the Disillusioned kid
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Sunday, May 02, 2004

Iraq's introduction to the civillised world continues apace with various allegations' of torture and maltreatment of Iraqi prisoners by British and American soldiers. While there have apparently been efforts to suppress much of this in the US media, it has fortunately been impossible to ignore. I don't have time for a coherent analysis of what is going on, but a few things seem to require emphasis:

Guess who they're getting in to run US detention facilities in the region... Geoffrey Miller, the man in charge of the notorious Guantanamo Bay. As Rahul Mahajan points out, you couldn't make this up.

The whole idea of soldiers investigating soldiers is completely unacceptable. One can imagine how the world would have reacted had Saddam offered to have the Mukhbarat (secret police) investigate 'allegations' that his forces were engaging in torture. As Amnesty notes genuinely independent investigations (not to mention serious prosecutions and punishment) are vital.

It is interesting and very worrying to note the apparent involvement of private contractors in interrogations. This mirrors the privatisation of warfare which we have seen recently (the force of private security firms in Iraq constitutes the largest private army in the world and accounts for 25% of the "reconstruction" budget).

My comments on the brutality of what has occurred seem of little consequence, but nonetheless I condemn completely and wholeheartedly these acts of barbarism. There is, however, a tragic inevitability behind the whole thing this is simply amnifestation of the inevitable dynamic of occupation in which the occupying force must dehumanise the people they are oppressing (the "enemy") in order to justify their presence in the country.
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