“We don’t do [ Iraqi ] body counts.”
— General Tommy Franks, US Central Command

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Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator
Winter Soldier/Iraq Veterans Against the War

"If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks."
— Frederick The Great

"The service is like a Roach Motel. You can get in, but you can't get out."

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable an ignorable war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."
— Albert Einstein

Loyal Klansmen

"As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead trying to kill me. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are only doing their duty, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any worse for it. He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil."
— George Orwell London, 1941

"In the eyes of empire builders men are not men but instruments."
— Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor 1769-1821

king george borg
queen barbara bush
hillary vs giuliani
why they do it
the road to oil
chertoff & katrina
face of the enemy
not in my name
guantánamo & abu graib
bush's bitch
dinner satire
karl rove piggie
who's in charge?
face of the dead
born again dubya
the evil twins
nude emperor
time warp again
lynndie & rumsfie
the ventriloquist
the liberators
old enemies
condi & bushie
swatting flies
war ends
forever war
annie fuehrer
nietzsche's boy
cheney mummy
dr. lovebomb
bush's poodle
turkey & the prez
spider queen
david duke

"It's kind of bad we destroyed everything, [in Fallujah] but at least we gave them a chance for a new start."
— Derrick Anthony, USA Navy

"It's hard sometimes to sort out who's killing who [in Iraq]."
— Maj. General Rick Lynch

"Every miserable fool who has nothing of which he can be proud, adopts pride in the nation to which he belongs. He is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority."
— Arthur Schopenhauer, Aphorisms

"Was the intelligence [on WMDs] spun? Was it politicized? I’m beginning to have my concerns."
— Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Colin Powell

"To be a true marine, you must kill... I’ve spent many hours of my life imagining what my bullets will do to the enemy. The medulla oblongata is the most coveted shot. Entry through the mouth or the eyeball is also acceptable. The Marine does not shoot to injure but only to kill. Sometimes my imagined enemy has been a Russian, sometimes a Chinese, sometimes an Arab, depending on world events and what version of those events I’m receiving or currently involved in."
— from Jarhead, a memoir by Anthony Swofford

"Dubya's lies should make him choke
He must still be snortin coke
Saddam's secret poison gas
Must be something Rumsfeld passed"

— recent US Marines song

Before the war, the neoconservatives in the Bush Administration had convinced themselves— and the President and Vice-President— that the road to Middle East democratization and peace ran through Baghdad. Once the regime of Saddam Hussein was cast aside, they argued, democracy would spread among all factions of Iraq and move on to Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. Countries across the region would renounce terrorism and embrace the West.
— Seymour Hersh

Cloy's Story

By Corporal Cloy Richards

I stare at this paper and don’t know what to say
I don’t feel right saying “happy memorial day”
I don’t find anything happy in the price you’ve
We’re both just pawns when this game called
war gets played
My body came home but my spirit just stayed
That hot Iraqi day when you were slayed
Watching my back so I could sleep unafraid I
heard the explosion from where I laid
And instantly I watched the skies go grey
I watched my life just float away
How could things go this way
You were my brother in arms and you took my
But not like the way that car bomb took your
And blew off your limbs
When I think about it my head starts to spin
I get noxious when I think of your family
I want to tell them I truly am sorry
I’m sorry your son died protecting me
This isn’t the way things were meant to be
You see that day your son took my duty
Your brother sacrificed four 4 hours of sleep
So he could go guard a gate for me
Your fiancée took my fate from me
I’m sorry your father took my place for me
I’m sorry I can spend memorial day with my
Today should have been a memorial for me
At least then the survivor could have lived guilt-

by Corporal Cloy Richards

what can I do?
I'm just a veteran
what can I say?
im not a real american
never worked a real job
joined the marines at age seventeen
never even paid taxes
only made minimum wage
a dollar sixty-six an hour
to have mortars blowing up in my face
and a lifetime of guilt and a lifetime of rage
to live with the rest of my days
i hope god forgives me for my ways
i only lived to serve
and pay homage and stay true
to the red white and blue
i ain't black but i understand the price that they paid
nah I wasn't given AIDS, raped or made a slave
but I've been kicked to the curb, kicked in the ribs,
and spit in my face
all from a common enemy, what a disgrace
how dare lady liberty shit on our graves
I watch my best friend get blown to pieces
then watch the monkeys on capitol hill throw us
around like feces
goddamn please, i deserve more respect than that
when it rains i can still feel the schrapnel in my back
i hear an explosion it takes me right back, to march
two thousand and three
look at me, i'm the poster boy for insanity
cuz i've killed so many innocent iraqi's
but how would you feel
you think you could deal
with this pain I call life
I doubt it, you might could try
but end up on the wrong end of a bottle and end up
ending yo life
and then where would you be
you'd be halfway to killing yourself
the same place as me

by Cloy Richards USMC

Because I can’t forget no matter how hard I try.
They told us we were taking out advancing Iraqi
But when we went to check out the bodies
they were nothing but women and children
desperately fleeing their homes because
they wanted to get out of the city
before we attacked in the morning.

Because my little brother, who is my job to protect,
decided to join the California National Guard
to get some money for college and
they promised he wouldn’t go to Iraq.
instead three months after enlisting  
he was sent to Iraq for one year.

Since he has been home for the last six months,
he refuses to talk to anyone, he lives by himself.
the only person he associates with is a friend of his,
the one other man out of his squad of thirteen men
who made it home alive.

He called me a few weeks ago for the first time
And told me he’s having nightmares.
I asked what they were about and
He said they’re about picking up the pieces
Of his fellow soldiers after a car bomb hit them.

Because every single one of the Marines I served
the really brave warriors, even when some friends
and people
they looked up to got killed or lost an arm or leg,
they wouldn’t cry, they just kept fighting.
They completed their mission.

Every one of them I have spoken to since we got
has broken down crying in front of me,
saying all they can do since they got back
is bounce from job to job, drink and do drugs,
And contemplate suicide to end the pain.

Because I’m tired of drinking, bouncing from job to job
and contemplating suicide to end the pain.

Because every time I see a child,
I think of the thousands I’ve slaughtered.
Because every time I see a young soldier,
I think of the thousands Bush has slaughtered.
Because every time I look in the mirror
I see a casualty of the war.

Because I have a lot of lives I have to make up for,
the lives I have taken and
Because it’s right.
That’s why I fight.
Because of soldiers with wounds you can’t see.

US Probes Troops' Neglect Claims

Washington has ordered a review of the way wounded US soldiers are cared for at military hospitals, following highly critical reports in the US media.

A top defence official has admitted one hospital, Walter Reed, had problems that must be fixed "immediately".

Reports in the Washington Post said some of the soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan lived in buildings infested with rodents and cockroaches.

It said others had to wait for months to get their disability pay.

Dr William Winkenwerder, assistant defence secretary for health affairs, said trust in the Army had "taken a hit" following complaints about living conditions at some Walter Reed buildings.

General Richard Cody, vice-chief of staff of the Army, added that he had visited some of the rooms and found them "disappointing".

He pledged to oversee personally the reconstruction of the building he inspected, which is known as Building 18.


White House spokesman Tony Snow said the men and women who fought for the US deserved "the best care".

"There's plenty of outrage," Mr Snow said, responding to the Washington Post's investigation into how some 700 wounded soldiers were being treated at Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

"We need to make sure that whatever problems there are get fixed," the White House spokesman said.

The Pentagon said an independent panel would look into outpatients and administrative processes at Walter Reed and also at the National Naval Hospital in Maryland.

The Pentagon said that the army and the navy had also begun their own reviews of America's top two medical facilities.

In the US Congress, Democratic lawmakers said they were appalled by the reports' findings and promised to push for legislation to improve conditions at military hospitals.

The reports put the White House - which is trying to win public support for its handling of the war in Iraq - in a difficult position, the BBC's Emilio San Pedro says.

After all, President George W Bush has often spoken of America's debt to the country's military personnel for their service in Afghanistan and Iraq, our correspondent says.

FBI says U.S. Criminal Gangs Are Using Military to Spread Their Reach

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — U.S. criminal gangs have gained a foothold in the U.S. military and are using overseas deployments to spread tentacles around the globe, according to the FBI.

FBI gang investigator Jennifer Simon said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes this week that gang members have been documented on or near U.S. military bases in Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Iraq.

“It’s no secret that gang members are prevalent in the armed forces, including internationally,” Simon said, adding that the FBI is preparing to release a report on gangs in the military.

Among the cases:

In Iraq, armored vehicles, concrete barricades and bathroom walls have served as canvasses for spray-painted gang art. At Camp Cedar II, about 185 miles southeast of Baghdad, a guard shack was recently defaced with “GDN” for Gangster Disciple Nation, along with the gang’s six-pointed star and the word “Chitown,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

In Germany, a soldier is being prosecuted this week for the murder of Sgt. Juwan Johnson, beaten to death on July 4, 2005, allegedly during a Gangster Disciple initiation in Kaiserslautern.

In September, Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe warned teachers and parents to watch out for signs of gang activity, including the deadly MS-13 gang. At the time, DODDS-Europe public affairs officer David Ruderman said there had been two incidents in the past 18 months that involved students fighting, wearing gang colors or claiming to be members of gangs. In one of the incidents, a student’s family member may have been a gang member, he said.

Earlier this year, Kadena Air Base on Okinawa established a joint service task force to investigate gang-related activity involving high school teens linked through the Web site MySpace.com.

Last year, the U.S. Army conducted 11 felony investigations into gang activity, one of those being the death of Johnson, said Christopher Grey, a spokesman for the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) in Virginia. Three of the incidents, including the Johnson case, took place in Europe, Grey said.

“We investigate all credible reports of gang activity,” Grey said, adding that CID has programs to combat gang activity in the Army.

Soldiers are reluctant to talk openly about gang problems. However, Spc. Bautista Kylock, 21, of the 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment in Vilseck, Germany, said last week that there are gang members within his unit.

Kylock blamed recent violence around Vilseck on soldiers affiliated with the Crips and Bloods street gangs.

Scott Barfield, a former Defense Department gang detective at 2nd Cav’s last duty station, Fort Lewis, Wash., told the Sun-Times earlier this year that he had identified more than 300 soldiers at the base as gang members.

“I think that’s the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

However, Vilseck Provost Marshal Maj. Robert Ray said there is not a big gang problem in Vilseck and he has no information on gang members within 2nd Cav.

“The military comes from all walks of lives, from rich to poor, and with that comes the ‘society,’” Ray said. “Are there members of the military that belong to gangs? No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.

“The military chain of commands do not tolerate things like that and do their best to weed out problems,” he said.

There are no official statistics on gang membership in the military, but some experts have estimated that 1 percent to 2 percent of the U.S. military are gang members, Simon said. That compares with just 0.02 percent of the U.S. population believed to be gang members, she wrote.

“Gang membership in the U.S. armed forces is disproportional to the U.S. population,” she added.

Jim Kouri, vice president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, wrote recently that, in addition to the Gangster Disciples, other Chicago gangs such as the Latin Kings and Vice Lords have infiltrated the military along with neo-Nazi groups.

Although there are no numbers to back it up, Simon believes gang member presence in the U.S. military is increasing.

“The U.S. Army has reported an increase in gang-related activity in the military, although their numbers are low,” she said.

Gang-related activity in the military is highly underreported, and the Army is the only branch of the military that collects gang-related statistics, she wrote.

“It’s often in the military’s best interest to keep these incidents quiet, given low recruitment numbers and recent negative publicity. The relaxation of recruiting standards, recruiter misconduct and the military’s lack of enforcement (gang membership is not prohibited in the Army) have compounded the problem and allowed gang member presence in the military to proliferate,” Simon said.

The Military: Losing Hearts and Minds?
By Oscar R. Estrada
Sunday, June 6, 2004; Page B01


The General and the Colonel have told us that we are the main effort, at the forefront of helping to rebuild Iraq. But how do you rebuild when all around you destruction and violence continue? Do the facts and figures showing levels of electricity restored, the amount of drinking water available, the number of schools reconstructed or the numbers of police officers hired and trained really convince the Iraqi people that we are here to help? Are we winning their hearts and minds?

