Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » 82nd Airborne Officers Reveal Widespread Torture Among 82nd Airborne

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: 82nd Airborne Officers Reveal Widespread Torture Among 82nd Airborne
David Ricardo
Member
Member # 1678

 - posted      Profile for David Ricardo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Several officers in the 82nd Airborne, dismayed by the torture that they witnessed themselves within the 82nd Airborne, have come forward to reveal that torture of Iraqis was widespread even before and after Abu Ghraib. First, they brought their complaints to their superior officers, and when they were ignored by their superiors in the military, they went straight to United States Senators to get someone to hear their embarrassing story of torture within the 82nd Airborne:

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1108972,00.html

http://hrw.org/reports/2005/us0905/

(second link is the full report)

quote:
The new allegations center around systematic abuse of Iraqi detainees by men of the 82nd Airborne at Camp Mercury, a forward operating base located near Fallujah, the scene of a major uprising against the U.S. occupation in April 2004, according to sources familiar with the report and accounts given by the Captain, who is in his mid-20s, to Senate staff. Much of the abuse allegedly occurred in 2003 and 2004, before and during the period the Army was conducting an internal investigation into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, but prior to when the abuses at Abu Ghraib became public. Other alleged abuses described in the Human Rights report occurred at Camp Tiger, near Iraq's border with Syria, and previously in Afghanistan. In addition, the report details what the Captain says was his unsuccessful effort over 17 months to get the attention of military superiors. Ultimately he approached the Republican senators.

The Human Rights Watch report—as well as accounts given to Senate staff—describe officers as aware of the abuse but routinely ignoring or covering it up, amid chronic confusion over U.S. military detention policies and whether or not the Geneva Convention applied. The Captain is quoted in the report describing how military intelligence personnel at Camp Mercury directed enlisted men to conduct daily beatings of prisoners prior to questioning; to subject detainees to strenuous forced exercises to the point of unconsciousness; and to expose them to extremes of heat and cold—all methods designed to produce greater cooperation with interrogators. Non-uniformed personnel—apparently working for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to the soldiers—also interrogated prisoners. The interrogators were out of view but not out of earshot of the soldiers, who overheard what they came to believe was abuse.

Specific instances of abuse described in the Human Rights Watch report include severe beatings, including one incident when a soldier allegedly broke a detainee's leg with a metal bat. Others include prisoners being stacked in human pyramids (unlike the human pyramids at Abu Ghraib, the prisoners at Camp Mercury were clothed); soldiers administering blows to the face, chest and extremities of prisoners; and detainees having their faces and eyes exposed to burning chemicals, being forced into stress positions for long periods leading to unconsciousness and having their water and food withheld.

As the highly-decorated captain in the report said:

quote:
I would be told, "These guys were IED [improvised explosive device] trigger men last week." So we would **** them up. **** them up bad ... At the same time we should be held to a higher standard. I know that now. It was wrong. There are a set of standards. But you gotta understand, this was the norm. Everyone would just sweep it under the rug."


[ September 24, 2005, 10:43 AM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

Posts: 1429 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
New headline for you David:

"Ignore this thread, it's another David-Ricardo-saying-how-the-US-is-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket, you're-not-really-a-TRUE-fiscal-conservative quote-a-thon."

Terrible story about that torture though. This isn't generally a successful hearts-and-minds tactic.

Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kenmeer livermaile
Member
Member # 2243

 - posted      Profile for kenmeer livermaile   Email kenmeer livermaile       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Lest we forget, war is a nasty business.

At home, attempts to convey this essential fact too often run against a form of denial too often confused with patriotism.

From now on, we won't just *shoot* the messneger. We'll TORTURE him!

Posts: 23297 | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Warsaw, rather than dismiss the messenger, how about you address the topic. Last I heard, you were saying that reports of torture had been exaggerated....
Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sancselfieme
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Seriously, what do any of you really expect from the person who believes that war is more desirable than peace.

I have generally observed at this forum that WarsawPact has very little empathy for the people who die or are maimed in the wars and aggressive policies he pursues. It truly frightens me that he has said he actually wishes to create policy someday, and that if he works hard enough at decieving people of his true nature he might make it to a position where he can. He seems to consider actual people involved with his hypothetical conflicts, and even the real one in Iraq, as chess pieces or machinery, and is always quick to offer very little criticism of the war movement even when something is very apparently wrong, such as in this case.

Even in his token statement of human sympathy for the victims, he frames it with
quote:
"Ignore this thread, it's another David-Ricardo-saying-how-the-US-is-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket, you're-not-really-a-TRUE-fiscal-conservative quote-a-thon."

Terrible story about that torture though. This isn't generally a successful hearts-and-minds tactic.



