it had been given the
pictures by serving soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

It quoted unidentified soldiers as saying the unarmed captive in its
pictures had been threatened with execution during eight hours of abuse,
and was left bleeding and vomiting. They said the captive was then
driven away and dumped from the back of a moving vehicle, and it was not
known whether he survived.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Sunday that "a very high-level
investigation" was underway into the claims.

"These allegations are taken extremely seriously, and they will be
investigated very thoroughly," he told the British Broadcasting Corp.'s
"Breakfast with Frost" program.

The BBC cited unnamed sources as expressing doubts about the
authenticity of the photos. It quoted sources close to the regiment as
saying the gun and hat of the soldier in the pictures appeared to be the
wrong type, a truck was also a model not used in Iraq, and the photos
looked tidy and staged.

The Daily Mirror stood by the photos, saying it had carried out
"extensive checks" to establish their authenticity.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ <>: a site gathering daily
information concerning occupied Iraq: news, analysis, documents and
texts of iraqi resistance available in Italian and English.
Any link will be greatly appreciated: you can get our banner or link
coordinates from our homepage. Please let us know about new links, so
that we can recall them in our link-page. <>: finalmente, un sito dove
trovare informazione aggiornata sull'iraq occupato: notizie, analisi,
documenti e testi sulla resistenza in italiano e in inglese, aggiornate
ogni giorno.
Un grazie fin d'ora per ogni link al ns. sito: potrete scaricare il
banner e trovare le coordinate sulla testata della ns. homepage.
Informateci di ogni nuovo link, in modo da poter contraccambiare e
segnalarlo. grazie!


Message: 2
Date: Sun, 2 May 2004 04:25:24 -0700 (PDT)
From: Hassan <>
To: CASI newsclippings <>


American soldiers brutalized Iraqis. How far up does
the responsibility go?

Issue of 2004-05-10
Posted 2004-04-30

In the era of Saddam Hussein, Abu Ghraib, twenty miles
west of Baghdad, was one of the world=92s most notorious
prisons, with torture, weekly executions, and vile
living conditions. As many as fifty thousand men and
women=97no accurate count is possible=97were jammed into
Abu Ghraib at one time, in twelve-by-twelve-foot cells
that were little more than human holding pits.

In the looting that followed the regime=92s collapse,
last April, the huge prison complex, by then deserted,
was stripped of everything that could be removed,
including doors, windows, and bricks. The coalition
authorities had the floors tiled, cells cleaned and
repaired, and toilets, showers, and a new medical
center added. Abu Ghraib was now a U.S. military
prison. Most of the prisoners, however=97by the fall
there were several thousand, including women and
teen-agers=97were civilians, many of whom had been
picked up in random military sweeps and at highway
checkpoints. They fell into three loosely defined
categories: common criminals; security detainees
suspected of =93crimes against the coalition=94; and a
small number of suspected =93high-value=94 leaders of the
insurgency against the coalition forces.

Last June, Janis Karpinski, an Army reserve brigadier
general, was named commander of the 800th Military
Police Brigade and put in charge of military prisons
in Iraq. General Karpinski, the only female commander
in the war zone, was an experienced operations and
intelligence officer who had served with the Special
Forces and in the 1991 Gulf War, but she had never run
a prison system. Now she was in charge of three large
jails, eight battalions, and thirty-four hundred Army
reservists, most of whom, like her, had no training in
handling prisoners.

General Karpinski, who had wanted to be a soldier
since she was five, is a business consultant in
civilian life, and was enthusiastic about her new job.
In an interview last December with the St. Petersburg
Times, she said that, for many of the Iraqi inmates at
Abu Ghraib, =93living conditions now are better in
prison than at home. At one point we were concerned
that they wouldn=92t want to leave.=94

A month later, General Karpinski was formally
admonished and quietly suspended, and a major
investigation into the Army=92s prison system,
authorized by Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez,
the senior commander in Iraq, was under way. A
fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker,
written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and not
meant for public release, was completed in late
February. Its conclusions about the institutional
failures of the Army prison system were devastating.
Specifically, Taguba found that between October and
December of 2003 there were numerous instances of
=93sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses=94 at Abu
Ghraib. This systematic and illegal abuse of
detainees, Taguba reported, was perpetrated by
soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company, and
also by members of the American intelligence
community. (The 372nd was attached to the 320th M.P.
Battalion, which reported to Karpinski=92s brigade
headquarters.) Taguba=92s report listed some of the

Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric
liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked
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, and using
military working dogs to frighten and intimidate
detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance
actually biting a detainee.