Winning hearts and minds is my job, in a nutshell. I'm an Army Reserve civil affairs (CA) officer stationed in Baqubah, 30 miles northeast of Baghdad. In Vietnam, winning hearts and minds was mostly a Special Forces task, but after that they were smart enough to get out of it, and the responsibility has since fallen into the laps of reservists like me who are trained to deal with every conceivable problem that arises when Big Army meets Little Civilian. And that's why CA soldiers are among those most often deployed overseas in the Reserve.

That's how they get you, actually, with promises of foreign travel, foreign language training, Airborne School, Air Assault School . . . and the chance to help others. We're trained in the Army's regimented style to deal with civilians in foreign countries, required to learn a satisfactory number of acronyms, probed, pricked and tested, and then sent overseas to do good.

And here we are, in Iraq, trying to help the Iraqi people as death threats frighten our Iraqi interpreters into quitting to protect their families, and as attacks from mortars, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) become daily and nightly occurrences.

We're told by senior officers that most Iraqis are being influenced by "bad guys" and their anti-coalition messages. The latest acronym for these bad guys is AIF, which stands for Anti-Iraqi Forces. The fact that most AIF members are Iraqi is neatly ignored as we try to win the goodwill of the "good" Iraqis.

One day last week we rolled into the town of Zaghniyah to win some of the local hearts and minds. In a country where most people are unemployed, we offer the townspeople $1 for every bag of trash they can collect. Our "docs" -- medics, assistants and physicians -- set up shop in the local health clinic and we try to "engage local leadership." But most of the local leaders, we are told, are not there. Those people who do speak with us do so only to catalogue their concerns -- chiefly unemployment and lack of electricity and water. It's the day after the swearing-in of Iraq's new interim government, and so I explain that their concerns have to be presented to their Governing Council, and that we can fund projects only through that council. An old man waves me off and tells me that they know the Americans control everything and will do so as long as they are here. The rest of the men nod in agreement.

As the day wears on, every ray of sun seems to add weight to my Kevlar helmet and body armor. I am at a loss as to why our efforts aren't recognized or appreciated. But then, as I look at the children collecting trash and the main road clogged with military vehicles, as I watch one of our docs try to help a woman carrying a gaunt and sickly baby in her arms, and as I listen to an old sheik struggle with our demands that he hold American-style town meetings, I realize that Iraqis may see our help as something else. I see how paying them to collect trash may be demeaning and remote from their hopes for prosperity in a new Iraq. I see our good faith efforts to provide medical care lead to disappointment and resentment when we have neither the medicine nor the equipment to cure or heal many ailments. And I see how our efforts to introduce representative democracy can lead to frustration.

Some experiences here have reminded me that our sacrifice for the rebuilding of Iraq is minor compared with that of the average Iraqi. A few weeks ago I was on a patrol in the town of Buhriz, near Baqubah. Our mission: to assess the city's potable water needs. Buhriz is a place where our soldiers are often shot at, so we rolled in with two Bradleys and several Humvees packed with heavily armed troops.

On the way to the water treatment plant, we stop for a psychological operations (psyop) mission. A psyop team walks up and down the market handing out "product," in this case pro-coalition messages in a glossy Arabic-language magazine. Young people take the magazines and seem to enjoy the novelty of the event; some people bombard the team and its interpreter with questions about things the town needs and the whereabouts of detained relatives.

But others return the fancy magazine and pull their kids away from "the occupiers." One man pulls a young boy by the arm and slaps him on the back of the head as he chastises him. I stare at the man and he at me; his hatred is palpable. We're less than five feet apart, but the true separation is far greater. I'm unable to communicate with him without the help of the one interpreter assigned to this patrol of 30 or so soldiers, and the "terp" is with the psyop team. I wish I could ask the man why he hates us, but I doubt anything useful would come of such a conversation. As we drive out of town, a little boy who looks about 3 years old spits at our vehicles as we pass his house.

I flash back to an incident a month earlier when we were returning to our compound by way of "RPG Alley," a route of frequent attacks. A unit ahead of us had reported taking fire and we rushed to the scene. Other patrols and M1 tanks soon arrived and we sat and waited, pointing our weapons into a date palm grove to the north. A small column of Humvees moved down a dirt road toward the grove, and all hell broke loose. I never heard a shot fired from the grove, but someone did, and then everyone was firing.

"Hey, what the hell are we shooting at?" I screamed at my buddy as I continued to squeeze off rounds from my M-16.

"I'm not sure! By that shack. You?"

"I'm just shooting where everybody else is shooting."

But everybody else was shooting all over the place. Small puffs of white erupted in front of us as our own soldiers lobbed grenades at the grove but came up short; tracers from .50-caliber machine guns flew past us, and the smell of cordite filled the air. Then, as suddenly as it had started, the tumult ended. We sat in silence and listened to the crackling radios as a patrol dismounted from a couple of armored Humvees and began to search among the trees.

"Dagger, this is Bravo 6. Do you have anything, over?"

"Roger. We're going to need a terp. We have a guy here who's pretty upset. I think we killed his cow, over."

"Upset how, over?"

"He can't talk; I think he's in shock. He looks scared, over."

"He should be scared. He's the enemy."

"Uhm, ahh, Roger , 6 . . . he's not armed and looks like a farmer or something."

"He was in the grove that we took fire from; he's a [expletive] bad guy!"


From my perch in the Humvee, I listened as the patrol found a suspicious bag hanging from a tree and called in an explosive ordnance disposal unit to examine it. On the other side of the road, in the distance, a horse-drawn cart crept on its way from some unknown village to the piece of road we now controlled. I watched it grow larger until the old man on the cart came face to face with the armed soldier waving him off. He slowly turned the cart around and headed back to where he had come from. I wondered where he was going, whether it was important and how much effort he'd put into the trip. I wondered if we had any chance of winning either his heart or his mind.

As we headed back to our compound, I couldn't stop thinking about the man in the grove, frozen in shock at the sight of his dead livestock. Did his family depend on that cow for its survival? Had he seen his world fall apart? Had we lost both his heart and his mind?

Stop thinking about this, I tell myself as our imposing convoy comes to a stop in front of the water treatment plant that serves Buhriz -- it's time, once again, to go about my job of winning those hearts and minds. I spend the next half-hour asking people questions and taking notes that I'll later summarize in a neat and orderly report sprinkled with just the right number of Army acronyms, grid coordinates and date-time groups. I'll detail the gallons-per-day requirements and the inoperable pump and the need for high-capacity filters and all the other bits of information that will help someone somewhere request the thousands of dollars it will take to repair the plant. My work is done, and I feel confident I've done it well. I feel as if I've actually accomplished something worthwhile today.

And then I remember: Security, you forgot to ask about security! So I do, and the treatment plant manager tells me that his biggest threat is coalition soldiers, who shoot up the compound whenever the nearby MP station and government building are attacked. He shows me the bullet holes and asks, "Why?" I give the standard response: We have to defend ourselves, and these problems are caused by the insurgents. And I think the people listening are buying it when the plant's caretaker tugs at my elbow, urging me to come see his house on the corner of the plant grounds. We're running late, but I follow the man before the patrol leader can say no.

An old man, the caretaker's father , comes out of the house and gestures for me to come inside. It's a one-level, three-room concrete building, clean but humble. The old man's grandchildren, his daughter-in-law and his wife stare up at me as he leads me by the arm and points out the bullet holes on the side of the house, the shattered windows and the bullet-riddled living room. He's speaking to me in Arabic. I can't understand a word he's saying, and yet I understand it all. I see the anguish in his face as his eyes start to tear up, I see the sadness as he points to old photographs of safer days under Saddam Hussein. I see the shame as he mimics how our soldiers hit him when he was detained, and I see the disappointment as he asks me "Why?" and I stare at him at a loss for words.

"Why?" I don't even remember what I told him, but I think I apologized. The patrol leader was telling me it was time to go. Everyone, even the old man's family, seemed in a hurry to end the encounter. So we quickly walked out, hoping to somehow outpace the wave of shame that threatened to knock us over.

Only I can't outrun it. I stay up that night thinking of the old man and the young soldiers who fired into the darkness in response to bullets and mortars and RPGs hurled at them from somewhere "out there." I think of the man with the dead cow and of the rush of adrenaline I felt firing from the back of that Humvee at the perceived threat. I think of the old man on the cart, the children who burst into tears when we point our weapons into their cars (just in case), and the countless numbers of people whose vehicles we sideswipe as we try to use speed to survive the IEDs that await us each morning. I think of my fellow soldiers and the reality of being attacked and feeling threatened, and it all makes sense -- the need to smash their cars and shoot their cows and point our weapons at them and detain them without concern for notifying their families. But how would I feel in their shoes? Would I be able to offer my own heart and mind?

Oscar Estrada is an Army Reserve captain from Arlington, serving as a civil affairs team leader in Iraq. A third-year student at the University of Michigan Law School, he spent 81/2 years as a Foreign Service officer with the State Department.

New York Times
General Is Scolded for Saying, "It's Fun to Shoot Some People"
By Eric Schmitt

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 - A senior Marine general who commanded forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been admonished by the commandant of the Marine Corps for saying publicly, "It's fun to shoot some people."

Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, an infantry officer who is a revered figure among marines for his fierce demeanor and warrior ethos, made the comments on Tuesday while speaking to a forum in San Diego about strategies for the war against terror.

According to an audio recording of General Mattis's remarks obtained by The Associated Press, he said: "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling."

He added, "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil."

General Mattis continued: "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

On Thursday, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, issued a statement saying, "I have counseled him concerning his remarks, and he agrees he should have chosen his words more carefully." General Hagee added, "While I understand that some people may take issue with the comments made by him, I also know he intended to reflect the unfortunate and harsh realities of war."

General Mattis is now the commanding officer of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., which is responsible for developing Marine war-fighting doctrine, techniques and tactics. A spokeswoman for the general said he agreed that he should have chosen his words more carefully and that he considered the matter closed.

The general is no stranger to controversy. After marines under his command seized an airstrip in Afghanistan at the start of the war against the Taliban, he declared, "The Marines have landed, and we now own a piece of Afghanistan."

The remark grated on Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who with other Pentagon officials considered the remark impolitic given the administration's stated goal that the United States was freeing Afghanistan from the tyranny of the Taliban, not seizing land in a Muslim nation.

As commander of the First Marine Division in the Iraq war, General Mattis ordered his force on a high-speed race from Kuwait to Baghdad, sowing confusion among Iraqi units along the way with the maneuver.

When one of his regimental commanders, Col. Joe D. Dowdy, was not aggressive enough for General Mattis, the general stripped the subordinate of his battlefield command, a highly unusual step in wartime.

At a Pentagon briefing on Thursday, Mr. Rumsfeld said he had not read General Mattis's remarks and declined to comment on them.

Gen. Peter Pace, a Marine officer who is vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the same briefing that he would let General Mattis speak for himself.

"But I will tell you," General Pace said, "that the last three times that that general has been in combat, when he was leading marines in Afghanistan, and the two times that he led his division in Iraq, his actions, and those of his troops, clearly show that he understands the value of proper leadership and the value of human life."

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." —George Santayana

"The worst organization for a human being to be made a part of is the military establishment because he is compelled to lose his entire identity and sense of right and wrong. He becomes a roboton — a roboton who is the subject of whatever modern Caesar has seized the power of command."
"A military establishment is based primarily on total authoritarianism, and as such must forever pose a threat to any democratic government to which it may be attached."

