Torturing Iraq in an Unnecessary War

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Iraq, War Views: 3860

The humiliation, abuse, torture and perhaps even murder of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. and British forces have enormous implications - if the American and British publics choose not to deny them. In the "us" versus "them" climate that wars often bring, however, excusing or downplaying abuses by "our team" is quite common. In the current Iraq prison scandal, many American newspapers-including the flagship New York Times-buried the shocking photos of Iraqi prisoners being humiliated and tortured in their interior pages. American newspapers and media outlets, conscious of the bottom-line, know that their readers and viewers feel uncomfortable when being exposed to gross misconduct by "Team USA," especially when many prisoners should already have been released in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention. A U.S. Army report noted that more than 60 percent of the civilian inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison were deemed to be no threat to society. Unfortunately for the Anglo-American war cause, the rest of the world's newspapers and media outlets showcased the story of prisoner abuse rather than burying it.

The British and American governments attempted to quell the uproar by deeming the abuse an isolated incident among the many valiant Anglo-American military men and women of high ethical standards. But Brigadier General Mark Kimmit, the spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, said that he couldn't rule out such abuses in other U.S.-operated prisons in Iraq. After all, the entire Iraqi prison system was supervised by one person-Brigadier General Janis Karpinsky - who was relieved of her command by the Army. And undoubtedly U.S. military intelligence and CIA interrogators frequented most or all of the prisons-trolling for information that would be of help furthering the counterinsurgency.

Seymour Hersh, a journalist who exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and has investigated the abuses in Iraq's prisons for the New Yorker, concluded, "The 372nd's [a reserve military police unit] abuse of prisoners seemed almost routine-a fact of Army life that the soldiers felt no need to hide." Hersh's statement is dramatically illustrated by the photos taken of Iraqi prisoners being tortured and humiliated. It was conscientious British soldiers who gave photos to the British press of their fellow soldiers beating an Iraqi prisoner with rifle butts. The soldiers said that the horrific treatment of Iraqi prisoners was widespread, and that the coalition was fighting a losing war because of the fierce opposition such abuse generated in Iraq. Now the photos have circled the globe, acting as a magnet to recruit jihadists-inflamed by the sexually explicit humiliation of prisoners in a conservative Islamic culture-to the fight in Iraq.

For the sake of argument, however, let's assume that the U.S. and British governments are correct that the Abu Ghraib incident is an aberration, not the rule. Are the top echelons of the U.S. and British governments absolved of guilt? Quite the contrary. In any unnecessary war, the leaders of the attacking side are morally responsible for all deaths in the enemy military: accidental killings of civilians (the military euphemism is "collateral damage") as well as abuses by rogue elements of those same groups toward enemy prisoners. The military leaders set up the situation in which the deaths and abuse occurred.

And there is little doubt that this war was unnecessary. After no "weapons of mass destruction" were found and allegations arose that the Bush administration had twisted and exaggerated intelligence to make its case for war, the administration's changing emphasis on its justifications for the invasion should be a hint that the invasion of Iraq was a "war of choice" a euphemism for an unnecessary war. Already, the sins of this quagmire are many. The moral bankruptcy of torturing and abusing Iraqi prisoners, many of whom may have done nothing wrong, can be added to the ever-growing pile.

Ivan Eland is the Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California and author of the book, Putting "Defense" Back into U.S. Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World.

  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Iraq, War
Views: 3860

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Older Comments:
For 15 Anomolies surrounding the death of Nick Berg, read this:

Nick Berg's father confirms that while sitting on a bus, a man who is now known to be a "terrorist" was using Nick Berg's computer who had given this man his laptop, and gave him the password to his e-mail account.

Also consider this:
* 1999: Ihab Mahammed Ali, an al Qaeda member arrested in Orlando, Florida, and later named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, is called before a grand jury. He denies participation in bin Laden's network and is charged with perjury. The FBI learns that Ali had obtained flight training at the Airman Flight School in Norman, Oklahoma. Ali became al Qaeda's first pilot. Accused September 11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui also took flight lessons at the Airman school.

BOTH BERG AND MOUSSAOUI ATTENDED AIRMAN FLIGHT SCHOOL: The Airman Flight School is centrally located in Norman, Oklahoma, and only minutes away from Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. Norman is the home to the University of Oklahoma; its residents enjoy all the conveniences of a major metropolitan area. Norman averages more than 300 days of VFR weather per year, for year-round flight training. On IFR days, students in advanced courses continue training on instruments.