There was stunning evidence to support the
allegations, Taguba added=97=93detailed witness statements
and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic
evidence.=94 Photographs and videos taken by the
soldiers as the abuses were happening were not
included in his report, Taguba said, because of their
=93extremely sensitive nature.=94

The photographs=97several of which were broadcast on
CBS=92s =9360 Minutes 2=94 last week=97show leering G.I.s
taunting naked Iraqi prisoners who are forced to
assume humiliating poses. Six suspects=97Staff Sergeant
Ivan L. Frederick II, known as Chip, who was the
senior enlisted man; Specialist Charles A. Graner;
Sergeant Javal Davis; Specialist Megan Ambuhl;
Specialist Sabrina Harman; and Private Jeremy
Sivits=97are now facing prosecution in Iraq, on charges
that include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty
toward prisoners, maltreatment, assault, and indecent
acts. A seventh suspect, Private Lynndie England, was
reassigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after
becoming pregnant.

The photographs tell it all. In one, Private England,
a cigarette dangling from her mouth, is giving a
jaunty thumbs-up sign and pointing at the genitals of
a young Iraqi, who is naked except for a sandbag over
his head, as he masturbates. Three other hooded and
naked Iraqi prisoners are shown, hands reflexively
crossed over their genitals. A fifth prisoner has his
hands at his sides. In another, England stands arm in
arm with Specialist Graner; both are grinning and
giving the thumbs-up behind a cluster of perhaps seven
naked Iraqis, knees bent, piled clumsily on top of
each other in a pyramid. There is another photograph
of a cluster of naked prisoners, again piled in a
pyramid. Near them stands Graner, smiling, his arms
crossed; a woman soldier stands in front of him,
bending over, and she, too, is smiling. Then, there is
another cluster of hooded bodies, with a female
soldier standing in front, taking photographs. Yet
another photograph shows a kneeling, naked, unhooded
male prisoner, head momentarily turned away from the
camera, posed to make it appear that he is performing
oral sex on another male prisoner, who is naked and

Such dehumanization is unacceptable in any culture,
but it is especially so in the Arab world. Homosexual
acts are against Islamic law and it is humiliating for
men to be naked in front of other men, Bernard Haykel,
a professor of Middle Eastern studies at New York
University, explained. =93Being put on top of each other
and forced to masturbate, being naked in front of each
other=97it=92s all a form of torture,=94 Haykel said.

Two Iraqi faces that do appear in the photographs are
those of dead men. There is the battered face of
prisoner No. 153399, and the bloodied body of another
prisoner, wrapped in cellophane and packed in ice.
There is a photograph of an empty room, splattered
with blood.

The 372nd=92s abuse of prisoners seemed almost routine=97a
fact of Army life that the soldiers felt no need to
hide. On April 9th, at an Article 32 hearing (the
military equivalent of a grand jury) in the case
against Sergeant Frederick, at Camp Victory, near
Baghdad, one of the witnesses, Specialist Matthew
Wisdom, an M.P., told the courtroom what happened when
he and other soldiers delivered seven prisoners,
hooded and bound, to the so-called =93hard site=94 at Abu
Ghraib=97seven tiers of cells where the inmates who were
considered the most dangerous were housed. The men had
been accused of starting a riot in another section of
the prison. Wisdom said:

SFC Snider grabbed my prisoner and threw him into a
pile. . . . I do not think it was right to put them in
a pile. I saw SSG Frederic, SGT Davis and CPL Graner
walking around the pile hitting the prisoners. I
remember SSG Frederick hitting one prisoner in the
side of its [sic] ribcage. The prisoner was no danger
to SSG Frederick. . . . I left after that.

When he returned later, Wisdom testified:

I saw two naked detainees, one masturbating to another
kneeling with its mouth open. I thought I should just
get out of there. I didn=92t think it was right . . . I
saw SSG Frederick walking towards me, and he said,
=93Look what these animals do when you leave them alone
for two seconds.=94 I heard PFC England shout out, =93He=92s
getting hard.=94

Wisdom testified that he told his superiors what had
happened, and assumed that =93the issue was taken care
of.=94 He said, =93I just didn=92t want to be part of
anything that looked criminal.=94