— Captain Earl J. Carroll, assistant prosecutor, Lichfield U.S. Army courts-martial, 1945

"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, contrary to what you have just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners, only losers. There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: The American Revolution, World War II, and The Star Wars Trilogy."
— Bart from "The s"   1989

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
— Albert Einstein

"Our soldiers will show what American justice and democracy is all about."
— George W. Bush

"No one can now doubt the word of America."
—George W. Bush, State of the Union  1/20/2004

"Secretary of State Rumsfeld has served our nation well."
— George W. Bush, on whether he'd ask Rumsfeld for his resignation.

"You are a strong secretary of defense and our nation owes you a debt of gratitude."
— George W. Bush, to Donald Rumsfeld

"Don Rumsfeld is the best Secretary of Defense the United States has ever had. People ought to get off his case and let him do his job."
— Dick Cheney, 5/9/04

"There are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq."
— George W. Bush

"Up to 90 percent of Iraqi detainees were arrested by mistake.
Abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers was widespread and routine.
Authorities entered houses usually after dark, breaking down doors, waking up residents roughly, yelling orders, forcing family members into one room under military guard while searching the rest of the house and further breaking doors, cabinets and other property. Sometimes they arrested all adult males present in a house, including elderly, handicapped or sick people.
Treatment often included pushing people around, insulting, taking aim with rifles, punching and kicking and striking with rifles.
Evidence supporting prisoners' allegations of other forms of abuse during arrest, initial detention and interrogation — including burns, bruises and other injuries."

— From Red Cross report given to Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell & Paul Bremer  January, 04

"We're making progress, you bet. There's a strategy toward freedom." — George W. Bush

For many of the Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib, living conditions are better in prison than at home.  At one point we were concerned that they wouldn't want to leave."
—General Janis Karpinski, head of Iraqi prison system, 1-month before investigation

"It's a good thing there are no gay people in the military because otherwise weird sex stuff might happen."
— Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live

"There are a lot more photographs and videos that exist. I looked at them last night and they're hard to believe. The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder. If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."
— Donald Rumsfeld

"There was a special women's section. There were young boys in there. There were things done to young boys that were videotaped. It's much worse. And the Maj. Gen. Taguba was very tough about it. He said this place was riddled with violent, awful actions against prisoners." — Seymour Hersch, to Bill O'Reilly

"This is deeper and wider than I think most in this administration understand."
U.S. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska (Face the Nation  5/7/04)

"In an army of 150,000 people, there will be some people who misbehave.  People who did far worse than that under Saddam Hussein were promoted, they weren't court-martialled."
— John Howard, Australian Prime Minister

"Stupid. Kid things - pranks."
—Terrie England, mother of one female soldier accused of abuse

"A college fraternity prank."
—Rush Limbaugh, on prison torture

"They [terrorists] don't like our value system, they don't like a system that treats each individual as a creature of God with the full rights of every other individual."
—Colin Powell

"We have failed. The issue is how high a price we're going to pay. Less, by getting out sooner, or more, by getting out later?"
—Gen. William E Odom, former NSA head

"We got a warning, saying the Military Police had found a video of people throwing prisoners off a bridge.  [The response] wasn't 'Don't do it' or 'Stop it'.  It was 'Get rid of it.'  "
— British soldier

"I was only following orders"
—Adolf Eichmann

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
— Lord Emerich Acton, British Hitorian  1834–1902

"U.S. soldiers detained an elderly Iraqi woman, placed a harness on her, made her crawl on all fours and rode her like a donkey."
—Associated Press

"In one case, electric shocks were used against a man. In others, people are being beaten for the whole night."
—Amnesty International

"People forced to smash heads against doors until their heads broke open."
— Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-NY

"A man beating himself against a wall as though to knock himself unconscious. I saw Cruel, sadistic torture"
— Rep. Jane Harman, D-CA

“Every time we confront Iraqi troops we may win some tactical battles, as we did for ten years in Vietnam, but we will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost. We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable. The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated. It is a war we can not win.” –Scott Ritter, former U.N. weapons inspector, March 26

Beating Specialist Baker
New York Times

The prison abuse scandal refuses to die because soothing White House explanations keep colliding with revelations about dead prisoners and further connivance by senior military officers — and newly discovered victims, like Sean Baker.

If Sean Baker doesn't sound like an Iraqi name, it isn't. Specialist Baker, 37, is an American, and he was a proud U.S. soldier. An Air Force veteran and member of the Kentucky National Guard, he served in the first gulf war and more recently was a military policeman in Guantánamo Bay.

Then in January 2003, an officer in Guantánamo asked him to pretend to be a prisoner in a training drill. As instructed, Mr. Baker put on an orange prison jumpsuit over his uniform, and then crawled under a bunk in a cell so an "internal reaction force" could practice extracting an uncooperative inmate. The five U.S. soldiers in the reaction force were told that he was a genuine detainee who had already assaulted a sergeant.

Despite more than a week of coaxing, I haven't been able to get Mr. Baker to give an interview. But he earlier told a Kentucky television station what happened next:

"They grabbed my arms, my legs, twisted me up and unfortunately one of the individuals got up on my back from behind and put pressure down on me while I was face down. Then he — the same individual — reached around and began to choke me and press my head down against the steel floor. After several seconds, 20 to 30 seconds, it seemed like an eternity because I couldn't breathe. When I couldn't breathe, I began to panic and I gave the code word I was supposed to give to stop the exercise, which was `red.' . . . That individual slammed my head against the floor and continued to choke me. Somehow I got enough air. I muttered out: `I'm a U.S. soldier. I'm a U.S. soldier.' "

Then the soldiers noticed that he was wearing a U.S. battle dress uniform under the jumpsuit. Mr. Baker was taken to a military hospital for treatment of his head injuries, then flown to a Navy hospital in Portsmouth, Va. After a six-day hospitalization there, he was given a two-week discharge to rest.

But Mr. Baker began suffering seizures, so the military sent him to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center for treatment of a traumatic brain injury. He stayed at the hospital for 48 days, was transferred to light duty in an honor burial detail at Fort Dix, N.J., and was finally given a medical discharge two months ago.

Meanwhile, a military investigation concluded that there had been no misconduct involved in Mr. Baker's injury. Hmm. The military also says it can't find a videotape that is believed to have been made of the incident.

Most appalling, when Mr. Baker told his story to a Kentucky reporter, the military lied in a disgraceful effort to undermine his credibility. Maj. Laurie Arellano, a spokeswoman for the Southern Command, questioned the extent of Mr. Baker's injuries and told reporters that his medical discharge was unrelated to the injuries he had suffered in the training drill.

In fact, however, the Physical Evaluation Board of the Army stated in a document dated Sept. 29, 2003: "The TBI [traumatic brain injury] was due to soldier playing role of detainee who was non-cooperative and was being extracted from detention cell in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during a training exercise."

Major Arellano acknowledges that she misstated the facts and says she had been misinformed herself by medical personnel. She now says the medical discharge was related in part — but only in part, she says — to the "accident."

Mr. Baker, who is married and has a 14-year-old son, is now unemployed, taking nine prescription medications and still suffering frequent seizures. His lawyer, Bruce , has been told that Mr. Baker may not begin to get disability payments for up to 18 months. If he is judged 100 percent disabled, he will then get a maximum of $2,100 a month.

If the U.S. military treats one of its own soldiers this way — allowing him to be battered, and lying to cover it up — then imagine what happens to Afghans and Iraqis.

President Bush attributed the problems uncovered at Abu Ghraib to "a few American troops who dishonored our country." Mr. Bush, the problems go deeper than a few bad apples.  

Lawyer Says Gen. Sanchez Knew of Abuse

May 24— A military lawyer for a soldier charged in the Abu Ghraib abuse case stated that a captain at the prison said the highest-ranking U.S. military officer in Iraq was present during some "interrogations and/or allegations of the prisoner abuse," according to a recording of a military hearing obtained by The Washington Post, the paper reported on Saturday. The lawyer at the hearing said that Army Lt.Gen. Ricardo Sanchez was aware of what was taking place on Tier-A of Abu Ghraib. Up to this point, evidence presented in the prison abuse case implicates only low-level military police officers part of the 372nd Military Police Company.

And a follow-up on an ABCNEWS exclusive — A witness who told ABCNEWS he believed the military was covering up the extent of abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison was today stripped of his security clearance and told he may face prosecution because his comments were "not in the national interest."

New York Times
U.S. Disputed Protected Status of Iraq Inmates
By Douglas Jehl and Neil A. Lewis

WASHINGTON, May 22 — Presented last fall with a detailed catalog of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, the American military responded on Dec. 24 with a confidential letter to a Red Cross official asserting that many Iraqi prisoners were not entitled to the full protections of the Geneva Conventions.

The letter, drafted by military lawyers and signed by Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, emphasized the "military necessity" of isolating some inmates at the prison for interrogation because of their "significant intelligence value," and said prisoners held as security risks could legally be treated differently from prisoners of war or ordinary criminals.

But the military insisted that there were "clear procedures governing interrogation to ensure approaches do not amount to inhumane treatment."

In recent public statements, Bush administration officials have said that the Geneva Conventions were "fully applicable" in Iraq. That has put American-run prisons in Iraq in a different category from those in Afghanistan and in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban have been declared unlawful combatants not eligible for protection. However, the Dec. 24 letter appears to undermine administration assertions of the conventions' broad application in Iraq.

Until now, the only known element of the letter had been a provision described by a senior Army officer as having asserted that the Red Cross should not seek in the future to conduct no-notice inspections in the cellblock where the worst abuses took place.

The International Committee of the Red Cross had reported in November that its staff, in a series of visits to Abu Ghraib in October, had "documented and witnessed" ill treatment that "included deliberate physical violence" as well as verbal abuse, forced nudity and prolonged handcuffing in uncomfortable positions.

In Congressional testimony last week, Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, the deputy commander of American forces in the Middle East, asserted that the Dec. 24 response demonstrated that the military had fully addressed the Red Cross complaints.

But the three-page response did not address many of the specific concerns cited by the Red Cross, whose main recommendations included improving the treatment of prisoners held for interrogation.

Instead, much of the military's reply is devoted to presenting a legal justification for the treatment of a broad category of Iraqi prisoners, including hundreds identified by the United States as "security detainees" in a cellblock at Abu Ghraib and in another facility known as Camp Cropper on the outskirts of the Baghdad airport, where the Red Cross had also found abuses.

Prisoners of war are given comprehensive protections under the Third Geneva Convention, while civilian prisoners are granted considerable protection under the Fourth Convention.

But under the argument advanced by the military, Iraqi prisoners who are deemed security risks can be denied the right to communicate with others, and perhaps other rights and privileges, at least until the overall security situation in Iraq improves.

The military's rationale relied on a legal exemption within the Fourth Geneva Convention.

"While the armed conflict continues, and where `absolute military security so requires,' security detainees will not obtain full GC protection as recognized in GCIV/5, although such protection will be afforded as soon as the security situation in Iraq allows it," the letter says, using abbreviations to refer to Article 5 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

That brief provision opens what is, in effect, a narrow, three-paragraph loophole in the 1949 convention.

The Red Cross's standing commentary on the provision calls it "an important and regrettable concession to State expediency." It was drafted, during intense debate and in inconsistent French and English versions, to address the treatment of spies and saboteurs.

"What is most to be feared is that widespread application of the article may eventually lead to the existence of a category of civilian internees who do not receive the normal treatment laid down by the convention but are detained under conditions which are almost impossible to check," says the Red Cross commentary, which is posted on its Web site. "It must be emphasized most strongly, therefore, that Article 5 can only be applied in individual cases of an exceptional nature."

An authority on the laws of war, Prof. Scott L. Silliman of Duke University, said that the assertions in the military's letter were highly questionable and that the military lawyers who drafted it may have misconstrued the law.

The category in which prisoners may be excluded from the protections of the Geneva Conventions that the letter cites, Professor Silliman said, are for people who can be shown to be a continuing threat to the occupying force, not people who might have valuable intelligence.

"They may be high value assets but that does not necessarily make them security risks," he said. The provision cited in the letter provides that the protections could be suspended for people suspected of "activities hostile to the security" of a warring state or an occupying power.

