Fallujah–A Blunder; Prisoner Treatment–A Crime

Juan Cole has the essential website of the moment, especially a guest commentary Former CIA Saudi Arabia Station Chief Ray Close on 'The Real Meaning of Fallujah'—defeat and likely disaster. Also a few choice words on the abuse of prisoners scandal.

Other commentary of note on the prisoner horror: Intel Dump :

So let's be clear on what's going on here. We go into Iraq to stop, among other things, human rights abuses that were being directed by the Hussein regime. Many of those abuses took place at Abu Ghraib prison, the same building at the center of this report. Iraqi guards regularly beat, humiliated, and tortured their detainees, and they reveled in their cruelty. Now, we have American soldiers doing many of the same things, allegedly at the direction of American intelligence officers who wanted these MPs to set the conditions for productive interrogation sessions. I can't condemn this conduct enough, and yet, I feel that condemning this conduct isn't enough. This is truly reprehensible stuff.

What's worse is that other American soldiers may suffer for the brutal excesses of these MPs, interrogators, and OGA (“other government agency” = CIA) employees. Reciprocity is a very real thing where the laws of wars are concerned, and we should be very concerned about retaliation against any Americans captured by Iraqi insurgents in the future. Similarly, reprisals are very real problem in war; they're often fueled by anger over mistreatment of one side's own troops. When American troops learned of the German massacre at Malmedy during the Battle of the Bulge, historical accounts said they went on a killing spree — double-tapping every German in their sights, and giving no quarter even the Germans sought it. Other historical accounts reflect this trend. I think we can expect this news to reach every quarter of the Arab world, from the hideouts of the Iraqi insurgency to the Arab street. And when it does, I think we can expect it to fire up our adversaries in a huge way. This event will do significant, lasting damage to American credibility in the eyes of the Arab world. If a lot of Arabs were on the fence about American foreign policy, they won't be after they see this report. (If you think for one minute I'm exaggerating, imagine the American response if we'd seen our POWs treated this way and had these pictures broadcast on Al-Jazeera.)

Intel Dump also notes the role that non-uniformed contractors play in this, and the need to clarify their legal duties and status.

Hullabaloo notes that Iraq POW operations will be taken over by the Guantanamo warden, which is not necessarily good news and he also notes the British angle to the prisoner mistreatment atrocity.

Then, in a class of its own, is Fafblog's explanation of how you can tell none of it really happened.

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