[ September 25, 2005, 02:12 AM: Message edited by: Sancselfieme ]

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kenmeer livermaile
Member
Member # 2243

 - posted      Profile for kenmeer livermaile   Email kenmeer livermaile       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ironically, one of my favorite things about War is his willingness to take and hold an unpopular stance and stick with it.

But that doesn't mean I agree with the stance. Thus, the deliciously facetious accuracy of "torture... isn't generally a successful hearts-and-minds tactic" is lost because it is delivered from a platform that appears not to discern the raw reality that war itself is torture.

[ September 25, 2005, 11:35 AM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

Posts: 23297 | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Warsaw, rather than dismiss the messenger, how about you address the topic.
You took my post precisely the wrong way. If I wanted the thread to die, I would have let it go by with zero replies. It was already more than halfway down the page, and none of you had responded.

That happens sometimes to David Ricard's posts. How often do you see a thread by David Ricardo and not know within a general category, exactly what he's posting?

This is different. While I still think David should post some good news once in a while, I think this thread deserved some attention.

quote:
Last I heard, you were saying that reports of torture had been exaggerated....
First: are you sure you're only attributing my posts to me?

Second: I do believe that many reports of torture and other mistreatment have been exaggerated and even fabricated. That doesn't mean that those true instances are anywhere near acceptable. Our position in the world becomes much more difficult to hold when we are not perceived as the good guys. We cannot, as a nation, allow our image to be recast as sadistic. It's too costly, and it's a dangerous sign when our military is showing a distinct lack of discipline.

As for the actual human cost of war: that's actually terrible. I get it. I'm not going to go write poetry about it, but I understand how terrible it is. As I've said before: that's why it works.
But the fact that war is torture for many parties -- if not for others -- does not make it any less necessary. Enforced peace is often torture, too.
-=-=-=-=-
Sancself:
quote:
I have generally observed at this forum that WarsawPact has very little empathy for the people who die or are maimed in the wars and aggressive policies he pursues.
Wrong. The empathy is there. What you're detecting is a lack of sympathy.

You're afraid of the mixture of that and politics?

What about when I've brought up things like the insurgents using wheelchair-bound kids with Down's syndrome to attack lines of voters? Or torturing and killing an Iraqi policeman, then gutting him and sewing explosives inside his belly so that when others came to pick him up, they could blow up those people too?

What was the response when I typed that?

"Oh, we don't want to inflame the people who want to continue the war."
"It's not that we agree with it, it's that we want to be silent about it because it legitimizes your kind of violence."
"You're trying to push blind patriotism. That's propoganda."

quote:
It truly frightens me that he has said he actually wishes to create policy someday, and that if he works hard enough at decieving people of his true nature he might make it to a position where he can.
Can you veil your personal attacks more thinly, perhaps? Thanks.

quote:
He seems to consider actual people involved with his hypothetical conflicts, and even the real one in Iraq, as chess pieces or machinery, and is always quick to offer very little criticism of the war movement even when something is very apparently wrong, such as in this case.
Again, you misunderstood my purpose in posting on this thread; I've made it clear that I'll denounce both torture by Americans and the insurgents who I believe we are successfully, rightly fighting. I have invited others to do the same. Nobody who initially disagreed with me has taken up my offer.

And when you say that I see the people involved as "actual" but also as "chess pieces or machinery," you're right. Each person is an object in addition to being a person. I've seen nothing that could convince me otherwise, yet, though I remain open to a solid enough proof. People also are actors in a world in which their actions affect lots of other people, and manipulating the actions of some people -- like the Taliban -- can be very helpful to achieve wanted effects. If you think of people (all people) entirely as ends and not as means, you cut off a huge number of angles you could otherwise be using to save the Good at the expense of the Bad.

If you perceive anything to be desireable, then denying that people use other people to accomplish what they want is pure foolishness. We all gain from our personal networks and from our ability to use friends to accomplish ends.

Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Tom, it ain't "kill the messenger" if you actually read the message. I read WP as saying that this is important and relevant in spite of the fact that David posted it, why he posted it, and how he posted it.

As I see it, part of the problem is this: Americans and Europeans wax shrill and sanctimonious about terrorism, torture and human rights, but we've never really sat down and defined what terrorism or torture are. (Torture is better defined than terrorism, but still unacceptably vague.) So when things get heated up, we tend to define terrorism and torture in terms of "that's what the bad guys do," while using the same techiques ourselves.

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:

I read WP as saying that this is important and relevant in spite of the fact that David posted it, why he posted it, and how he posted it.

Ah. I read the line "terrible story about the torture" as being almost completely dismissive.
Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I might have too, if I hadn't read the very next sentence.

quote:
Originally posted by WarrsawPact:
Terrible story about that torture though. This isn't generally a successful hearts-and-minds tactic.



[ September 26, 2005, 05:09 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We can all agree on one thing: I need to type with a little more clarity.