In testimony last week on Capitol Hill, Col. Marc Warren, a top American military lawyer in Iraq, defended harsh techniques available to American interrogators there as not being in violation of the Geneva Conventions. He said the conventions should be read in light of "various legal treatises and interpretations of coercion as applied to security internees."

Exactly how the treatment of security prisoners would differ from others under the military's approach was not spelled out in detail, but clearly it would allow their segregation into a separate part of the prison for interrogation, where some of them could be held incommunicado.

The military's letter promised to try to improve prisoners' treatment in some respects cited by the Red Cross, promising, for example, to provide shelters against mortar and rocket attacks "in due course" but noting that the shelters are in short supply for American and allied soldiers. It also said "improvement can be made" to provide adequate clothing and water, and promised speedier judgments and discharges of innocent prisoners.

The letter is addressed to Eva Svoboda of the Red Cross committee, who is identified as the agency's "protection coordinator."

It asserts that the prisoners at Camp Cropper "have been assessed to be of significant ongoing intelligence value to current and future military operations in Iraq."

"Their detention condition is in the context of ongoing strategic interrogation," it said, and "under the circumstances, we consider their detention to be humane."

The Red Cross report said that at the time of the October visits to Abu Ghraib, "a total of 601 detainees were held as security detainees."

"Many were unaware of any charges against them or what legal process might be ahead of them," the undated report said.

Professor Silliman, a former Air Force lawyer who heads the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke, said the response of authorities at Abu Ghraib to the Red Cross appeared to be part of a larger pattern in which the administration and the military devote great energy to find ways to avoid the jurisdiction of the Geneva Conventions.

"If you look at this in connection with other things that are coming out, it doesn't seem like a snap decision but part of an across-the-board pattern of decision-making to create another category outside the conventions."

He cited a memorandum written in January 2002 by Albert R. Gonzales, the White House counsel, recommending that President Bush decree that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to prisoners from the war in Afghanistan. In the memorandum, Mr. Gonzales said that getting out from under the restrictions of the Geneva Conventions would preserve the government's flexibility in fighting terrorism.

New York Times
May 22, 2004
Only a Few Spoke Up on Abuse as Many Soldiers Stayed Silent
By Kate Zernike

"I knew I had to do something. I didn't want to see any more prisoners being abused because I knew it was wrong." — SPECIALIST JOSEPH M. DARBY, whose report triggered the investigation into prisoner mistreatment at Abu Ghraib.

Specialist Joseph M. Darby had just arrived at Abu Ghraib in October when his friend Specialist Charles A. Graner Jr. showed him a picture on his digital camera of a naked prisoner chained to his cell with his arms hung above him.

"The Christian in me says it's wrong," Specialist Darby would later tell investigators Specialist Graner had said. Specialist Darby said Specialist Graner then said that as a corrections officer he enjoyed it.

Specialist Darby came forward two months later, he told investigators, after deciding that the photo and others he saw were "morally wrong."

He said in his sworn testimony: "I knew I had to do something. I didn't want to see any more prisoners being abused because I knew it was wrong."

Specialist Darby's report would initiate the investigation into mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other military facilities in Iraq and raise questions about whether the misconduct was authorized by military officials.

In alerting criminal investigators, Specialist Darby, a 24-year-old from from Maryland, stood out from other soldiers who learned of the abuse. According to documents obtained by The New York Times, many other people, including medics, dog handlers and military intelligence soldiers — and even the warden of the site where the abuses occurred — saw or heard of similar pictures of abuse, witnessed it or heard abuse discussed openly at Abu Ghraib months before the investigation started in January.

Mistreatment was not only widely known but also apparently tolerated, so much so that a picture of naked detainees forced into a human pyramid was used as a screen saver on a computer in the interrogations room. Other soldiers easily stumbled onto photographs of naked detainees left on computers in the Internet cafe at the prison. Some soldiers saw detainees being left naked for days, screamed at, threatened with dogs and beaten with furniture. A few tried to report abuse or stop it, but nothing came of their efforts.

"I saw prisoners being handcuffed to each other naked, having two inmates walking in the isolation section of the cells naked and handcuffed to each other," said Specialist Roman Krol, a reservist with the 325th Military Intelligence Battalion. "One of the M.P.'s took a Nerf football and threw it at the detainees, and another M.P. threw water at the detainees. I had never seen anything like that before."

Specialist Darby left a disc with the photographs and a letter describing its contents anonymously, then came forward a day later. When asked why he wanted to be anonymous, he said, "I was worried about retaliation from other people in my company if they found out."

The seven soldiers charged in the investigation are all from his unit, the 372nd Military Police Company based in Cresaptown, Md.

Much of the evidence of abuse at the prison came from medical documents. Records and statements show doctors and medics reporting to the area of the prison where the abuse occurred several times to stitch wounds, tend to collapsed prisoners or see patients with bruised or reddened genitals.

Two doctors recognized that a detainee's shoulder was hurt because he had his arms handcuffed over his head for what they said was "a long period." They gave him an injection of painkiller, and sent him to an outside hospital for what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder, but did not report any suspicions of abuse. One medic, Staff Sgt. Reuben Layton, told investigators that he had found the detainee handcuffed in the same position on three occasions, despite instructing Specialist Graner to free the man.

"I feel I did the right thing when I told Graner to get the detainee uncuffed from the bed," Sergeant Layton told investigators.

Sergeant Layton also said he saw Specialist Graner hitting a metal baton against the leg wounds of a detainee who had been shot. He did not report that incident.

Sgt. Neil Wallin, another medic, recorded on Nov. 14: "Patient has blood down front of clothes and sandbag over head," noting three wounds requiring 13 stitches, above his eye, on his nose and on his chin.

Sergeant Wallin later told investigators that when he got to the prison: "I observed blood on the wall near a metal weld, which I believed to be the place where the detainee received his injury. I do not know how he was injured or if it was done by himself or another."

He also told investigators that he had seen male detainees forced to wear women's underwear and that he had seen a video in which a prisoner known to smear himself with his own feces repeatedly banged his head against the wall, "very hard."

Helga Margot Aldape-Moreno, a nurse, told investigators that in September she reported to the cell to tend to a prisoner having a panic attack, and that, opening the door, she saw naked Iraqis in a human pyramid, with sandbags over their heads. Military police officers were yelling at the detainees, she said.

Ms. Aldape-Moreno tended to the prisoner, she said, then left the room and did not report what she saw until the investigation began in January.

In the first week of November, Specialist Matthew Wisdom told investigators later, he saw detainees being thrown into a pile, and Specialist Graner and Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick II punching several of them. Specialist Wisdom said he reported what he saw to his team leader. The team leader said he would talk to Sergeant Frederick — who has since been charged with abuse and described as a ringleader of the mistreatment. Specialist Wisdom said he asked not to work in that site anymore.

The names of Specialist Graner, who was also charged in the abuse, and Sergeant Frederick are woven through the statements from witnesses and detainees. Witnesses told investigators it was widely known that Specialist Graner had explicit photographs and videos on his computer.

Sergeant Layton told investigators that Specialist Graner borrowed his computer to download photographs. When Sergeant Layton discovered that the photographs were sexually explicit, he told investigators, he told Specialist Graner he could not use the computer.

Cpl. Matthew Bolinger told investigators of Specialist Graner's pulling a disc from beneath his mattress, revealing on it a video of his having sex with an unidentified woman.

Specialist Hannah Schlegel reported that another soldier went to her in November, upset, because he had seen two prisoners naked and tied together and forced to crawl like dogs on leashes. Specialist Schlegel reported the concerns to a sergeant, who said he would report the accusations to the officer in charge. The report apparently went nowhere, perhaps, an investigator said later, because the officer in charge was Sergeant Frederick.

Adel Nakhla, a translator for the Titan Corporation, saw detainees being held naked for days and, later, naked detainees forced to crawl and lie on top of one another.

"Why did you not report what you felt was abuse toward the prisoners?" an investigator asked Mr. Nakhla in January, after Specialist Darby had handed over the discs with photographs.

"I have seen soldiers get in trouble for reporting abuse," Mr. Nakhla replied, "and I was scared. I didn't want to lose my job."

Even Specialist Sabrina Harman, one of the women now accused, recognized the abuse as something that should be reported to higher-ups, but did not do so. When she went home on leave to Virginia in November, Specialist Harman took home a disc with photographs of prisoners in sexual positions and gave it to her roommate, saying she wanted to present it to higher-ups when she returned permanently.

The roommate told investigators that Specialist Harman "could not report anything while there because her superiors were aware of the actions taking place against the prisoners."

In statements to investigators, many witnesses expressed regret that they had not come forward. "I even apologized to the detainees after this was done," Mr. Nakhla said. "I told them I thought what had happened was very degrading."

The Denver Post
Friday, May 21, 2004

Skipped autopsies in Iraq revealed
By Miles Moffeit, Denver Post Staff Writer

Autopsies were not performed on at least five Iraqi prisoners who died of mysterious causes at Abu Ghraib prison and other detention camps, according to Pentagon records.

And the lack of forensic investigations may conflict with international standards, including the Geneva Conventions, for the handling of war-detainee deaths.

Among the cases is a prisoner who died, the records show, after "gasping for air." Another detainee who had "prior head injuries" fell out of a hospital bed and struck his head on the floor. One prisoner began having "chest pains and collapsed."

Synopses of the death investigations, which do not disclose whether the prisoners were interrogated, are enclosed in documents obtained by The Denver Post from a high-level Pentagon source this week.

The deaths, all characterized as having "undetermined" causes, raise more serious questions about the treatment of detainees in the custody of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib and other combat-zone facilities, say U.S. lawmakers and human-rights organizations.

A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the cases.

The Post reported Wednesday that harsh interrogation techniques by U.S. soldiers are being investigated in the deaths of five other prisoners.

Autopsies were done on those deaths; three of the prisoners died after being suffocated, the autopsies show.

Stuff Happens

Richard Goldstein, Village Voice
May 7, 2004

There Donald Rumsfeld was, fielding unfriendly fire on Tuesday over the military's torture of Iraqi prisoners. This time, his usual pose of barely concealed contempt seemed more like scarcely repressed rage. Every muscle in his body was tensed, and his shoulders looked like wire hangers were holding them up. It was Rummy's Strangelove-ian attempt to keep from shrugging.

Hey, the voice within him longed to say, those fuckers are lucky to have their fingernails. But Rummy is a master of extenuation. When Baghdad was looted while the U.S. army stood by, he uttered his most famous euphemism: "Stuff happens." Now he was saying something even more elliptical: Torture? Don't call it that.

The military report that describes forced masturbation and anal rape, threats of electrocution, and terror inflicted even unto death? Rummy hasn't finished reading it yet. The failure to inform Congress? He cited a memo issued last January that was as oblique as the fog of war itself. The probe of similar conduct at some 20 U.S.-run detention centers in Iraq and Afghanistan? The guilty will be punished, Rummy vowed -- but surely not the intelligence officers who devised this "softening-up" process or the two private companies contracted to perform interrogations (because they are exempt from military law). Or the secretary of defense.

Two immigrants held in New York after 9/11 have filed a suit charging guards -- supervised by intelligence officers -- with subjecting them to casual violence and repeated body-cavity searches. (As in Iraq, large objects were allegedly inserted in the rectum.) But don't call it torture; why, that would be against U.S. law. The events at Abu Ghraib prison are an aberration, Rummy insisted, even though there are dark accusations of prisoner abuse by our British allies. For that matter, many of the 3,000 men detained since 9-11 were shipped to countries whose governments are known to practice interrogation methods anyone but Rummy would consider a bit much.

What if the military had stuck to the "rule book" of prolonged sleep deprivation, protracted isolation in a small space, and a severely limited diet that John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, says he was subjected to? What if we contented ourselves with variations on the old rubber hose? These techniques are so acceptable that you can see them in many cop movies, even though they're against the law. The truth is that most Americans are willing to tolerate such acts, and far worse, in the name of safety -- especially today. We just don't want to have the evidence shoved in our faces. And we sure don't want to see pictures of our heroic troops acting like pervs.

