Friday, April 30, 2004

Torture and stupidity

So, the US staff sergeant accused of sitting on a prisoner's head whilst masturbating at a camera has had his lawyer tell the world that he "had not had the opportunity to read the Geneva Conventions before being put on guard duty". So that makes it all right then? I'm meant to believe that he didn't know it was wrong? He thought there might be a clause in there somewhere that permitted him to sit on prisoners and wank? God, this is sordid. Not only that, but you can apparently get away with rape if you're a mercenary:
"Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, speaking for central command, told the Guardian: "One contractor was originally included with six soldiers, accused for his treatment of the prisoners, but we had no jurisdiction over him. It was left up to the contractor on how to deal with him."

She did not specify the accusation facing the contractor, but according to several sources with detailed knowledge of the case, he raped an Iraqi inmate in his mid-teens."

I didn't even know they'd outsourced interrogation! What is a privatised interrogation like - "Talk! Or we'll put the wires on you again! But first, a word from our sponsor..."? If it was a British privatised operation, of course, first of all the nasty cop would be late. You'd be there for hours watching the nice cop pace up and down sucking his teeth and looking at his watch. Then they wouldn't be able to torture you due to health and safety requirements, so that would take up more time. With luck, the job might have been given to the firm who released that murderer from jail in Scotland not so long ago and you'd be out in no time. Or if Jarvis had the job, the interrogator would probably get the thumbscrews caught in his cuffs, trip over, fall on the generator and electrocute himself. But the US does these things better, or at least with less embarrassment.

Why they don't outsource interrogation to China like everything else is a mystery.

So, in the same week, we've managed to subject detainees to sexual humiliation, let a rapist go scot free, attempted to solve our legitimacy crisis by shipping in more tanks, forced a flag in Israeli colours on the Iraqis and handed over Fallujah to a Ba'athist general with some shady bunch of gunmen who looks like Saddam on a really bad day. Seriously. This character was deputy chief of staff immediately after the 1991 war and "Chemical Ali"'s right hand man. (Back to Iraq link)

You see what I mean?His "Fallujah Protection Army" is, by my reckoning, the 9th western-sponsored militia in Iraq. There are now: The police. The border police. The river police. The Facility-Protection Service. The Iraqi Civil Defence corps, which isn't anything to do with civil defence, isn't a corps, and is only arguably Iraqi. The Iraqi Army. The Fallujah Protection Army. The Iraqi police SWAT teams. The Iraqi Army emergency reaction force. Things are getting better in Iraq, clearly, at least as far as the employment prospects for gunmen go.

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