Monday, May 10, 2004

Iraqi Prisoners

Does humiliation fall under the heading of torture? I can see arguments that it does, and others that it doesn't. There is no physical pain or damage. These are adults who should (in theory) be able to stand moderate assaults on their self image (it wasn't a brainwashing kind of exercise). Finally, as many Iraqi expatriates point out, this pales compared to the atrocities under the Baathist regime.

I'm more concerned about who is getting imprisoned, and what is the process for getting cleared or acquitted.

The idea that everyone in the chain of command should be prosecuted is absurd. Yes, a captain is responsible for everything that goes on aboard his ship, but knowledge, let alone involvement, in this affair almost certainly stops with some colonel or maybe a general. Unless someone makes a case that people beyond that level knew and ignored/abetted/ordered the activities, then this is just a political witch hunt.

Finally, what about the civilian contractors involved? Are they going to be prosecuted too? Is there some U.S. (or even Iraqi) law they have broken? Are the military personnel going to be held to different standards while the civilians are immune?


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