Or do we?

One reason why these photos are such a sensation is that they are stimulating. Especially the image of that woman grinning over a pyramid of naked men. She's the Phallic Female, watching guys parade around naked and jerk off before her. This really gets the kitten-with-a-whip crowd drooling. And when it comes to sadistic pleasure, there's nothing like forcing a man to give a simulated blowjob or take a peg-leg-sized anal probe. Shit, you won't even see that on Oz.

But that's the great perk of war. You can unleash the darkest reaches of your libido. Murdering, mutilating, and raping are all part of the adrenaline rush -- and nothing feels better than that forbidden thrill in the name of God and country.

The most distressing thing in those photos from Abu Ghraib was also the least remarked upon. That soldier standing over his prostrate prisoners, holding his thumb up, was wearing surgical gloves. Was he afraid of being contaminated by his victims' blood, feces, semen -- or just their humanity? We'll never know. But it's an astonishing symbol of what America is becoming: a nation where suffering is tolerable -- even pleasurable -- as long as the shit doesn't get on our hands.

New York Times
May 22, 2004
Dogs and Other Harsh Tactics Linked to Military Intelligence

WASHINGTON, May 21 — The use of dogs to intimidate prisoners during interrogation at Abu Ghraib in Iraq was approved by military intelligence officers at the prison, and was one of several aggressive tactics they adopted even without approval from senior military commanders, according to interviews gathered by Army investigators.

Intelligence officers also demanded strict limits on Red Cross access to prisoners as early as last October, delaying for a day what the military had previously described as an unannounced visit to the cellblock where the worst abuses occurred, according to a document from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The role of intelligence officers in the abuse scandal is still under investigation, and the newly disclosed documents provide further details of their involvement in abuses that so far have resulted in formal charges against the prison guards, but not the interrogators.

Other Army documents first obtained by The Denver Post provided new evidence that harsh treatment extended beyond Abu Ghraib to more American-run detention centers in Iraq, revealing details about three previously unreported incidents in which Iraqi prisoners died after questioning by American interrogators.

At the Pentagon on Friday, the Army revised an earlier estimate to say that it is now actively investigating the deaths of nine prisoners in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002, and that eight had already been determined by medical examiners to be possible homicides, involving acts committed before or during an interrogation.

In previous statements, it was not clear that so many prisoners died in interrogation, rather than being shot during riots or escape attempts. At Abu Ghraib, military intelligence units were responsible for interrogations, and military police units for guarding the prisoners and preparing them for interrogation.

The documents assembled by Army investigators starting in January and obtained by The New York Times cite accounts by American dog handlers who say the use of military working dogs in interrogations at Abu Ghraib was approved by Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the commander of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade. Previously, Pentagon and Army officials have said that only the top American commander, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, could have approved the use of the animals for interrogations. A "memorandum for the record" issued on Oct. 9 by the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center at the prison listed as permissible a number of interrogation procedures that Army officials have said were allowed only with approval from General Sanchez. Among other things, the memorandum said the use of dogs in interrogations and the confining of prisoners to isolation cells was permitted in some cases without a prior approval from General Sanchez.

In a November report to military commanders in Iraq that was included in the documents, the Red Cross complained that its inspectors had faced restrictions "at the behest of Military Intelligence," including a one-day delay in interviewing prisoners, who were to be seen for only a short time, and asked only about their names and their health.

In the four-page report, which has not previously been made public, the Red Cross said it had nonetheless found naked prisoners covering themselves with packages from ready-to-eat military rations, and subjected to "deliberate physical violence and verbal abuse." Prisoners were found to be incoherent, anxious and even suicidal, with abnormal symptoms "provoked by the interrogation period and methods."

The document said the prison authorities "could not explain" the lack of clothing for prisoners and "could not provide clarification" about other mistreatment of prisoners.

On Capitol Hill, some Senate Republicans and Democrats expressed concern that the Pentagon withheld important supporting documents when it sent Congress copies of the 6,000-page investigative report by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba.

But a spokesman for Senator John W. Warner, a Virginia Republican who heads the Armed Services Committee, said the Army was working to fill any gaps in materials. "There does not appear to be a problem in producing materials that are germane to the facts of the inquiry," said the spokesman, John Ullyot.

The documents show that military intelligence officers at the prison and civilian contractors under their control adopted harsher tactics than previously known, and enlisted the military police in some of their interrogation methods. In many details, the documents elaborate on what has already been known since the photos of the abuses first became public last month.

To date, only seven enlisted soldiers from a military police company have been charged with crimes in connection with the abuses at Abu Ghraib, all in a single cellblock, known as Tier 1. But most have argued that they were acting with the knowledge or encouragement of the military intelligence officers who oversaw the interrogations and exerted authority over the cellblock.

A new time line provided by an Army spokesman also showed that the involvement of military intelligence personnel in abuses at Abu Ghraib began in October 2003. The first reported episode involved soldiers assigned to the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center, months before the major criminal investigation initiated in January into misconduct at the prison, which focused on the involvement by the military police.

Three enlisted soldiers from the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion were fined and demoted in the incident, whose broad outlines have been reported previously. The spokesman, Lt. Col. Billy Buckner, declined to identify the soldiers involved or the details of the incident, citing privacy concerns.

The documents obtained by The Times included transcripts of sworn statements from military intelligence, the military police, civilian contractors and others who were interviewed by Army investigators last January as they began to look into allegations of abuse.

The statements include several accounts from officers, including Capt. Donald J. Reese of the 372nd Military Police Company, who acknowledged having seen Iraqi prisoners stripped naked while in American detention. Captain Reese, among others, said they had been told that nudity was part of "an interrogation procedure used by M.I." or military intelligence.

One intelligence officer, Specialist Luciana Spencer, said interrogations had been staged "in the showers, stairwell or property room" of the cellblock, as well as in two interrogation centers that were formally in control of the Joint Information and Debriefing Center. The officer in charge was Capt. Carolyn A. Wood of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, who other Army officers have said brought to Iraq the aggressive procedures the unit had developed during her previous service in Afghanistan, from July 2002 to January 2003. She served in Afghanistan as the operations officer in charge of the Bagram Collection Point.

Steven A. Stefanowicz, a civilian interrogator who worked under contract to the intelligence unit, described an interrogation tool that he called a "Sleep Meal Management Program," in which prisoners were allowed no more than four hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, in a regime that usually lasted 72 hours. Mr. Stefanowicz said in a statement that military police were "allowed to do what is necessary," within certain limits, to keep prisoners awake during that period.

At least two noncommissioned officers, Sgts. Michael J. Smith and Santos A. Cardona, said they had used unmuzzled military dogs to intimidate prisoners under interrogation. They said they were acting under instructions from Colonel Pappas, the commander of the intelligence brigade.

Both sergeants said Colonel Pappas had assured them that the use of dogs in interrogation was permitted and did not require written authorization or approval from senior officers. The memorandum for the record issued by the interrogation center on Oct. 9 also listed the "presence of working dogs" as "approved" on the basis of authorization from the interrogation officer in charge.

Colonel Pappas has declined requests for interviews, but other Army officials have said the use of dogs in interrogations could have been approved only by General Sanchez, as outlined in a policy he issued on Oct. 10. An unclassified Dec. 12 situation update sent by Colonel Pappas's unit describes interrogation techniques permitted for use in Iraq, including "sleep management, sensory deprivation, isolation longer than 30 days, dogs," as among the "harsh approaches" that could be introduced only with prior approval from General Sanchez.

Some new details involving deaths of Iraqi prisoners that are being investigated as possible homicides were first reported in Wednesday's editions of The Denver Post, and several of them involved Special Operations Forces. The details of the incidents were confirmed Friday by Pentagon officials, who said the deaths were among the nine now being investigated by the Army.

Among the previously unknown incidents was the death in January 2004 of an Iraqi prisoner at a forward operating base in Asad, Iraq, where a detainee had resisted questioning by Special Forces soldiers from Operational Detachment Delta. The prisoner died after he was gagged and his hands were tied to the top of his cell door, in an incident being reviewed for "consideration of misconduct," the Army documents said.

In a second incident in June 2003, at a "classified interrogation facility" in Baghdad, an Iraqi prisoner was found dead after being restrained in a chair for questioning, and after being subjected to physical and psychological stress, the Army documents show. The Denver Post said an autopsy had determined that he died of a "hard, fast blow" to the head; and that while an investigation was continuing, no disciplinary action has been taken.

A third incident, whose broad outlines had been previously known, involved the death in custody of a high-ranking general, Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, who died in November at a detention facility run by the Third Armored Cavalry, a unit based in Fort Carson, Colo. A Nov. 27 announcement by the American military command in Baghdad described General Mowhoush as having died "of natural causes."

In fact, according to the Army documents cited by The Denver Post, General Mowhoush died after being shoved head-first into a sleeping bag, and questioned while being rolled repeatedly from his back to his stomach. Then, according to the documents, an interrogator sat on the general's chest and placed his hands over his mouth.

The documents say the "preliminary report lists the cause of death as asphyxia due to smothering and chest compressions." American intelligence officials have said General Mowhoush died several days after C.I.A. officers handed over custody of him to the military, but they say the agency's inspector general is examining possible wrongdoing involving C.I.A. personnel.

Altogether, a senior military official said at a Pentagon briefing on Friday afternoon, 37 prisoners have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since August 2002, all but five in Iraq.

Of these, 15 prisoner deaths have been determined by the Army to be cases of death by natural or undetermined causes, and 8 as justifiable homicides. Two have been determined to be homicides inside American detention centers.

Three others, including one homicide, took place outside American prisons, the senior military officer said. The officer described the remaining nine as being under active investigation. Of them, the Army official said, two were at Abu Ghraib, including the death of a prisoner there in an incident that the C.I.A. has said involved agency personnel.

The Pentagon also released copies of 23 death certificates of prisoners who died while in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department announced Friday that it was opening a criminal investigation into a civilian contractor in Iraq. The action represents the first time that the Justice Department has formally begun a criminal investigation in the prisoner abuse scandal, although it has been reviewing its jurisdiction in three death cases involving the C.I.A., including one in Afghanistan.

Justice Department officials said they had received a criminal referral from the Pentagon on Thursday, but would not identify the civilian contractor who is under investigation. An internal Army report in March identified two contractors at Abu Ghaib who were suspected of abuses, but it is not clear whether either one of them is the subject of the criminal investigation.

The Justice Department has asserted its jurisdiction over the conduct of civilians working for the military under an as yet untested federal statute, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which allows contractors and other nonmilitary personnel working for the armed forces to be charged with crimes in civilian courts.

New York Times
May 9, 2004
Frank Rich

The War's Lost Weekend

Just when you've persuaded yourself yet again that this isn't Vietnam, you are hit by another acid flashback. Last weekend that flashback was to 1969. It was in June 1969 that Life magazine ran its cover story "The Faces of the American Dead in Vietnam: One Week's Toll," the acknowledged prototype for Ted Koppel's photographic roll-call of the American dead in Iraq on "Nightline." It was in November 1969 that a little-known reporter, Seymour Hersh, broke the story of the 1968 massacre at My Lai, the horrific scoop that has now found its match 35 years later in Mr. Hersh's New Yorker revelation of a 53-page Army report detailing "numerous instances of `sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses' at Abu Ghraib." No doubt some future edition of the Pentagon Papers will explain just why we restored Saddam Hussein's hellhole to its original use, torture rooms included, even as we allowed Baghdad's National Library, a repository of Mesopotamia's glorious pre-Baath history, to be looted and burned.

