Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I think I'm going to be sick

I really, REALLY hate reading stuff like this, but I feel like I need to share. I don't understand how we're supposed to build a nation out of the mess we have made out of Iraq, but surely this isn't helping:
FBI agents are increasingly complaining about what they consider abusive physical and mental torture by military officials against prisoners held in Iraq and Cuba, including lighted cigarettes stuck in detainees' ears and Arab captives being humiliated with Israeli flags wrapped around them, according to new documents released today.

The FBI records are the latest set of documents obtained by the ACLU in its lawsuit against the federal government and include instances in which bureau officials were disgusted that military interrogators pretended to be FBI agents and used the scheme as a "ruse" to glean intelligence information from prisoners.

In addition, the FBI complained that military interrogators have gone far beyond the restrictions of the Geneva Conventions prohibiting torture and have followed an apparently new executive order from President Bush that permits the use of dogs and other techniques to harass prisoners.
First of all, is there anyone out there who thinks that this produces usable intelligence? Will we discover something about the insurgency or terrorism that we didn't know before, because now we have the power to terrorize prisoners?
The FBI documents also included a report about a prisoner in Cuba whose legs were injured and who said he lied about being a terrorist for fear that otherwise the U.S. military would amputate him.

The agent wrote that the prisoner "stated he wanted to receive decent medical treatment, and felt the only way to get it was to tell the Americans what they wanted to hear."
Second, if I were an Iraqi reading this right now, do you think this encourages me to cooperate with Americans at all? More on this later...

Thanks to an excellent blog called War and Piece.

EDIT: Matthew Yglesias weighs in more on the possibility that Bush and/or Rumsfeld may not be able to do much traveling in the future (not that Bush goes abroad much anyway). Maybe next we'll bomb the Hague?

I agree with Matthew that the interesting thing about recent developments is not that abuse is going on, but that members of the intelligence community are finally starting to take a stand on this. I don't know how they finally got the balls to go out and say something, but I'd be willing to bet it's either the massive amounts of poor intelligence they now have to sift through (if they use prisoners' "knowledge" at all), or the whole "military interrogators pretended to be FBI agents" (from the LA Times article) thing.

Also, here are the actual documents the ACLU obtained.

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