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May 22, 2004
WaPo: Abuse Not Intended For Interrogations

Scott Highan and Joe Stephens report in today's Washington Post that witness and suspect statements in the Abu Ghraib abuse investigation cast doubt on the notion that the abuse stemmed from military intelligence direction, but instead serviced the amusement and frustration of the MPs assigned to guard them:

Prisoners posed in three of the most infamous photographs of abuse to come out of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were not being softened up for interrogation by intelligence officers but instead were being punished for criminal acts or the amusement of their jailers, according to previously secret documents obtained by The Washington Post. ...

In one of the most striking images to surface, a detainee jokingly referred to as "Gilligan" by the MPs was forced to stand on a box of food, with wires connected to his fingers, toes and penis. [Spec. Sabrina] Harman said she attached the wires to "Gilligan" and told him he would be electrocuted if he fell off the box.

"Why did you do this to the detainee 'Gilligan'?" a military investigator asked.

"Just playing with him," Harman said.

Again -- a lack of discipline and training will create problems exactly like this. Until I see some hard evidence indicating otherwise, the abuse problems don't indicate anything else other than bored MPs allowing themselves to become inhumane towards detainees they despised, and a command structure that failed to enforce basic discipline with its reserve units. As more information becomes public, that analysis looks stronger and stronger.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 22, 2004 10:16 AM

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