The Vietnam parallels are, as always, not quite exact. We didn't "withdraw" for another four years after 1969 and didn't flee Saigon for another two years after that. We're on a faster track this time. News travels at a higher velocity now than it did then and saturates the culture more completely; the stray, silent images from the TV set at the gym or the p.c. on someone else's desk lodge in our brains even when we are trying to tune them out. Last weekend, the first anniversary of the end of the war's "major combat operations," was a Perfect Storm of such inescapable images. The dense 48-hour cloud of bad news marked the beginning of the real, involuntary end of America's major combat operations in Iraq, come hell or June 30.

The first sign was the uproar over "Nightline" from the war's cheerleaders. You have to wonder: if this country is so firm in its support of this war, by what logic would photographs of its selfless soldiers, either their faces or their flag-draped coffins, undermine public opinion? The practical effect of all the clamor was only to increase hunger for "Nightline" — its ratings went up as much as 30 percent — and ensure that the fallen's faces would be seen on many more channels as well. Those faces then bled into the pictures from Abu Ghraib, which, after their original display on "60 Minutes II," metastasized by the hour on other networks and Web sites: graphic intimations of rape, with Americans cast as the rapists and Iraqis as the victims, that needed no commentary to be understood in any culture. (The word "reprimand" — the punishment we first doled out for these crimes — may lose something in translation to the Arabic, however.)

Then there were the pictures of marines retreating from Fallujah and of that city's citizens dancing in the streets to celebrate their victory over the American liberators they were supposed to be welcoming with flowers. And perhaps most bizarre of all, there was the image that negated the war's one unambiguous accomplishment, the toppling of Saddam. Now, less than 13 months after that victory, we could see a man in Republican Guard gear take command in Fallujah. He could have been one of those Saddam doubles we kept hearing about before "Shock and Awe." But instead of toppling this Saddam stand-in we were resurrecting him and returning him to power.

Through a cruel accident of timing, each of these images was in turn cross-cut with a retread of a golden oldie: President Bush standing under the "Mission Accomplished" banner of a year ago. "I wish the banner was not up there," Karl Rove had told a newspaper editorial board in the swing state of Ohio in mid-April. Not "I wish that we had planned for the dangers of post-Saddam Iraq before recklessly throwing underprepared and underprotected Americans into harm's way." No, Mr. Rove has his eye on what's most important: better political image management through better set design. In prewar America, presidential backdrops reading "Strengthening Medicare" and "Strengthening Our Economy" had worked just fine. If only that one on the U.S.S. Lincoln had said "Strengthening Iraq," everything would be hunky-dory now.

Not having any positive pictures of its own to counter last weekend's ugly ones, the administration tried gamely to alter the images' meaning through words instead. Little could be done to neutralize the mortal calculus of "Nightline" — though Paul Wolfowitz trivialized the whole idea of a casualty count by publicly underestimating the actual death toll by some 200. But back in Iraq, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt went for broke. "This is not a withdrawal, it's not a retreat," he said, even as news video showed an American tank literally going in reverse while pulling away from Fallujah. To counter the image of the Saddam clone, the Pentagon initially told reporters that he was not a member of the Republican Guard, even as we saw him strutting about in the familiar olive-green uniform and beret. (Later the truth emerged, and the Saddam clone in question, Jasim Muhammad Saleh, was yanked off-camera.)

As for Abu Ghraib, a State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, said "I'm not too concerned" about the fallout of these snapshots on American credibility in the Arab world. Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, took to three Sunday morning talk shows to say that only "a handful" of Americans had engaged in such heinous activities — even though that low estimate was contradicted by the two-month-old internal Army report uncovered by Mr. Hersh and available to everyone in the world, it seemed, except the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and his civilian counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld.

The general blamed the public's grim interpretation of the news from Iraq on "inaccurate reporting" that he found nearly everywhere, from CNN to "the morning papers." He and the administration no doubt prefer the hard-hitting journalism over at Fox. "I end up spending a lot of time watching Fox News," Dick Cheney explained last month, "because they're more accurate in my experience, in those events that I'm personally involved in, than many of the other outlets."

It was instructive, then, to see how Fox covered the images of last weekend — in part by disparaging the idea of showing them at all. Fox's (if not America's) most self-infatuated newsman, the host of "The O'Reilly Factor," worried on air that "Nightline" might undermine morale if it tried to "exploit casualties in a time of war." He somehow forgot that just five nights earlier he had used his own show to exploit a casualty, the N.F.L. player Pat Tillman — a segment, Mr. O'Reilly confided with delight, "very highly rated by billoreilly.com premium members." (Lesson to families who lose sons and daughters in Iraq: if you want them to be exploited on "The Factor," let alone applauded by Web site "premium members" who pay its host $49.95 a year, be sure they become celebrities before they enlist.)

Soon Mr. O'Reilly was announcing that he was "not going to use the pictures" of Abu Ghraib either and suggested that "60 Minutes II" should have followed his example. Lest anyone be tempted to take a peek by switching channels, a former Army interrogation instructor, Tony Robinson, showed up on another Fox show, "Hannity & Colmes," to assert that the prison photos did not show torture. "Frat hazing is worse than this," the self-styled expert said.

Perhaps no one exemplified the principles of Cheney-favored journalism more eloquently than the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the large station owner (and Republican contributor) that refused to broadcast "Nightline" on its ABC outlets. A spokesman, Mark Hyman, explained: "Someone who died 13 months ago — why is that news?" Been there, done that, I guess.

The administration has been coddled by this kind of coverage since 9/11, until fairly recently, and it didn't all come from Fox and Sinclair. Last Sunday, Michael Getler, the ombudsman at The Washington Post, wrote that "almost everything we were told before the war, other than that Saddam Hussein is bad, has turned out, so far, not to be the case: the weapons of mass destruction, the imagery of nuclear mushroom clouds, the links between al Qaeda and Hussein, the welcome, the resistance, the costs, the numbers of troops needed." He was arguing that, as good as much of the war reportage has been, "it is prewar coverage that counts the most."

If that coverage had been sharper, and more skeptical of administration propaganda, more of the fictions that sent us to war would have been punctured before we signed on. Perhaps a majority of the country would not have been conned into accepting as fact (as it still does, according to an April poll) that Iraq still had weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam was in league with al Qaeda. As fate would have it, last weekend was also when C-Span broadcast live coverage of the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, many of whose attendees were responsible for the journalistic shortfall described by Mr. Getler. The revelers joined the president in pausing to mourn Michael Kelly and David Bloom, two of the 25 journalists killed so far in the line of duty in Iraq. Then it was back to Washington at its merriest, as the assembled journalists could return to drooling over such fading or faded stars as Ben Affleck, Morgan Fairchild and Wayne Newton.

That was an image, too — as ludicrous in its way as those second-rung Playboy bunnies turning up in "Apocalypse Now" — but not as powerful as those from the front lines. Mr. Koppel's salute to the fallen was heartbreaking, no matter what you think about the war; one young soldier could be seen cradling his infant child, others were still wearing the cap and gown of high school and college graduations. The Abu Ghraib images shocked us into remembering that real obscenity is distinct from the revelation of Janet Jackson's right breast, the cynical obsession of some of the Washington politicians also seen partying at the correspondents' dinner.

As we know from "Mission Accomplished" and Colin Powell's aerial reconnaissance shots displayed as evidence to the United Nations, pictures can be made to lie — easily. But over time credible pictures, because they have a true story to tell, can trump the phonies. Try as politicians might to alter their meaning with spin, eventually there comes a point when the old Marx Brothers gag comes into play: "Who are you going to believe — me or your own eyes?" Last weekend was a time when many, if not most, of us had little choice but to believe our own eyes.  

Red Cross Was Told Iraq Abuse "Part of the Process"

May 10, 2004 By Peter Graff

LONDON (Reuters) - The Red Cross saw U.S. troops keeping Iraqi prisoners naked for days in darkness at the Abu Ghraib jail last October and was told by an intelligence officer in charge it was "part of the process," a report leaked on Monday said.

The 24-page report added to the pressure on U.S. officials by revealing that commanders were alerted to apparent abuses at Abu Ghraib months before they opened a criminal investigation.

The Red Cross, which has special access to war zone prisons under international treaties, said mistreatment of prisoners "went beyond exceptional cases and might be considered as a practice tolerated by the CF (Coalition Forces)."

Abuse was "in some cases tantamount to torture."

Although most of the Red Cross's observations concerned U.S. forces, it also piled pressure on Washington's closest ally, describing British troops forcing Iraqi detainees to kneel and stomping on their necks in an incident in which one died.

The International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva confirmed that the confidential February 4 report, initially leaked on the Web site of The Wall Street Journal, was genuine.

During a visit to Abu Ghraib in October, Red Cross delegates witnessed "the practice of keeping persons deprived of their liberty completely naked in totally empty concrete cells and in total darkness," the report said.

"Upon witnessing such cases, the ICRC interrupted its visits and requested an explanation from the authorities. The military intelligence officer in charge of the interrogation explained that this practice was 'part of the process'."

Delegates met prisoners who were being held naked in complete darkness. Others were forced to wear women's underwear.


The Red Cross's visit took place two months before pictures were taken of U.S. troops abusing prisoners, which later led to criminal charges against seven soldiers. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has said he was unaware of abuse until the investigation into the pictures was launched in January.

Those pictures appeared in the media last month, causing international outrage and prompting apologies by President Bush and other senior officials. However, Washington has said it believed the practices were isolated incidents of aberrant behavior by individuals and not usual practice.

Although much of the abuse described in the report appears to have taken place in jails run by U.S. forces, the report also describes the death of an Iraqi prisoner in custody in the British zone of Basra last September.

The victim's name is blacked out, but Britain's defense ministry said it referred to detainee Baha Musa, whose death Britain says it has been investigating since last year.

The Red Cross report described him as one of nine men arrested in a Basra hotel and "made to kneel, face and hands against the ground, as if in a prayer position. The soldiers stamped on the back of the neck of those raising their head."

His death certificate said he died of a heart attack, although witnesses saw a body with a broken nose and ribs.

The Red Cross said it had repeatedly brought allegations of mistreatment to the attention of the authorities. In some cases, they changed practices. For example, they stopped issuing wristbands marked "terrorist" to all foreign detainees.

The report says prison guards often opened fire with live ammunition on detainees who "were unarmed and did not appear to pose any serious threat to anyone's life."

Among "serious violations of international humanitarian law" the report listed a failure to set up a system to notify family members of arrests, resulting "in the de facto 'disappearance' of the arrestee for weeks or months."

"The uncaring behavior of the CF (Coalition Forces) and their inability to quickly provide accurate information on persons deprived of their liberty for the families concerned also seriously affects the image of the Occupying Powers among the Iraqi population," it said.


One Soldier's Unlikely Act
Family Fears for Man Who Reported Iraqi Prisoner Abuse

By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 6, 2004; Page A16

WINDBER, Pa. -- When reports this week named Spec. Joseph M. Darby as the soldier who sounded the alarm on abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad, his family was both proud and anxious.

"The news has been using the word 'whistleblower,' which to me sounds like a bad thing," said Maxine Carroll, Darby's sister-in-law and the family's spokeswoman. "I'm sure he wrestled with himself and decided to take the high road.

"We're hoping they put him somewhere safe."

According to a report in this week's New Yorker, Darby, a reservist in the 372nd Military Police Company, placed an anonymous note under the door of a superior, describing incidents of sexual and physical abuse of Iraqi detainees by some members of the unit that, documented by hundreds of explicit photographs, have shocked the world. He later came forward with a sworn statement.

As the families and friends of the Cumberland, Md.-based unit struggle to fathom the evidence, those who knew Darby before he enlisted wondered why he, more hothead than hero, came forward.

When news of his deed filtered through southwest Pennsylvania's mountain hollows to his high school home of Jenners, "I thought, 'That don't sound like Joe,' " said Doug Ashbrook, Darby's friend during their days at North Star High School in nearby Boswell. Then he remembered Darby in the high school bathroom, punching out paper towel dispensers.

