Just read the latest account of what has happened to some of the U.S. military under this administration. Be sure to compare it with the propaganda put out only yesterday by National Review on this very subject. I have been trying to raise the alarm about what has really been going on for a while. But the abuse and torture claims have been dismissed or ignored. But even the torture-denialists will be unable to ignore this new material. It beggars belief. That this could be America. That this president’s abandonment of the legal ban on inhumane treatment of military detainees has brought us to this:

The new allegations center around systematic abuse of Iraqi detainees by men of the 82nd Airborne at Camp Mercury, a forward operating base located near Fallujah, the scene of a major uprising against the U.S. occupation in April 2004, according to sources familiar with the report and accounts given by the Captain, who is in his mid-20s, to Senate staff. Much of the abuse allegedly occurred in 2003 and 2004, before and during the period the Army was conducting an internal investigation into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, but prior to when the abuses at Abu Ghraib became public. Other alleged abuses described in the Human Rights report occurred at Camp Tiger, near Iraq’s border with Syria, and previously in Afghanistan. In addition, the report details what the Captain says was his unsuccessful effort over 17 months to get the attention of military superiors. Ultimately he approached the Republican senators.

The Human Rights Watch reportx97as well as accounts given to Senate staffx97describe officers as aware of the abuse but routinely ignoring or covering it up, amid chronic confusion over U.S. military detention policies and whether or not the Geneva Convention applied. The Captain is quoted in the report describing how military intelligence personnel at Camp Mercury directed enlisted men to conduct daily beatings of prisoners prior to questioning; to subject detainees to strenuous forced exercises to the point of unconsciousness; and to expose them to extremes of heat and coldx97all methods designed to produce greater cooperation with interrogators. Non-uniformed personnelx97apparently working for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to the soldiersx97also interrogated prisoners. The interrogators were out of view but not out of earshot of the soldiers, who overheard what they came to believe was abuse.

Specific instances of abuse described in the Human Rights Watch report include severe beatings, including one incident when a soldier allegedly broke a detainee’s leg with a metal bat. Others include prisoners being stacked in human pyramids (unlike the human pyramids at Abu Ghraib, the prisoners at Camp Mercury were clothed); soldiers administering blows to the face, chest and extremities of prisoners; and detainees having their faces and eyes exposed to burning chemicals, being forced into stress positions for long periods leading to unconsciousness and having their water and food withheld.

The full, harrowing report can be read here. This is not enemy propaganda. This is the testimony of decent American soldiers so appalled by what they were witnessing that they felt compelled, after being ignored by their superiors and the administration, to go directly to senators to get their complaints aired. Rumsfeld must resign. Now.

“THIS WAS THE NORM”: “I would be told, ‘These guys were IED [improvised explosive device] trigger men last week.’ So we would fuck them up. Fuck them up bad … At the same time we should be held to a higher standard. I know that now. It was wrong. There are a set of standards. But you gotta understand, this was the norm. Everyone would just sweep it under the rug.” – a decorated army captain in Iraq. Will people open their eyes now?


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