Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Are we just as bad?

The apparent torture and killing of two captured service men in Iraq has allowed the usual sort of people to write that we are in no position to be angry since we allegedly behave the same way.
This is so blatantly untrue (regardless of what one things of the administration's position on interrogation, it's demonstrably not the case that we routinely torture or behead POWs) that one is always tempted to simply ignor it all. However Belmont Club takes the occasion to provide a detailed looks at the problems that are going on in the field with coalition treatment of captured insurgents:

This unit is aimed at the hardest core of the enemy and it works together with non-Americans, particularly Iraqi and other Arab personnel. (It is interesting to note how deeply involved Jordan, Iraq, UAE and Bahrain are in these operations) CJSOTF-AP is charged with training Arab forces which have a long history of torture to demonstrate a better way of doing things. The multinational composition of this unit will explain why non-Americans often figure in the Formica narrative. It may also explain why whole parts of the Formica report are blacked out. (As we will see, the censor missed a few things.)

A close reading of the Formica report itself shows that detainees were interrogated in the field, sometimes in places where they couldn't be safely transported to a secure base. "CJSOTF-AP units operate in a dangerous environment often located in high-threat areas ... convoy movements to transport or to interrogate detainees held at other locations are high risk tactical operations" (page 6). "These were not internment facilities, i.e. facilities intended for long-term detention, but rather temporary facilities for tactical interrogation facilities." (page 7) In one case (page 32) interrogation was carried out at a "safehouse", which suggests some interrogations may have taken place an insurgent-controlled locality.

Formica report concluded that some Iraqi detainees were not being treated in accordance "with the spirit of the principles set forth in the Geneva Conventions." In other words, that the Geneva Convention was being violated.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that (according to the report) insurgent are apparently being instructing during training to complain of torture if captured. More specifically, to complain to Americans that Arabs among the coalition partners have tortured them. Given some of the countries whose special forces are apparently part of this unit, that claim certainly has an air of plausibility.

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