Sunday, February 18, 2007

Oh, brother

The major papers must have thought that Presidents' Day weekend means there's one extra day for dumping on the military. Here's the New York Times' contribution:

Jailed 2 Years, Iraqi Tells of Abuse by Americans

...After his release from the American-run jail, Camp Bucca, Mr. Ani and other former detainees described the sprawling complex of barracks in the southern desert near Kuwait as a bleak place where guards casually used their stun guns and exposed prisoners to long periods of extreme heat and cold; where prisoners fought among themselves and extremist elements tried to radicalize others; and where detainees often responded to the harsh conditions with hunger strikes and, at times, violent protests...

...Mr. Ani said the electric prods were first used on him on the way to Camp Bucca. “I was talking to someone next to me and they used it,” he said, describing the device as black plastic with a yellow tip and two iron prongs. He said the prods were commonly used on him and other detainees as punishment.

“The whole body starts to shake and hurt,” he said. “And you lose consciousness for a couple of seconds. One time they used it on my tongue. One guard held me from the left and another on my back and another used it against my tongue and for four or five days I couldn’t eat.” ...

Hmmm, guess what? I know someone who was at Camp Bucca at the same time that Mr. Ani claimed the abuse took place in 2004 and 2005. I've heard the other side of the story of detainee/guard relations at Camp Bucca. Of course, any chance for another perspective is given only a few sentences in the Times' lengthy story.

And a few things about those tasers that are mentioned in the quote above. You don't lose consciousness and I can't imagine how it would be used on someone's tongue. This story has all the credibility of the Qur'an being flushed down the toilet fable.

Were some detainees mistreated at Camp Bucca? Definitely, yes. And the offenders were punished. For the New York Times to drag out this "newsflash" of treatment that happened two years ago makes one wonder what public good is being served.

Hey, New York Times - don't you know the "Soldiers are torturers" line is soooo yesterday? Today's meme is "We really, really support the troops. Let's just bring them home."

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