Sorry for the misunderstandings. This really is an important issue, and we should be extremely concerned about the state of our military if discipline in combat has not worn out but these kinds of practices continue. It's speaking to something troubling in the mind-set of our military -- not, as I previously suspected, only in a few dark corners. The reports are a bit too widespread to chalk it up to one or two bad commanding officers who couldn't keep their unit under control.

Nor can we take it all the way up to the Pentagon. This is not a policy issue within the DoD, with soldiers reading the legalese and deciding that one kind of beating is technically legal.
If they are confused as to what is and is not legal, that is indeed a policy problem, but there's only so much you can believe: "I really didn't know that exposing someone's eyes to burning chemicals was illegal under Geneva, sir."

That means that someone in the intelligence community (as that term is defined today -- probably military intelligence and/or CIA) actually thinks that these tactics are effective at achieving something. What that "something" is, I don't know.

Thoughts?

Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
FIJC
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's not a policy problem.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 99

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Then what would it be, Rebecca? Have you been lunching lately with a charming CIA operative who's been explaining his plan to revamp the military into a torturer's guild? Or how do you know? *grin*
Posts: 22935 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
FIJC
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I know nothing, but I am beginning have an uneasy feeling at the pit of my stomach.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
A. Alzabo
Member
Member # 1197

 - posted      Profile for A. Alzabo   Email A. Alzabo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
That means that someone in the intelligence community (as that term is defined today -- probably military intelligence and/or CIA) actually thinks that these tactics are effective at achieving something. What that "something" is, I don't know.

Thoughts?

I don't know about this. I've been trying to follow these things as they come up, and a lot of the "interrogation techniques" that keep happening (like putting a sleeping bag over an Iraqi general and beating him to death or hanging guys from the ceiling by their arms) seem to be things that soldiers are pulling out of their collective asses, rather than any kind of "scientific" questioning regime.

This is the sort of thing that goes on in "dirty wars" throughout history. Long deployments, little oversight, soldiers "going native", command failure. And sadistic torture is a circular discipline problem, since it tends to breed more of itself. The only thing special in this case is that the U.S. used to be considered (rightly or wrongly) "the good guys".

Now we just seem to be "the guys". And it really seems to be too late to put the genie back in the bottle. I suggest we prepare for some serious blowback from this over the next 20 years.

Posts: 2519 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Except that we are not seeing soldiers going native, really. We are not seeing that lack of discipline extending anywhere besides the treatment of prisoners, which suggests special circumstances.
Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
A. Alzabo
Member
Member # 1197

 - posted      Profile for A. Alzabo   Email A. Alzabo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Except that we are not seeing soldiers going native, really. We are not seeing that lack of discipline extending anywhere besides the treatment of prisoners, which suggests special circumstances.
Maybe, maybe not. I'm saying this is how it starts. We don't have a good idea that all these prisoners are bad guys. We don't have a good idea of what's going on day-to-day.

Some of the stories I heard from GW I veterans were...really strange. And they weren't in newspapers or on web sites.

Posts: 2519 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
FIJC
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
"Except that we are not seeing soldiers going native, really. We are not seeing that lack of discipline extending anywhere besides the treatment of prisoners, which suggests special circumstances."
It seems to me that some very curious people are actually running the show at the prisons. It just doesn't seem characteristic for traditional military leadership to allow such things to occur.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
David Ricardo
Member
Member # 1678

 - posted      Profile for David Ricardo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nevertheless, these 82nd Airborne officers spent over one whole year complaining to their superiors about the torture that was ongoing within the 82nd Airborne -- only to be completely ignored.

Finally, more than one year later, these 82nd Airborne officers had to go outside the chain of command to report the accounts of torture to United States Senators because the Pentagon and the military did not seem to care whether torture was ongoing within the 82nd Airborne.

What does that say about our military and our Pentagon's attitude towards torture when they repeatedly ignore reports of torture from our own military officers for more than one year?

Posts: 1429 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
David Ricardo
Member
Member # 1678

 - posted      Profile for David Ricardo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Let's put the situation in more specific terms:

http://balkin.blogspot.com/2005/09/shirking-responsibility.html

quote:
Soldiers state they fully appreciated that the abuse to which the detainees were subjected was sanctioned up the chain of command. A decision apparently had been made not to apply the Geneva Conventions in the War on Terror, and unambiguous instructions had come down the line of command to "take the gloves off" with the detainees. But one officer saw Donald Rumsfeld testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2004 saying that the Geneva Conventions were being respected in Iraq. "Something was wrong," he said. The officer went up the chain of command and to the JAGs in theater trying to get clarification of how the Geneva Conventions could possibly permit what was happening. He got nowhere. Moreover, he found he was subjected to implied and direct threats. Asking questions or reporting on what he saw would affect "the honor of the unit" and would damage his career.

