Thursday, November 17, 2005

Torture bunkers in Iraq?

"An Iraqi guard who took part in detaining some of the 173 prisoners found locked in an Interior Ministry bunker showed no remorse on Wednesday over reports they were abused, saying they were suspected "terrorists"...They were found in an underground cell near an Interior Ministry compound in the Baghdad district of Jadriya and many of them showed signs of severe hunger, beatings and torture, Iraqi officials and U.S. military sources said." (source)

When I first read this, I kept looking around for an old date on the story. Maybe in 2002 or 2003. But no. This story was just printed YESTERDAY. It seems that Iraq's Interior Ministry has fallen prey to their past and are resorting to Saddam-like interrogation techniques.

The site was discovered by US forces over the weekend. U.S. troops, led by U.S. Brig. Gen. Karl Horst, went to the facility because a 15-year-old boy was believed to be held there illegally. Once there, they discovered approximately 170 detainees, many of whom showed signs of illness, torture and malnourishment.

Salam Pax, writer of the first blog I ever followed, broke his writing silence this week with this story. Reuters published a story about this as well, quoting Hussein Kamal, a deputy interior minister, as saying "There were 161 detainees in all and they were being treated in an inappropriate way ... they were being abused. I've never seen such a situation like this during the past two years in Baghdad... This is the worst...I saw signs of physical abuse by brutal beating, one or two detainees were paralyzed and some had their skin peeled off various parts of their bodies."

Salam reports that according to the rumor mill, they were using razor blades to peel the skin off of the detainees, and several had holes drilled into their legs and feet with power tools.

sick. sick. sick.

Abu Ghraib looks like Disney World compared to Iraqi interrogation techniques.

President Bush is on the defense again regarding interrogation techniques as well. Last month the Senate voted 90-9 in favor of an amendment that would ban the use of torture. Dick Cheney has been pushing for an exemption for the CIA. Many see the White House's lax stance on aggressive interrogation techniques a mistake. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel says that he and a whole host of other leaders, including Sen. John McCain and Colin Powell, will push the torture issue with the White House "as far as necessary."

Me? I'm torn on the issue. I really am. Which is exactly why I'm not in the CIA, and why I'm glad I never quite made it into the Army, because my recruiter was pushing me toward Interrogation as my MOS. I can see instances where torture may be necessary, but I can't stand the thought of the United States committing such atrocities.

It's a see-saw issue for me. Yep. I'm a waffler. *sigh*


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