The abuses became public because of the outrage of
Specialist Joseph M. Darby, an M.P. whose role emerged
during the Article 32 hearing against Chip Frederick.
A government witness, Special Agent Scott Bobeck, who
is a member of the Army=92s Criminal Investigation
Division, or C.I.D., told the court, according to an
abridged transcript made available to me, =93The
investigation started after SPC Darby . . . got a CD
from CPL Graner. . . . He came across pictures of
naked detainees.=94 Bobeck said that Darby had
=93initially put an anonymous letter under our door,
then he later came forward and gave a sworn statement.
He felt very bad about it and thought it was very

Questioned further, the Army investigator said that
Frederick and his colleagues had not been given any
=93training guidelines=94 that he was aware of. The M.P.s
in the 372nd had been assigned to routine traffic and
police duties upon their arrival in Iraq, in the
spring of 2003. In October of 2003, the 372nd was
ordered to prison-guard duty at Abu Ghraib. Frederick,
at thirty-seven, was far older than his colleagues,
and was a natural leader; he had also worked for six
years as a guard for the Virginia Department of
Corrections. Bobeck explained:

What I got is that SSG Frederick and CPL Graner were
road M.P.s and were put in charge because they were
civilian prison guards and had knowledge of how things
were supposed to be run.

Bobeck also testified that witnesses had said that
Frederick, on one occasion, =93had punched a detainee in
the chest so hard that the detainee almost went into
cardiac arrest.=94

At the Article 32 hearing, the Army informed Frederick
and his attorneys, Captain Robert Shuck, an Army
lawyer, and Gary Myers, a civilian, that two dozen
witnesses they had sought, including General Karpinski
and all of Frederick=92s co-defendants, would not
appear. Some had been excused after exercising their
Fifth Amendment right; others were deemed to be too
far away from the courtroom. =93The purpose of an
Article 32 hearing is for us to engage witnesses and
discover facts,=94 Gary Myers told me. =93We ended up with
a c.i.d. agent and no alleged victims to examine.=94
After the hearing, the presiding investigative officer
ruled that there was sufficient evidence to convene a
court-martial against Frederick.

Myers, who was one of the military defense attorneys
in the My Lai prosecutions of the nineteen-seventies,
told me that his client=92s defense will be that he was
carrying out the orders of his superiors and, in
particular, the directions of military intelligence.
He said, =93Do you really think a group of kids from
rural Virginia decided to do this on their own?
Decided that the best way to embarrass Arabs and make
them talk was to have them walk around nude?=94

In letters and e-mails to family members, Frederick
repeatedly noted that the military-intelligence teams,
which included C.I.A. officers and linguists and
interrogation specialists from private defense
contractors, were the dominant force inside Abu
Ghraib. In a letter written in January, he said:

I questioned some of the things that I saw . . . such
things as leaving inmates in their cell with no
clothes or in female underpants, handcuffing them to
the door of their cell=97and the answer I got was, =93This
is how military intelligence (MI) wants it done.=94 . .
. . MI has also instructed us to place a prisoner in
an isolation cell with little or no clothes, no toilet
or running water, no ventilation or window, for as
much as three days.

The military-intelligence officers have =93encouraged
and told us, =91Great job,=92 they were now getting
positive results and information,=94 Frederick wrote.
=93CID has been present when the military working dogs
were used to intimidate prisoners at MI=92s request.=94 At
one point, Frederick told his family, he pulled aside
his superior officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry
Phillabaum, the commander of the 320th M.P. Battalion,
and asked about the mistreatment of prisoners. =93His
reply was =91Don=92t worry about it.=92=94

In November, Frederick wrote, an Iraqi prisoner under
the control of what the Abu Ghraib guards called
=93O.G.A.,=94 or other government agencies=97that is, the
C.I.A. and its paramilitary employees=97was brought to
his unit for questioning. =93They stressed him out so
bad that the man passed away. They put his body in a
body bag and packed him in ice for approximately
twenty-four hours in the shower. . . . The next day
the medics came and put his body on a stretcher,
placed a fake IV in his arm and took him away.=94 The
dead Iraqi was never entered into the prison=92s
inmate-control system, Frederick recounted, =93and
therefore never had a number.=94

Frederick=92s defense is, of course, highly
self-serving. But the complaints in his letters and
e-mails home were reinforced by two internal Army
reports=97Taguba=92s and one by the Army=92s chief
law-enforcement officer, Provost Marshal Donald Ryder,
a major general.