"When he got mad at somebody, he wouldn't hit out at them -- he'd go bust something up," said Ashbrook, 24. "He had this temper, and that might have been the thing."

"Like the rest of us might, I thought maybe he'd just turn and forget about" the prisoner abuse, Ashbrook said. "Maybe I'd do the same. You just never know."

Darby's family moved a lot, but never far. In the mid-1990s, the family settled into a cream-colored clapboard duplex in Jenners, a tiny coal town in a region of rolling hills, exhausted strip mines and long-gone factory jobs. They had even less money than most; Darby lived with his stepfather, Dale, a disabled former truck driver, and mother, Margaret, who stayed home with his toddler brother, Montana. After school he worked the night shift at Wendy's to help out.

Gilbert Reffner, who lives across the street, remembers slipping a Christmas card with a few dollars inside under the door one year. He recalled the gesture when told about reports that Darby had slipped a missive of his own under the door of a superior in Baghdad. It was Darby's upbringing, Reffner said, that inspired the act.

"He didn't fit in with the whole crowd because he didn't have a lot of material things, fancy clothes or a car," said Reffner, 50. Darby's stepfather, who died several years ago, was a former Marine, neighbors say, who taught old-school manners to his son. He was "respectful, brought up the proper way," Reffner said.

Most evenings, Darby would cut through Reffner's back yard to visit Christina Vaillancourt, whose family lived on Short Street. The pair attended North Star High: Darby, a full-faced sophomore with shaggy, bowl-cut brown hair, beams out from the pages of the 1995 Polaris, the school's yearbook. He was a tackle for the North Star Cougars and was active in the Future Farmers of America chapter at Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School, which he attended part-time.

When they first met, "he was very sweet and kind of shy," Vaillancourt said. She recalled a benefit dance Darby organized to raise money for the family of a friend whose father died of a heart attack.

She got acquainted with Darby's temper one afternoon on the school bus, when a fellow student insulted him. "He just started pounding on the guy," she said.

By their senior year, the two grew apart, and Darby began dating other girls, she said. But he remained in touch, even after he married Bernadette Mains, a fellow student.

One evening, Darby called his former girlfriend to say he was headed to Iraq. "He was nervous about going to Iraq," recalled Vaillancourt, who has since married and lives in Maine. "He was homesick and afraid for his life.

"I'm proud of him for what he did."

Ashbrook and Darby often fished for catfish or hunted mushrooms in the woods around Jenners. Darby introduced his friend to Vaillancourt's sister, Monica, whom Ashbrook plans to marry next year.

"Joe was ornery like the rest of us," Ashbrook said, only more so. Occasionally, he recalled, something -- a slight, a school problem, another disappointment -- would anger Darby, who "broke so many of those towel dispensers I think he paid for one once a month," he said.

About the time Darby joined the service, his family moved out of Jenners. He has not contacted them since news of the abuse broke, Carroll said.

Darby's wife, Bernadette, has stopped talking to the media, except to relay a statement that she's proud of her husband. Carroll said the family hopes Darby's good deed will earn him a speedy return. They're also afraid, she said, of a backlash from families whose relatives, also in the 372nd, are accused of the abuse. "We're not passing judgment on the people who did this," she said.

Late Tuesday night, Jennifer Pettitt, Christina Vaillancourt's mother, swept the floor during her shift at Dunkin' Donuts in Somerset. She grew close to Darby while he dated her daughter and was the last person in Jenners to hear from him.

One evening last spring, he called her from Iraq, just wanting to talk. Could he have wanted to share what he'd been seeing or ask advice? Pettitt doesn't know -- it seemed odd to be talking to her daughter's former boyfriend, so she cut the conversation short.

"He sounded lonesome," she said. Now she worries that he's more lonesome than ever.

Staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.

New York Daily News

Rumsfeld: "Sorry, but there's more..."
By Richard Sisk
Saturday, May 8th, 2004

WASHINGTON - The Iraqi torture scandal is going to get even worse, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld grimly warned Congress yesterday.

"Be on notice," Rumsfeld told the Senate and House Armed Services committees. "There are a lot more photographs and videos that exist."

He said the still secret pictures graphically depicted abuses by Americans that were "blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman."

"It's going to get still more terrible, I'm afraid," he said during a marathon session before Congress.

"If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse," Rumsfeld said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters, "The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience."

Congressional sources said some of the allegations of abuse involved acts against young boys, and Graham said "the worst is yet to come."

Acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee also told of "42 other potential cases" of abuse against civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan that occurred "outside detention facilities."

The famously combative Rumsfeld was contrite during much of his testimony and conceded the scandal could cost him his job.

When Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) asked him whether it might "help to undo some of the damage to our reputation if you were to step down?" Rumsfeld replied, "That's possible."

But he stressed that calls for his resignation from Democrats and petition drives on Democratic Web sites would not influence his decision.

"The issue is can I be effective," Rumsfeld said. "Needless to say, if I felt I could not be effective, I'd resign in a minute," he said, but he added, "I would not resign simply because people try to make a political issue out of it."

The day-long testimony of Rumsfeld, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, and top Pentagon officials - broadcast live by Arab as well as U.S. TV - capped a tumultuous week that forced apologies from President Bush, emboldened Iraqi insurgents and put in doubt the entire U.S. peace effort in the Mideast.

Rumsfeld began with expressions of remorse for the treatment of prisoners and failing to keep Congress informed, but he grew more combative as it became evident senators and representatives were rallying to his support.

"These events occurred on my watch," Rumsfeld said. "As secretary of defense, I am accountable for them. I take full responsibility."

"To those Iraqis who were mistreated by the U.S. armed forces, I offer my deepest apology," Rumsfeld said.

To salvage the battered U.S. image, Rumsfeld said "I'm seeking a way to provide appropriate compensation to those detainees who suffered such grievous and brutal abuse," but he did not specify an amount.

Rumsfeld also said he has appointed a commission of retired officials led by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger and former Rep. Tillie Fowler (R-Fla.) to examine the scandal and make recommendations.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) questioned whether the Pentagon grasped the gravity of the crisis. "We risk losing public support for this conflict" in Iraq, McCain said, just as the American public turned against Vietnam.

Myers acknowledged that the scandal has effected troop morale. Soldiers in Iraq are "walking with their heads a little bit lower now," Myers said, and must win back trust "soldier by soldier, patrol by patrol."


A Wretched New Picture Of America
Photos From Iraq Prison Show We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

By Philip Kennicott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 5, 2004; Page C01

Among the corrosive lies a nation at war tells itself is that the glory -- the lofty goals announced beforehand, the victories, the liberation of the oppressed -- belongs to the country as a whole; but the failure -- the accidents, the uncounted civilian dead, the crimes and atrocities -- is always exceptional. Noble goals flow naturally from a noble people; the occasional act of barbarity is always the work of individuals, unaccountable, confusing and indigestible to the national conscience.

This kind of thinking was widely in evidence among military and political leaders after the emergence of pictures documenting American abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison. These photographs do not capture the soul of America, they argued. They are aberrant.

This belief, that the photographs are distortions, despite their authenticity, is indistinguishable from propaganda. Tyrants censor; democracies self-censor. Tyrants concoct propaganda in ministries of information; democracies produce it through habits of thought so ingrained that a basic lie of war -- only the good is our doing -- becomes self-propagating.

But now we have photos that have gone to the ends of the Earth, and painted brilliantly and indelibly, an image of America that could remain with us for years, perhaps decades. An Army investigative report reveals that we have stripped young men (whom we purported to liberate) of their clothing and their dignity; we have forced them to make pyramids of flesh, as if they were children; we have made them masturbate in front of their captors and cameras; forced them to simulate sexual acts; threatened prisoners with rape and sodomized at least one; beaten them; and turned dogs upon them.

There are now images of men in the Muslim world looking at these images. On the streets of Cairo, men pore over a newspaper. An icon appears on the front page: a hooded man, in a rug-like poncho, standing with his arms out like Christ, wires attached to the hands. He is faceless. This is now the image of the war. In this country, perhaps it will have some competition from the statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled. Everywhere else, everywhere America is hated (and that's a very large part of this globe), the hooded, wired, faceless man of Abu Ghraib is this war's new mascot.

The American leaders' response is a mixture of public disgust, and a good deal of resentment that they have, through these images, lost control of the ultimate image of the war. All the right people have pronounced themselves, sickened, outraged, speechless. But listen more closely. "And it's really a shame that just a handful can besmirch maybe the reputations of hundreds of thousands of our soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines. . . . " said Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Sunday.

Reputation, image, perception. The problem, it seems, isn't so much the abuse of the prisoners, because we will get to the bottom of that and, of course, we're not really like that. The problem is our reputation. Our soldiers' reputations. Our national self-image. These photos, we insist, are not us.

But these photos are us. Yes, they are the acts of individuals (though the scandal widens, as scandals almost inevitably do, and the military's own internal report calls the abuse "systemic"). But armies are made of individuals. Nations are made up of individuals. Great national crimes begin with the acts of misguided individuals; and no matter how many people are held directly accountable for these crimes, we are, collectively, responsible for what these individuals have done. We live in a democracy. Every errant smart bomb, every dead civilian, every sodomized prisoner, is ours.

And more. Perhaps this is just a little cancer that crept into the culture of the people running Abu Ghraib prison. But stand back. Look at the history. Open up to the hard facts of human nature, the lessons of the past, the warning signs of future abuses.

These photos show us what we may become, as occupation continues, anger and resentment grows and costs spiral. There's nothing surprising in this. These pictures are pictures of colonial behavior, the demeaning of occupied people, the insult to local tradition, the humiliation of the vanquished. They are unexceptional. In different forms, they could be pictures of the Dutch brutalizing the Indonesians; the French brutalizing the Algerians; the Belgians brutalizing the people of the Congo.

Look at these images closely and you realize that they can't just be the random accidents of war, or the strange, inexplicable perversity of a few bad seeds. First of all, they exist. Soldiers who allow themselves to be photographed humiliating prisoners clearly don't believe this behavior is unpalatable. Second, the soldiers didn't just reach into a grab bag of things they thought would humiliate young Iraqi men. They chose sexual humiliation, which may recall to outsiders the rape scandal at the Air Force Academy, Tailhook and past killings of gay sailors and soldiers.

Is it an accident that these images feel so very much like the kind of home made porn that is traded every day on the Internet? That they capture exactly the quality and feel of the casual sexual decadence that so much of the world deplores in us?

Is it an accident that the man in the hood, arms held out as if on a cross, looks so uncannily like something out of the Spanish Inquisition? That they have the feel of history in them, a long, buried, ugly history of religious aggression and discrimination?

Perhaps both are accidents, meaningless accidents of photographs that should never have seen the light of day. But they will not be perceived as such elsewhere in the world.

World editorial reaction is vehement. We are under the suspicion of the International Red Cross and Amnesty International. "US military power will be seen for what it is, a behemoth with the response speed of a muscle-bound ox and the limited understanding of a mouse," said Saudi Arabia's English language Arab News.

We reduce Iraqis to hapless victims of a cheap porn flick; they reduce our cherished, respected military to a hybrid beast, big, stupid, senseless.

Last year, Joel Turnipseed published "Baghdad Express," a memoir of the first Gulf War. In it, he remembers an encounter with Iraqi prisoners. A staff sergeant is explaining to the men the rules of the Geneva Convention.

" . . . What that means, in plain English, is 'Don't feed the animals' and 'Don't put your hand in the cage.' "

And then, the author explains, the soldiers proceed to break the rules. The ox thinks like a mouse.

"My vanquished were now vanquishing me," wrote Turnipseed, heartsick.

Not quite 50 years ago, Aime Cesaire, a poet and writer from Martinique, wrote in his "Discourse on Colonialism": "First we must study how colonization works to decivilize the colonizer, to brutalize him in the true sense of the word, to degrade him, to awaken him to buried instincts, to covetousness, violence, race hatred, and moral relativism."

