Thursday, June 17, 2004

Death At Abu Ghraib

An 42 year old inmate at Abu Ghraib has died. The U.S. military is investigating. But, as usual, everything they are doing stinks like a three day old fish.

The U.S. military will conduct an autopsy, following which the body will be turned over the International Committee of the Red Cross and then to the Iraqi interim government. We are already under suspicion in connection with more than three dozen detainee deaths in Iraq - why aren't we letting the ICRC conduct the autopsy? Our autopsy will inevitably be greeted with skepticism, whereas an ICRC autospy would be viewed as presumptively reliable. Why aren't we availing ourselves of this opportunity?

The U.S. military claims that the deceased had been detained since May because he was believed to be "an imperative threat for attacks against coalition forces." In this context, the word imperative means that the detainee was suspected of being able to control or direct attacks against coalition forces. However, the U.S. military revealed that although this man had been held for three weeks or more, and was suspected of having information regarding attacks on coalition forces, he had yet to be interrogated! Isn't it incumbent upon the military to interrogate promptly a detainee suspected of possessing knowledge of future attacks on coalition troops? Did our military really believe this detainee had knowledge of attacks planned on coalition forces, or is this reason for detention merely a catchall used to justify the indefinite detention of people indiscriminately rounded up at Iraqi checkpoints?

The administration appears intent on fostering suspicion of our motives and methods in Iraq and undermining the credibility of our military. This is either gross incompetence or, more likely, an inescapable consequence of a dishonest policy. The administration claims cooperation with investigations of abuse in Iraqi prisons but conspicuously fails to avail themselves of the ICRC's cooperation in matters such as the autopsy of the deceased Abu Ghraib detainee. The administration claims that detention policies at Abu Ghraib are being reformed but continues to detain Iraqis for suspected insurgency activities without even bothering to interrogate them for weeks or months.

The game plan is obvious: wait for the media and the public to lose interest and then go back to business as usual in the festering Iraqi prison system. No reform, no accountability, no cooperation with investigations. No truth, no honor, no concern for the daily damage done to America's reputation in the world.

Donald Rumsfeld and his Pentagon poltroons are war criminals. Every day they continue to serve in the highest echelons of our government is another day of shame for our nation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for covering this; I hadn't seen it anywhere else. Came here via a comment at Billmon's, will be checking back often.

Nell Lancaster

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you add a link to coverage of the death at AbuG?

Thanks. Nell

12:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home