Last fall, General Sanchez ordered Ryder to review the
prison system in Iraq and recommend ways to improve
it. Ryder=92s report, filed on November 5th, concluded
that there were potential human-rights, training, and
manpower issues, system-wide, that needed immediate
attention. It also discussed serious concerns about
the tension between the missions of the military
police assigned to guard the prisoners and the
intelligence teams who wanted to interrogate them.
Army regulations limit intelligence activity by the
M.P.s to passive collection. But something had gone
wrong at Abu Ghraib.

There was evidence dating back to the Afghanistan war,
the Ryder report said, that M.P.s had worked with
intelligence operatives to =93set favorable conditions
for subsequent interviews=94=97a euphemism for breaking
the will of prisoners. =93Such actions generally run
counter to the smooth operation of a detention
facility, attempting to maintain its population in a
compliant and docile state.=94 General Karpinski=92s
brigade, Ryder reported, =93has not been directed to
change its facility procedures to set the conditions
for MI interrogations, nor participate in those
interrogations.=94 Ryder called for the establishment of
procedures to =93define the role of military police
soldiers . . .clearly separating the actions of the
guards from those of the military intelligence
personnel.=94 The officers running the war in Iraq were
put on notice.

Ryder undercut his warning, however, by concluding
that the situation had not yet reached a crisis point.
Though some procedures were flawed, he said, he found
=93no military police units purposely applying
inappropriate confinement practices.=94 His
investigation was at best a failure and at worst a

Taguba, in his report, was polite but direct in
refuting his fellow-general. =93Unfortunately, many of
the systemic problems that surfaced during [Ryder=92s]
assessment are the very same issues that are the
subject of this investigation,=94 he wrote. =93In fact,
many of the abuses suffered by detainees occurred
during, or near to, the time of that assessment.=94 The
report continued, =93Contrary to the findings of MG
Ryder=92s report, I find that personnel assigned to the
372nd MP Company, 800th MP Brigade were directed to
change facility procedures to =91set the conditions=92 for
MI interrogations.=94 Army intelligence officers, C.I.A.
agents, and private contractors =93actively requested
that MP guards set physical and mental conditions for
favorable interrogation of witnesses.=94

Taguba backed up his assertion by citing evidence from
sworn statements to Army C.I.D. investigators.
Specialist Sabrina Harman, one of the accused M.P.s,
testified that it was her job to keep detainees awake,
including one hooded prisoner who was placed on a box
with wires attached to his fingers, toes, and penis.
She stated, =93MI wanted to get them to talk. It is
Graner and Frederick=92s job to do things for MI and OGA
to get these people to talk.=94

Another witness, Sergeant Javal Davis, who is also one
of the accused, told C.I.D. investigators, =93I
witnessed prisoners in the MI hold section . . . being
made to do various things that I would question
morally. . . . We were told that they had different
rules.=94 Taguba wrote, =93Davis also stated that he had
heard MI insinuate to the guards to abuse the inmates.
When asked what MI said he stated: =91Loosen this guy up
for us.=92=91Make sure he has a bad night.=92=91Make sure he
gets the treatment.=92=94 Military intelligence made these
comments to Graner and Frederick, Davis said. =93The MI
staffs to my understanding have been giving Graner
compliments . . . statements like, =91Good job, they=92re
breaking down real fast. They answer every question.
They=92re giving out good information.=92=94

When asked why he did not inform his chain of command
about the abuse, Sergeant Davis answered, =93Because I
assumed that if they were doing things out of the
ordinary or outside the guidelines, someone would have
said something. Also the wing=94=97where the abuse took
place=97=93belongs to MI and it appeared MI personnel
approved of the abuse.=94

Another witness, Specialist Jason Kennel, who was not
accused of wrongdoing, said, =93I saw them nude, but MI
would tell us to take away their mattresses, sheets,
and clothes.=94 (It was his view, he added, that if M.I.
wanted him to do this =93they needed to give me
paperwork.=94) Taguba also cited an interview with Adel
L. Nakhla, a translator who was an employee of Titan,
a civilian contractor. He told of one night when a
=93bunch of people from MI=94 watched as a group of
handcuffed and shackled inmates were subjected to
abuse by Graner and Frederick.

