Welcome To Hell...
Behind the walls of U.S. Detainee Prisons
By Jerri Ann Lewis
As many as 43,000 Iraqi citizens have been captured and detained by United States soldiers during the time of the American occupation. These prisoners were housed in a prison of which Saddam Hussein once controlled. His prisons were known for the harsh cruelty and torturous acts that occurred within its walls. At the start of the war half of the prisonís command was turned over to American military. However, the once abusive nature of the prison returned, not by Hussein, but by some of the soldiers of the United States of America. To make matters worse, an estimated 70 to 90 percent of the detainees have been imprisoned by mistake.1 Welcome to Hell as we look into the tortuous events that occurred behind these walls.
The Iraqi prisoners, as well as many human rights groups, have given details of the interrogation methods used by United States Military Police and Military Intelligence while they were in custody. Our government officials admit to some of these methods including sleep deprivation, shock therapy, mind games, sensory deprivation, and forcing detainees to remain in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time.2 The acknowledgment of these techniques raise obvious questions:
To what extent were these methods used?
How far were the MP's allowed to go in the use these measures?
If ordered to use these coercive techniques, how far up the chain-of-command did the order go?
No matter what the outcome of the investigations, nothing can excuse the hell that the Iraqi detainees went through at the hands of these U.S. soldiers, not even Rush Limbaugh:
This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation, and we're going to ruin people's lives over it, and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You [ever] heard of need to blow some steam off?9
Thoughts such as these are what led to the abusive treatment of the Iraqi prisoners of war. What occurred during their imprisonment was wrong and disgraceful to America and all for which it stands. No one would want their friends, family members, or even animals treated in such a manner. So how can anyone condone the maltreatment of the Iraqi prisoners? If we cannot regain the control and prestige that America once had and put an end to the violence between us and countries like Iraq, horror stories will continue to erupt. The United States of America will no longer be a "Little Peace of Heaven". Instead, it will become "Hell on Earth".
1 Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Scott Wilson, "Mistreatment Of Detainees Went Beyond Guards' Abuse," Washington Post. May 10, 2004.
2 TIME magazine, May 17,2004 P.45.
3 AFP, "US braces for new disturbing accounts of Iraqi prisoner abuse," Yahoo News. May 10, 2004.
4 Jacqueline Frank, "New Images Amplify Abuse at Iraq Prison -Report," REUTERS. May 21, 2004.
5 AFP, "Scandal could become murder, rape inquiry," May 8, 2004.
6 Elsner, "U.S. Reveals Iraqi Prisoners Deaths as Scandal Grows," MYWAY. May 4, 2004.
7 Pete Yost, "Abuse Scandal Focuses on Bush Foundation," Associated Press. May 16, 2004.
8 Charles Aldinger, "Rumsfeld May Extend Scope of Iraq Abuse Probe," REUTERS. June 10, 2004.
9 Meyer, "Rush: MPs Just 'Blowing Off Steam'," . May 6, 2004.
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