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President Bush 5: United States 0
Red Cross Stated They Reported Prisoner Abuse
Over One Year Ago!
By Jerri Ann Lewis
Edited by Megan Maloy

Cartoon from Sunday Herald1

"Khatab said he was left naked in the cage for several days, receiving only scant food and water, until the soldiers hung him from a tree by his cuffed hands. "They told me they would bring my wife and hang her next to me," [An Iraqi prisoner] said."2

Testimony of mental and physical abuse such as this, or worse, by Iraqi prisoners of war is now being aired all over the world. However, numerous monthly reports of this abuse date back to April of 2003. A spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated, "It doesn't matter which report it was, we had been telling the US and UK authorities in Baghdad for over a year about the scale of this [abuse and torture] problem. They had been given 10 or more reports. All detailed the same findings. They knew this had been going on for a year."3 One might understand if one or two reports from outside organizations had failed to be seen. Perhaps they were lost in a shuffle of paperwork on the president's desk. However, 10 reports from one organization alone, not to mention how many from other organizations, is inexcusable. One more point made for the score of lies the Bush Administration has spoon-fed Americans.

President Bush said he was not aware of the full extent of the severity of the incidents until the photos were released. Mr. President, how could you misunderstand the numerous concerns expressed by military commanders and at least one senator, the reports from outside organizations (including ICRC), and the many letters and phone calls from family members of the soldiers stationed at the Iraqi prisons, all prior to the publicized photos?4 These reports were obviously not untimely or unclear. They were down-right ignored. One more point to count on the lies told to us.

"In July of 2003, Amnesty International announced it had received reports of torture or ill treatment of prisoners by coalition forces in Iraq. And some weeks after a surprise visit to Abu Ghraib in October, the Red Cross reported to U.S. commanders some of the abuses that would later emerge in the criminal investigation. Rumsfeld said he could not recall hearing about this report."5 How can Rumsfeld be doing a "superb job" if he fails to remember reports of such outrageous occurrences? Point three scored for the pack of lies by a member of the Bush Administration.

President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld insist that the abuse that occurred was restricted to one jail by a few soldiers; however, reports say different. The ICRC and other organizations describe the abuse as "systematic torture" across Iraq.6 One more point to the Bush Administration's scoreboard of lies. (I believe that makes a total of four falsehoods, so far.)

Government officials suggest these crimes were the actions of a few. The accused soldiers are being prepared for trial, and one has already been put through trial. However, statements from some soldiers say they were told by military intelligence to do whatever was necessary to make the detainees talk. One soldier from the 302nd Military Intelligence Battalion that was stationed at the prison quotes: "I do know that military intelligence was in charge of the operation," [Said Sgt. Samuel Provance.] "The only responsibility that the military police had was to secure the detainees."7 Also, a report by The New Yorker said authorization to capture, kill, or question suspects was given by a "special access program" originally used in Afghanistan. The program was extended by Rumsfeld to incorporate Iraqis that might know of a surge in violence that occurred some time last year. Five points for the tally of fibs.

This is only a few of the cock-and-bull stories that have been produced by our current administration. How many more lies must we endure before the end of this term? Thus far we have found President Bush' term of office to be nothing but a pack of lies and deceptions. His tenure has been a complete farce. We need a president who does not only work for his own financial gain and large industries, but for the safety and well-being of all American citizens. America needs an administration that will make us, once again, a democratic country. We deserve government officials that respect our country, as well as its citizens by being truthful with us. The missed warnings of prisoner abuse was a "stain on US honour", but the president's last four years in office have been too.9

1 Cartoon from "How Much Did They Know?" Sunday Herald. May 9, 2004.
2 Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Scott Wilson, "Mistreatment Of Detainees Went Beyond Guards' Abuse" Washington Post. May 10, 2004.
3 James Cusick, "Bush and Blair say they are shocked by the abuse of war prisoners ... but they knew about it two years ago," Sunday Herald. May 9, 2004.
4 Dave Moniz, "U.S. missed chances to stop abuses," USA Today. May 14, 2004.
5 John Diamond "Early signs were given secondary priority," USA Today. May 10, 2004.
6 Suleiman al-Khalidi, "Clashes in Iraq; Powell Says U.S. Troops to Stay," REUTERS. May 16, 2004.
7 Tony Czuczka, "Soldier: Abu Ghraib Prison Abuse Normal," Associated Press, May 20, 2004.
8 Suleiman al-Khalidi, "Clashes in Iraq; Powell Says U.S. Troops to Stay," REUTERS. May 16, 2004.
9 James Cusick, "Bush and Blair say they are shocked by the abuse of war prisoners ... but they knew about it two years ago," Sunday Herald. May 9, 2004.

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