General Taguba saved his harshest words for the
military-intelligence officers and private
contractors. He recommended that Colonel Thomas
Pappas, the commander of one of the M.I. brigades, be
reprimanded and receive non-judicial punishment, and
that Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan, the former
director of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing
Center, be relieved of duty and reprimanded. He
further urged that a civilian contractor, Steven
Stephanowicz, of CACI International, be fired from his
Army job, reprimanded, and denied his security
clearances for lying to the investigating team and
allowing or ordering military policemen =93who were not
trained in interrogation techniques to facilitate
interrogations by =91setting conditions=92 which were
neither authorized=94 nor in accordance with Army
regulations. =93He clearly knew his instructions equated
to physical abuse,=94 Taguba wrote.

He also recommended disciplinary action against a
second CACI employee, John Israel. (A spokeswoman for
CACI said that the company had =93received no formal
communication=94 from the Army about the matter.)

=93I suspect,=94 Taguba concluded, that Pappas, Jordan,
Stephanowicz, and Israel =93were either directly or
indirectly responsible for the abuse at Abu Ghraib,=94
and strongly recommended immediate disciplinary

The problems inside the Army prison system in Iraq
were not hidden from senior commanders. During
Karpinski=92s seven-month tour of duty, Taguba noted,
there were at least a dozen officially reported
incidents involving escapes, attempted escapes, and
other serious security issues that were investigated
by officers of the 800th M.P. Brigade. Some of the
incidents had led to the killing or wounding of
inmates and M.P.s, and resulted in a series of
=93lessons learned=94 inquiries within the brigade.
Karpinski invariably approved the reports and signed
orders calling for changes in day-to-day procedures.
But Taguba found that she did not follow up, doing
nothing to insure that the orders were carried out.
Had she done so, he added, =93cases of abuse may have
been prevented.=94

General Taguba further found that Abu Ghraib was
filled beyond capacity, and that the M.P. guard force
was significantly undermanned and short of resources.
=93This imbalance has contributed to the poor living
conditions, escapes, and accountability lapses,=94 he
wrote. There were gross differences, Taguba said,
between the actual number of prisoners on hand and the
number officially recorded. A lack of proper screening
also meant that many innocent Iraqis were wrongly
being detained=97indefinitely, it seemed, in some cases.
The Taguba study noted that more than sixty per cent
of the civilian inmates at Abu Ghraib were deemed not
to be a threat to society, which should have enabled
them to be released. Karpinski=92s defense, Taguba said,
was that her superior officers =93routinely=94 rejected
her recommendations regarding the release of such

Karpinski was rarely seen at the prisons she was
supposed to be running, Taguba wrote. He also found a
wide range of administrative problems, including some
that he considered =93without precedent in my military
career.=94 The soldiers, he added, were =93poorly prepared
and untrained . . . prior to deployment, at the
mobilization site, upon arrival in theater, and
throughout the mission.=94

General Taguba spent more than four hours interviewing
Karpinski, whom he described as extremely emotional:
=93What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony
was her complete unwillingness to either understand or
accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th
MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor
leadership and the refusal of her command to both
establish and enforce basic standards and principles
among its soldiers.=94

Taguba recommended that Karpinski and seven brigade
military-police officers and enlisted men be relieved
of command and formally reprimanded. No criminal
proceedings were suggested for Karpinski; apparently,
the loss of promotion and the indignity of a public
rebuke were seen as enough punishment.

After the story broke on CBS last week, the Pentagon
announced that Major General Geoffrey Miller, the new
head of the Iraqi prison system, had arrived in
Baghdad and was on the job. He had been the commander
of the Guant=E1namo Bay detention center. General
Sanchez also authorized an investigation into possible
wrongdoing by military and civilian interrogators.

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=92s 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.
=93They=92ll tell you what you want to hear, truth or no
truth,=94 Rowell said. =93=91You can flog me until I tell
you what I know you want me to say.=92 You don=92t get
righteous information.=94

Under the fourth Geneva convention, an occupying power
can jail civilians who pose an =93imperative=94 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 Guant=E1namo.

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=92 reputation in
the world.

Captain Robert Shuck, Frederick=92s military attorney,
closed his defense at the Article 32 hearing last
month by saying that the Army was =93attempting to have
these six soldiers atone for its sins.=94 Similarly,
Gary Myers, Frederick=92s civilian attorney, told me
that he would argue at the court-martial that
culpability in the case extended far beyond his
client. =93I=92m going to drag every involved intelligence
officer and civilian contractor I can find into
court,=94 he said. =93Do you really believe the Army
relieved a general officer because of six soldiers?
Not a chance.=94

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Message: 3
Date: Sun, 02 May 2004 19:43:40 -0500
From: bluepilgrim <>
Subject: Who will the troops shoot?