Are we decivilized yet? Are we brutes yet? Of course not, say our leaders.

Soldiers Back in U.S. Tell of More Iraq Abuses

Filed at 7:41 a.m. ET

ANTIOCH, California (Reuters) - Three U.S. military policemen who served at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison said on Thursday they had witnessed unreported cases of prisoner abuse and that the practice against Iraqis was commonplace.

``It is a common thing to abuse prisoners,'' said Sgt. Mike Sindar, 25, of the Army National Guard's 870th Military Police Company based in the San Francisco Bay area. ``I saw beatings all the time.

``A lot of people had so much pent-up anger, so much aggression,'' he said. Sindar and the other military policemen, who have returned to California from Iraq, spoke in interviews with Reuters.

U.S. treatment of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib has stirred wide international condemnation after the publication of photos in recent days showing Americans sexually humiliating prisoners. Six soldiers in Iraq have been charged in the case and President Bush apologized publicly on Thursday.

Although public attention has focused on the dehumanizing photos, some members of the 870th MP unit say the faces in those images were not the only ones engaged in cruel behavior.

``It was not just these six people,'' said Sindar, the group's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons specialist. ``Yes, the beatings happen, yes, all the time.''

An officer in their group was reprimanded last year after holding down a prisoner for other men to beat, Sindar told Reuters. Sindar and fellow military policeman Ramon Leal said they saw hooded prisoners with racial taunts written on the hoods such as ``camel jockey' or slogans such as ``I tried to kill an American but now I'm in jail.''

Leal said one female soldier in his unit fired off a slingshot into a crowd of prisoners. Sindar, who was familiar with the incident, said one person was injured.

Another group of soldiers knocked a 14-year-old boy to the ground as he arrived at the prison and then twisted his arm, Sindar and Leal said.

``The soldiers were laughing at him,'' said Leal. ``I saw the other soldiers that would take out their frustrations on the prisoners.''

Until earlier this year prisoners would arrive at Abu Ghraib with broken bones, suggesting they had been roughed up, he said. But the practice ended in January or February, as practices at the prison were coming under increased internal scrutiny.

Photos obtained by Reuters show U.S. soldiers looking into body bags of three Iraqi prisoners killed by 870th MP guards during a prison riot in the fall of 2003. One photograph shows a bearded man with much of his bloodied forehead removed by the force of a bullet.

``We were constantly being attacked, we had terrible support ... also being extended all the time, a lot of us had problems with our loved ones suffering from depression,'' said another of the military policemen, Spc. Dave Bischel. ``It all contributes to the psychological component of soldiers when they get stressed.''

The Californians' remarks were unusual, as U.S. soldiers have been reluctant to speak out in public on the issue.

Some say investigators went out of their way to keep the allegations under wraps. When military investigators were looking into abuses several months ago, they gave U.S. guards a week's notice before inspecting their possessions, several soldiers said.

``That shows you how lax they are about discipline. 'We are going to look for contraband in here, so hint, hint, get rid of the stuff,' that's the way things work in the Guard,'' Leal said.

Torture at Abu Ghraib
By Seymour M Hersh

The New Yorker 5/10/2004

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

In the era of Saddam Hussein, Abu Ghraib, twenty miles west of Baghdad, was one of the world’s most notorious prisons, with torture, weekly executions, and vile living conditions. As many as fifty thousand men and women—no accurate count is possible—were 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’s 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—by the fall there were several thousand, including women and teen-agers—were 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 “crimes against the coalition”; and a small number of suspected “high-value” 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, “living conditions now are better in prison than at home. At one point we were concerned that they wouldn’t want to leave.”

A month later, General Karpinski was formally admonished and quietly suspended, and a major investigation into the Army’s 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 “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” 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’s brigade headquarters.) Taguba’s report listed some of the wrongdoing:

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—“detailed witness statements and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence.” Photographs and videos taken by the soldiers as the abuses were happening were not included in his report, Taguba said, because of their “extremely sensitive nature.”

The photographs—several of which were broadcast on CBS’s “60 Minutes 2” last week—show leering G.I.s taunting naked Iraqi prisoners who are forced to assume humiliating poses. Six suspects—Staff 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—are 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 hooded.

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. “Being put on top of each other and forced to masturbate, being naked in front of each other—it’s all a form of torture,” 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’s abuse of prisoners seemed almost routine—a 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 “hard site” at Abu Ghraib—seven 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’t think it was right . . . I saw SSG Frederick walking towards me, and he said, “Look what these animals do when you leave them alone for two seconds.” I heard PFC England shout out, “He’s getting hard.”

Wisdom testified that he told his superiors what had happened, and assumed that “the issue was taken care of.” He said, “I just didn’t want to be part of anything that looked criminal.”

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’s Criminal Investigation Division, or C.I.D., told the court, according to an abridged transcript made available to me, “The investigation started after SPC Darby . . . got a CD from CPL Graner. . . . He came across pictures of naked detainees.” Bobeck said that Darby had “initially 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 wrong.”

Questioned further, the Army investigator said that Frederick and his colleagues had not been given any “training guidelines” 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, “had punched a detainee in the chest so hard that the detainee almost went into cardiac arrest.”

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’s 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. “The purpose of an Article 32 hearing is for us to engage witnesses and discover facts,” Gary Myers told me. “We ended up with a c.i.d. agent and no alleged victims to examine.” 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’s defense will be that he was carrying out the orders of his superiors and, in particular, the directions of military intelligence. He said, “Do 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?”

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—and the answer I got was, “This is how military intelligence (MI) wants it done.” . . . . 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 “encouraged and told us, ‘Great job,’ they were now getting positive results and information,” Frederick wrote. “CID has been present when the military working dogs were used to intimidate prisoners at MI’s request.” 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. “His reply was ‘Don’t worry about it.’”

In November, Frederick wrote, an Iraqi prisoner under the control of what the Abu Ghraib guards called “O.G.A.,” or other government agencies—that is, the C.I.A. and its paramilitary employees—was brought to his unit for questioning. “They 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.” The dead Iraqi was never entered into the prison’s inmate-control system, Frederick recounted, “and therefore never had a number.”

Frederick’s defense is, of course, highly self-serving. But the complaints in his letters and e-mails home were reinforced by two internal Army reports—Taguba’s and one by the Army’s 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’s 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 “set favorable conditions for subsequent interviews”—a euphemism for breaking the will of prisoners. “Such actions generally run counter to the smooth operation of a detention facility, attempting to maintain its population in a compliant and docile state.” General Karpinski’s brigade, Ryder reported, “has not been directed to change its facility procedures to set the conditions for MI interrogations, nor participate in those interrogations.” Ryder called for the establishment of procedures to “define the role of military police soldiers . . .clearly separating the actions of the guards from those of the military intelligence personnel.” 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 “no military police units purposely applying inappropriate confinement practices.” His investigation was at best a failure and at worst a coverup.

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

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, “MI wanted to get them to talk. It is Graner and Frederick’s job to do things for MI and OGA to get these people to talk.”

Another witness, Sergeant Javal Davis, who is also one of the accused, told C.I.D. investigators, “I 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.” Taguba wrote, “Davis also stated that he had heard MI insinuate to the guards to abuse the inmates. When asked what MI said he stated: ‘Loosen this guy up for us.’‘Make sure he has a bad night.’‘Make sure he gets the treatment.’” Military intelligence made these comments to Graner and Frederick, Davis said. “The MI staffs to my understanding have been giving Graner compliments . . . statements like, ‘Good job, they’re breaking down real fast. They answer every question. They’re giving out good information.’”

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

Another witness, Specialist Jason Kennel, who was not accused of wrongdoing, said, “I saw them nude, but MI would tell us to take away their mattresses, sheets, and clothes.” (It was his view, he added, that if M.I. wanted him to do this “they needed to give me paperwork.”) 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 “bunch of people from MI” 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 “who were not trained in interrogation techniques to facilitate interrogations by ‘setting conditions’ which were neither authorized” nor in accordance with Army regulations. “He clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse,” Taguba wrote. He also recommended disciplinary action against a second CACI employee, John Israel. (A spokeswoman for CACI said that the company had “received no formal communication” from the Army about the matter.)

“I suspect,” Taguba concluded, that Pappas, Jordan, Stephanowicz, and Israel “were either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuse at Abu Ghraib,” and strongly recommended immediate disciplinary action.

The problems inside the Army prison system in Iraq were not hidden from senior commanders. During Karpinski’s 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 “lessons learned” 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, “cases of abuse may have been prevented.”

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. “This imbalance has contributed to the poor living conditions, escapes, and accountability lapses,” 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—indefinitely, 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’s defense, Taguba said, was that her superior officers “routinely” rejected her recommendations regarding the release of such prisoners.

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 “without precedent in my military career.” The soldiers, he added, were “poorly prepared and untrained . . . prior to deployment, at the mobilization site, upon arrival in theater, and throughout the mission.”

General Taguba spent more than four hours interviewing Karpinski, whom he described as extremely emotional: “What 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.”

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 Guantánamo 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’s 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. “They’ll tell you what you want to hear, truth or no truth,” Rowell said. “‘You can flog me until I tell you what I know you want me to say.’ You don’t get righteous information.”

Under the fourth Geneva convention, an occupying power can jail civilians who pose an “imperative” 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 Guantánamo.

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’ reputation in the world.

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

'Too Nice' Jail Commander Is Fired
October 17 2002

The commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp - who was criticised in the United States press for being too soft on the inmates - has been dismissed.

Brigadier-General Rick Baccus was relieved of his duties as camp commander and as an officer in the Rhode Island National Guard on October9, five days after a newspaper report quoted military sources as saying he was "too nice" to the 598 inmates, and was consequently making it hard for interrogators to extract information from them.

The dismissal came as 12 Kuwaiti prisoners mounted the first organised legal and diplomatic effort to challenge the US policy that holds terrorism suspects indefinitely at Guantanamo without court hearings or charges being filed.

Officials at the base said General Baccus had left because his unit, responsible for running Camp Delta, had been merged with Joint Task Force 170, a combined unit drawn from the Defence Intelligence Agency, CIA and FBI, which questions the inmates.

In August General Baccus told journalists that uniformed officers had concerns that the Guantanamo Bay inmates continued to be labelled "enemy combatants" rather than "prisoners of war", a classification that would give them more rights under the Geneva Convention.

On October4 The Washington Times reported that the chief interrogator, Major-General Michael Dunlavey, was irritated by the prisoners' treatment, particularly by General Baccus's decision to let the Red Cross put up posters reminding inmates they need only provide their interrogators with their name, rank and number. General Dunlavey has since taken over General Baccus's duties.

The Kuwaiti prisoners are largely backed by the Government of Kuwait, a US ally, in a case that gives voice for the first time to those captured in the war in Afghanistan and shipped to the makeshift prison in Cuba.

The 12 captives contend they are not members of al-Qaeda, nor the Taliban, but charity workers who were helping refugees created by Afghanistan's harsh regime when they were caught up in the chaos of the war last northern autumn and winter. In trying to flee to Pakistan, they say, they fell into the hands of Pakistanis who "sold" them to US troops, collecting a bounty.

Their families have retained a Washington firm that specialises in international law.

The Guardian, Los Angeles Times

Buffy Sainte-Marie

He's five feet two and he's six feet four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17
He's been a soldier for a thousand years

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn't kill
and he knows he always will
kill you for me my friend and me for you

And he's fighting for Canada,
he's fighting for France,
he's fighting for the USA,
and he's fighting for the Russians
and he's fighting for Japan,
and he thinks we'll put an end to war this way

And he's fighting for Democracy
and fighting for the Reds
He says it's for the peace of all
He's the one who must decide
who's to live and who's to die
and he never sees the writing on the walls

But without him how would Hitler have
condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would have stood alone
He's the one who gives his body
as a weapon to a war
and without him all this killing can't go on

He's the universal soldier and he
really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him, and you, and me
and brothers can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war.