Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Torture by the Coalition of the Willing

Hi Everyone,

The Danish newspaper, Politiken, is reporting that Danish troops at Camp Eden in Iraq abused/tortured both civilians and POWs in their custody. Danish military authorities are investigating the case and a female officer, Kaptajn Annemette Hommel, has been sent home already. The Danish abuse case involves many of the same things as the Abu Gharib case: denial of food, water, toilet facilities and forcing prisoners to assume painful positions for prolonged periods - but never hit or kicked say investigators. The abuse allegedly took place between March and June of this year. The difference in the investigations is that the Danish press reports that investigators have found that Danish leaders knew about it all along. In fact, the Danish government removed the leadership of their Iraq contingent (something like 500 troops) over this issue. This is a marked contrast from the American investigation that is dead set on limiting accusations of direct misconduct to enlisted personel.

Kaptajn Hommel says that Camp Eden started to get out of control in June. She says civilian interpreters were walking in and out of the infirmery all the time and were uncooperative. Some had to be sent home. Hmm, chaotic prison environment? I thought that was an isolated thing at Abu Gharib?

This is more circumstantial evidence that the abuse in Abu Gharib was a policy from the top not mearly, as the Bush administration insists, a few bad soldiers dishonoring their unit. More alarming, this happened AFTER the Abu Gharib scandal broke! Again, the so called liberal media in the USA is not picking up the story. Who cares about tiny little Denmark, right? But this is important because if allied troops were doing exactly the same stuff at another detention center in Iraq, then the "few bad apples theory" looks less and less likely. Where is American investigative journalism?


The Law Talking Guy said...

Unless Democrats (the opposition) here picks up on the story, the media is unlikely to out of its way to cover it. If the Democrats start talking about it, it would get more press. But the whole Abu Ghraib story has been dropped by Democrats who want to be "optimistic" about the USA, and by Kerry in particular who doesn't want to seem anti-military. Indeed, Kerry's whole approach favors the "few bad apples" theory, because he wants to avoid an institutional indictment while fishing for military votes.

US West said...

I think it is a wonderful thing that the Danes pulled out their military leadership in an attempt to punish perpetrators. But you know, it is a lot easier to do when you have 500 troops. The stakes aren't so high.

I think it is interesting the liberal media isn't picking up the story, but who watches liberal media anyway? Of other allied forces were doing the same things, or things similar to what the US was doing, it does more than blow the "few bad apples" theory. It points to co-conspiracy among the leadership of the "coalition of the willing".
I am still wondering what is behind Lynndie England's showing up at her pre-trial pregnant with the baby said to belong to Spec. Charles Graner.

Raised By Republicans said...

The other political scientist also points out that this pattern suggests a rather unpopular and politically incorrect conclusion....It means the troops, about whom nothing bad is said by the media, are all too willing to obey obviously illegal orders. Either that or they are too poorly trained to know an illegal order when they hear it (they won't see it because that would generate a paper trail and the leaders in question are too smart for that). Danish troops train extensive with US, British and other NATO forces and are used to taking orders from them.

Also, like the US Army, the Danish forces in Iraq are mostly volunteers (if not all volunteers). Although the Danish military has a draft to fill out its NATO required force levels, I believe the normal practice is to not send the new draftees overseas - they use volunteers for those deployments. That may have changed however as the tiny Danish military is probably overextended having deployed troops to the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.

US West said...

I am sorry, but I don’t buy the “poorly trained” argument. It doesn’t take a genius to know when an order is illegal- or how about just plain WRONG. What this demonstrates to me is a lack of courage and character to stand up to commanders who issue bad orders. It shows a lack of foresight. Better to be court marshaled for disobeying an order than court marshaled for tormenting prisoners. At least when you have the moral high ground, you can maintain self-respect. It makes me very, very angry when I hear excuses being made for consistent bad behavior. And this excuse-making culture goes right up to the President. Everyone is responsible, so no one is responsible.

The other thing I heard the lawyers say is that these poor MPs were ignorant of the rules. Once again, I don’t buy it. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse- that is one of the first things I learned in criminal law class. If you want to test it, try telling the next police officer who pulls you over that you didn’t know that the speed limit was 65 and see what he says.

I understand that in a situation like the one in the prison, humanity breaks down fast. But so far, all those who testified talked about the poor prison conditions, lack of supplies, etc. And the commander of the prison asked for reinforcements and was ignored. That is a dereliction of duty on the part of her chain of command. This speaks to larger systemic problem on the part of the US military. But none of this changes how wrong the actions of those involved were. There is no excuse you can give me for the actions perpetrated by US troops in Abu Gharib and I have no sympathy for the likes of England.

US West said...

One mroe thought, not only is it a derelection of duty on the par tof the command structure, it is an abuse of power to order troops to issue illegal orders.

US West said...

Let me fix the poor typos in that last post. I tried to remove it, but I can't. I threw it in too fast.

"One more thought, not only is it a dereliction of duty on the part of the command structure, it is an abuse of power to issue illegal orders."