WAS IT PERVERSION OR WAS IT POLICY?
May 2, 2004 - "We have had a very high rate with our style of getting them to break. They usually end up breaking within hours."
That was what the highest ranking reservist soldier to be criminally charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison wrote to his uncle last December 18th. So far six members of the 372 Military Police Company based in Cumberland. Maryland have been charged in connection with abuses documented by CBS News on last Wednesday’s 60 Minutes broadcast. Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II, Spec. Megan M. Ambuhl, Sgt. Javal S. Davis, Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr., Spec. Sabrina D. Harman and Spec. Jeremy C. Sivits all face Courts Martial. The specific charges are secret but the photographs tell the story.
According to Brigadier General Janis L. Karpinski, who commanded the 800th Military Police Brigade of which the 372nd was a part the abuse occurred in Cellblock 1A. That cell block, and her soldiers assigned to guard, it was not controlled by her command but by the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade. Ominously the pattern of abuse began after a visit to the prison by a team Military Intelligence officers from Guantanamo Bay’s Camp Delta. "Their main and specific mission was to get the interrogators, to give them new techniques to get more information from detainees," Gen. Karpinski said. Karpinski, the only woman to have ever held a command in an Iraqi combat zone was quietly sent home in January as the story of the abuses began to break. Karpinski was replaced by the man in charge of interrogations at Camp Delta. No one from the Military Intelligence unit faces charges or possible discipline.
All of that, taken together, indicates that the practice of humiliation, sexual abuse and physical pressure is far more wide spread than Cellblock 1A at Abu Ghraib. It explains the secrecy at Camp Delta and at Bhagram Prison in Afghanistan. Accounts of similar abuses by detainees released from both of those have been quietly dismissed by the Western press.
If, as President Bush says, the treatment of Iraqi detainees “disgusts” him, surely he will want to get to the bottom of the story. Surely he will want to launch a wide ranging investigation of the new techniques that Military Intelligence is employing in its secret camps around the world. Surely he will not want history to record that on his watch America took over Saddam’s torture chambers and rape rooms and made them work more efficiently.
Perhaps he can convene another commission to investigate the question of whether the abuses were isolated perversion or pervasive policy. It could be scheduled to report in May 2005, safely after the election when no one will notice a few more piles of dust under the carpet.
Agree? Disagree? Just want to add your .02 worth?
Click here to send your comments to Ming
Return to Home Page
© Copyright Keith Hays
All Rights Reserved