Blogs > HNN > In this administration, some things will never change

Jul 27, 2005 10:59 am

In this administration, some things will never change

The latest prisoner abuse story involves the use of dogs being used to terrify inmates. According to the Associated Press , at least 2 prisoners were bitten by dogs, one of them on the thigh so bad, it required 12 stitches. According to prosecutors, the dogs are sometimes used as competition among the guards to see how many inmates they can get to urinate on themselves.

This, of course, is only the most recent in a long line of abuse scandals involving our military and it is sickening that like every other issues in this government, there has been no accountability. Of course, the individual soldiers are tried for their crimes and serve time and to his credit, Rumsfeld twice offered to resign (an offer Bush should have accepted), but there is no reform, no changes to prevent these types of depraved activity. Part of the reason is that the issue has become partisan, with many conservative commentators and news anchors either ignoring it, denying it, or glossing over the story (the site Media Matters does a great job of exposing much of the bias in the national media). Just one recent example: Bill O’Reilly recently accused the ACLU and any judge that agreed with them “terror allies” for trying to release photos and documentary on the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.

In an article 2 months ago, Seymour Hersh wrotes about “the continuing practice of American operatives seizing suspected terrorists and taking them, without any meaningful legal review, to interrogation centers in south-east Asia and elsewhere” and he relates the story of a

“young special forces officer whose subordinates were confronted with charges of prisoner abuse and torture at a secret hearing after one of them emailed explicit photos back home. The officer testified that, yes, his men had done what the photos depicted, but they - and everybody in the command - understood such treatment was condoned by higher-ups.”

The article was just as damning as the one he wrote in 2004 as well , when Hersh credited the problem with “Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.”

In June, Newsweek ran a story subtitled: “Bush insists that 'a few American troops' dishonored the country. But prisoner abuse was more widespread, and some insiders believe that much remains hidden.” The article points out how “numerous critics—not just in the human-rights community, but in Congress and the U.S. military as well—insist that the current probes are still too limited to bring full accountability.”

It is a credit to our democracy that those individuals who have committed the worst of the abuses (at least that have been discovered thus far) have faced justice, but it is a tremendous discredit to know that nothing really has changed. The conditions that allow, and perhaps even encourage abuse and mistreatment are still in place, and the buck stops at the individuals responsible rather than a leadership that allows it to continue.

comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:

Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 7/28/2005

The following graphic article from the BBC notes the tourure that has been used systematically by Iraq's new police force.

"Iraq's new police force is facing mounting allegations of systematic abuse and torture of people in detention, as well as allegations of extra-judicial killings. The minority Sunni community in particular claims it is being targeted by the Shia-dominated police force."