Digby points to a report by the Center for Constitutional Rights based on the testimony of three UK citizens released from Gitmo. It describes an organized and systematic regime of psychological and physical torture to break the detainees.
If these charges are true, then this is not a few bad apples, but policy. And the person responsible for that policy is up for re-election soon.
Separately, information about doctors who at least failed to report physical torture and in some cases were complicit in enabling psychological abuse is emerging.
It’s sad that an administration that chastises those of us who question the invasion of Iraq as being against the troops would in turn level the blame on the troops for this. If I was a soldier over there, here’s the message I would be getting: We expect you to get results by any means necessary against a group of subhuman killers (“take the gloves off, arrrr!”), but we will scream for your head if you get caught. I can’t imagine that this is the kind of message that inspires much loyalty. But then, I guess that’s why so many documents prejudicial to the administration are getting leaked.
The “few bad apples” theory was obviously wrong from the outset. Reports of abuse/torture by international rights groups began in Afghanistan in 2001 and have continued since. The first similar reports in Iraq were in May of 2003. The photos, proving the power of visual images, finally woke up the world media but they were merely documentation of ongoing practices.
Very, very sad that as recently as 1991 in the first Gulf War the US was held up as the model for how POWs should be treated.
Western law and political theory have a traditional view that rebellion and war are justifed by certain types and levels of state abuses.
1. If the US occupying forces had acted this way in postwar Japan and Germany, would the occupied not have been justified in resorting to armed resistance?
2. What is the difference between case 1 and contemporary jihad against US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Leave out for now the question of illegitimate methods such as indiscriminate attacks on civilians, which are ruled out by mainstream Western and Islamic doctrines. El-Sadr’s militia in Iraq, for one, seems to be fighting in accordance with some sort of a code of war.