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Who will the troops shoot?

This article, unchanged, or the ideas in it, may be distributed freely.

Who will they shoot?

We hear many people saying that the US needs to keep troops in Iraq, or
even send more. They say that Iraq would fall into civil war if we just
pulled out, or degenerate into general violence. Apparently the troops
already there are not decreasing violence, but supporting it.

Before we decide to keep troops in Iraq, however, a central question needs
to be answered: who will they shoot?
Troops, of course, carry weapons, and they either shoot people or threaten
to shoot people with them: that's the purpose of troops. But who will they

Although the US troops have already shot many civilians, this has not been
the official policy, and has certainly made the situation worse, as well as
wounding and killing innocent people. No -- the troops should not shoot

How about the insurgents, then -- the people who fight to try to get the US
out? Well, if the US were gone, there would be no way for them to shoot the
occupiers, nor any nationalistic reasons or excuses for their violence.
They would lose the support of the people rather than gaining more support,
as is happening now.

We hear about the possibility of civil war between various factions in Iraq
-- the Sunis, Shi'ites, Kurds, secularists, or various tribal members under
the command of the sheiks. Certainly there is no shortage of either weapons
nor gunmen among the Iraqis themselves. As sick of war and death as the
Iraqis are, there is a possibility that further fighting would break out;
that differences would not be resolvable by political means. Yet what if US
troops were there? Would they side with one faction and attack the others?
This would not lead to a lasting peace, but only drive that faction into a
resistance movement, much as we already see in Fallujah -- and much as we
see in Afghanistan where the warlords each control their own armies and
territories, and the US has been essentially hiding in a few strongholds,
with no resolution and an increase in terrorism.

At some future time the US would need to pull out, or, at much greater cost
than has already been incurred, establish a permanent military
dictatorship, which is inherently unsustainable. And what will happen when
that time comes? The factions may well have been further polarized, and a
civil war more fierce than any looming now would ensue.
There is no military solution to what is essentially a political problem.
Yet, that problem has been overstated: the Sunis and Shi'ites have been
living together for many years, and people have members of both in their
families. Even now both have united against their common occupier enemy.
Whether they can work together to form a common government depends on
diplomacy, not violence: it is only when security is established that
negotiations can begin -- but there we at the beginning of the circle, for
the violence is increasing with the occupier's presence, not decreasing.

What is necessary is for skilled and experienced diplomats, such as can be
found at the United Nations, to sit down with the clerical leaders and
sheiks to help them work out their differences, and to hold free elections
to form a government which has legitimacy and the backing of the Iraqi
people. This is a process in which the US has shown itself to be decidedly
inept. The Kurds will be greatest problem. They are used to independence,
have much of the oil wealth, and are already set apart from many of the
other Iraqis, partly though Arabization programs of Saddam, and partly
through the manipulations of the US -- as well there own feelings of
Kurdish nationalism. A fly in the ointment here is Turkey, of course, who
fear that the establishment of an independent Kurdistan will inflame the
drive of Kurds within Turkey for autonomy -- and, of course, the oil.

And in this difficulty, who shall the troops shoot? Shall they turn on the
Kurds and destroy them? Shall they shoot the Iraqis in the central and
southern regions? Shall they shoot the Turks? It would not seem that any of
these alternatives would be helpful or acceptable.

The inescapable conclusion is that the troops should not shoot any of the

What then of invaders from neighboring nations? Who might invade? The
Iranians, the Syrians, or the Turks? The Kuwaitis? (Hardly the Kuwaitis!)

First it must be recognized that the Iraqis are hardly defenseless: they
are already doing a pretty job of fighting off the Americans, despite being
already occupied and at a huge disadvantage in weaponry. Just try to
imagine even one of the neighboring countries try to invade, especially if
the Iraqis had control of their nation, and a free flow of arms and other
support from the international community. Imagine if a western nation,
NATO, or UN forces were to aid them in defending. Would Syria or Iran
jeopardize their national security by inviting international sanctions or
reprisals? Would the Turks be allowed to invade and still keep up their
vital trade relations, or risk their invading force being bombed or strafed
by western aircraft? Would US troops on the ground be needed, or even
desirable to deter such an invasion? The suggestion stretches credibility.
There is no real threat to Iraq of invasion by a neighboring nation.

So again we must ask? Who would the troops shoot? The only answer is
themselves -- in the foot -- as they have been doing all along. What sense
is there in continuing that?
  posted by blue @ 4:11 PM

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