The officer attempted to report these matters to several Republican senators. When his intention to do this became clear, officers in his chain of command denied him leave and took other steps to block his actions.

Not only were his military superiors refusing to do anything about his reports of torture within the 82nd Airborne for over 17 months, his military superiors directly and indirectly threatened his military career for daring to speak up about torture. Then, when they found out he was trying to speak to U.S. senators about the torture in the 82nd Airborne, his military superiors immediately took physical actions against him to deny him any leave to see senators back in Washington, D.C.

Seems like a coordinated "smear the war hero who dares to criticize the Pentagon" campaign to me.

[ September 27, 2005, 10:43 AM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

Posts: 1429 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
David Ricardo
Member
Member # 1678

 - posted      Profile for David Ricardo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Captain Fishback's letter to Senator McCain:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/27/AR2005092701527.html

quote:
"A Matter of Honor"

Dear Senator McCain:

I am a graduate of West Point currently serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army Infantry. I have served two combat tours with the 82nd Airborne Division, one each in Afghanistan and Iraq. While I served in the Global War on Terror, the actions and statements of my leadership led me to believe that United States policy did not require application of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan or Iraq. On 7 May 2004, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s testimony that the United States followed the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and the “spirit” of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan prompted me to begin an approach for clarification. For 17 months, I tried to determine what specific standards governed the treatment of detainees by consulting my chain of command through battalion commander, multiple JAG lawyers, multiple Democrat and Republican Congressmen and their aides, the Ft. Bragg Inspector General’s office, multiple government reports, the Secretary of the Army and multiple general officers, a professional interrogator at Guantanamo Bay, the deputy head of the department at West Point responsible for teaching Just War Theory and Law of Land Warfare, and numerous peers who I regard as honorable and intelligent men.

Instead of resolving my concerns, the approach for clarification process leaves me deeply troubled. Despite my efforts, I have been unable to get clear, consistent answers from my leadership about what constitutes lawful and humane treatment of detainees. I am certain that this confusion contributed to a wide range of abuses including death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment. I and troops under my command witnessed some of these abuses in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

This is a tragedy. I can remember, as a cadet at West Point, resolving to ensure that my men would never commit a dishonorable act; that I would protect them from that type of burden. It absolutely breaks my heart that I have failed some of them in this regard.

That is in the past and there is nothing we can do about it now. But, we can learn from our mistakes and ensure that this does not happen again. Take a major step in that direction; eliminate the confusion. My approach for clarification provides clear evidence that confusion over standards was a major contributor to the prisoner abuse. We owe our soldiers better than this. Give them a clear standard that is in accordance with the bedrock principles of our nation.

Some do not see the need for this work. Some argue that since our actions are not as horrifying as Al Qaeda’s, we should not be concerned. When did Al Qaeda become any type of standard by which we measure the morality of the United States? We are America, and our actions should be held to a higher standard, the ideals expressed in documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Others argue that clear standards will limit the President’s ability to wage the War on Terror. Since clear standards only limit interrogation techniques, it is reasonable for me to assume that supporters of this argument desire to use coercion to acquire information from detainees. This is morally inconsistent with the Constitution and justice in war. It is unacceptable.

Both of these arguments stem from the larger question, the most important question that this generation will answer. Do we sacrifice our ideals in order to preserve security? Terrorism inspires fear and suppresses ideals like freedom and individual rights. Overcoming the fear posed by terrorist threats is a tremendous test of our courage. Will we confront danger and adversity in order to preserve our ideals, or will our courage and commitment to individual rights wither at the prospect of sacrifice? My response is simple. If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is “America.”

Once again, I strongly urge you to do justice to your men and women in uniform. Give them clear standards of conduct that reflect the ideals they risk their lives for.

With the Utmost Respect,
—Capt. Ian Fishback

1st Battalion,

504th Parachute Infantry Regiment,

82nd Airborne Division,

Fort Bragg, North Carolina


Posts: 1429 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WarrsawPact
Member
Member # 1275

 - posted      Profile for WarrsawPact   Email WarrsawPact   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm with Capt. Fishback.
Posts: 7500 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Richard Dey
Member
Member # 1727

 - posted      Profile for Richard Dey   Email Richard Dey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Warr: So, is there a means of chasing up the chain of command to determine from whenceforth the fuzziness of this policy was created? Fishback seems to have done his best at discovery, after all, and felt obliged to appeal to us, the public.
Posts: 7866 | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
javelin
Member
Member # 1284

 - posted      Profile for javelin   Email javelin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Dey:
Warr: So, is there a means of chasing up the chain of command to determine from whenceforth the fuzziness of this policy was created? Fishback seems to have done his best at discovery, after all, and felt obliged to appeal to us, the public.

And that's the scariest thing about this. I wonder if we are the only ones that would listen, or not?
Posts: 8614 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1