2004-04-30

Iraqi Prisoners Abused by Americans

Disturbing photographs show Iraqi POWs were subjected to inhumane conditions in American custody at Abu Ghraib prison, according to news reports. Still worse, an American soldier who complained of the abuse was silenced by superior officers. According to the AP report on Fox News:

Army Reserves Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick wrote that an Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad lacked the humane standards of the Virginia state prison where he worked in civilian life, according to a journal he started after military investigators first questioned him in January.

The Iraqi prisoners were sometimes confined naked for three consecutive days without toilets in damp, unventilated cells with floors 3 feet by 3 feet, Frederick wrote in materials obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

"When I brought this up with the acting BN (battalion) commander, he stated, 'I don't care if he has to sleep standing up.' That's when he told my company commander that he was the BN commander and for me to do as he says," Frederick wrote.

The writings were supplied by Frederick's uncle, William Lawson, who said Frederick wanted to document what was happening to him. ...

All freedom lovers must join in condemning any such abuse. This goes against everything we stand for. President Bush has wasted no time in giving his reaction:

President Bush has condemned the apparent mistreatment of some Iraqi prisoners, saying, "Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America. I didn't like it one bit."

He was asked about photos showing Iraqi prisoners naked except for hoods covering their heads, stacked in a human pyramid, one with a slur written in English on his skin. That and other scenes of humiliation have led to criminal charges against six American soldiers. Arab television stations were leading their newscasts on Friday with the photos.

"I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated," Bush said. ...

It is essential that we root out not only this anti-human behavior itself, but also address the underlying problems in the military hierarchy that allowed these obscenities to happen. I trust all freedom lovers in America and elsewhere will join in insisting on a full investigation and the strictest justice for those responsible.