Peace to you Marlene. I am not debating with you about Christians and Jews cornering or not cornering "the market of disgusting behaviour" as you have said. Rather I am trying to explain to you the realities of what has happened in Iraq. Thousands of photos adn videos of Iraqi's being murdered and women who are covered up being raped and forced to have oral intercourse are being restricted by U.S. Congress...ok now let's think for a minute - Nick Berg's decapitation by a bunch of guys who have not been properly identified but skewed to brainwash Americans to believe that Muslims in Iraq are "barbarians," so his video is allowed to be released with no restrictions imposed on it, as gruesome as it is, but videos of Iraqi women being raped and Iraqi men being murdered inside and outside of prison is restricted by the Pentagon and US Congress? How does that make sense...I want to see the video of how U.S. soldiers murdered an Iraqi man by beating him to death and then packed him up with ice and wrapped saran wrap around him. I want the world to see this gruesome nature of more than just 7 U.S. soldiers, BECAUSE IT'S TRUE. And once you try to conceal the truth, in arabic Muslims know that concealing of the truth is, dajjala, which means the same thing. I am referring to this word b/c it is used by our Holy Prophet (SAAW) to give the name to the anti-Christ in Islam, or Al Masih Ad-Dajjal (which means The False Messiah), the same meaning as anti-Christ. in Pre-Islamic Arabia, camels that had bruises or injuries, would be covered up with tar to conceal their wounds, so this was called dajjala, concealing the truth.

If that is the image the US Administration and the Pentagon wish to give to Muslims, of concealing the truth at every chance they get, well then you will never convince us that you wish to spread freedom, for your government authorities are no role models to be following, but are rather indulging in hypocrisy.


Islam is not questionable with me. There is way too much generalizations on this board, and it is wrong to attribute to all the actions of some. Pretty simple.

I stand by my statement that Christians and Jews have not cornered the market on disgusting behavior; it does not "belong" to just some religions or race of people.

You are entitled to your opinions as much as I am, but anyone that refuses to cooperate with a murder investigation that might find justice for the victim and their family has no moral high ground with me.

Nothing more pathetic like Americans trying to justify rape, torture and murder. ANd why shouldnt they ? Its how they've operated for over 225 years.
Dont believe the lies folks, Americans are upset because hard proof is now out confirming what these terrorists are doing to the people of Iraq

Oh right Marlene, let's see, the killing of an Iraqi prisoner by beating him to death and packing him with saran wrap, oh but they only beat him...and that's quite novel isn't it? Stop trying to justify that the US administration's illegal invasion of Iraq. If you want peace, stop sticking your nose into the business of people all over hte world. Go look for oil in Israel.

Answer to Marlene. What Stern said is perfectly true. You are the ignorant here that tries to make a point on islam with people whose islam is questionable. Let me educate you on some aspect6s of Islam and Middle East.
Islam, an Arabic word meaning largely, "Pacified", referring to the spiritual state of absolute peace achieved when you realized your lord, that is God. God is an English word denoting the GOD that is known as Allah, Ilah, Elaha, Yahwe, Jehova, Dieu, Dios, etc. All these names as well as others are perfectly legitimate. The Quran says, "To God belong the most beautiful names" Whoever atempts to differenciate between Allah and "God" it would be like trying to differentiate between your paternal aunt and your father's sister! If you want to learn about Islam and its righteousness you have to go to the source of knowledge: "the Quran." If you watch people and their misconduct especially, you learn nothing. If I want to learn about American Judeo-Christian culture and contribution to the modern civilization, I will not go in the ganglands or to the mob to learn about it. But I will go to legitimate institutions, like the army for instance, do you get my drift? Or is the US army not a ligit institution? Is al-Qaeda? Who made al-Qaeda ligit? Name me one Muslim legal istitution that declared al-Qaeda as the representatives of al-Islam! Not legal institutions might have had, as well as KKK would declare the Socialist Nazi Parti as the legit party of the Europeans.
There are certain forces acting in Iraq. One one hand is the US invaders and occupyers with the COW and those Iraqis that see this as a good idea(they are Muslims too). On the other hand the insurgeants that don't see the occupation as a good idea(they are Muslims too) and last the foreign terrorists that have an unsolved dispute with US and they would use anything holy or not to get their plans of inflicting damage to the US(these also are Muslims). To which ones you referred, Marlene?

David Stern says muslims that follow their teachings are humane, kind and gentle while Christians and Jews have cornered the market on torture, rape, murder etc. and offers Tom Hamill and others to prove it. That is quite a novel approach. Let's see, he was hit on the head, shot, kidnapped and in fear of his life, but they fed him. Same with the Italians, but they were fed. Guess he forgot the murder of one of them. Think he also forgot the murders in SA. Call me silly, but logic just doesn't bear out his reasoning that the Christians and Jews have corned the market on disgusting and immoral behavior. Then there is David Berg. If muslims don't like being painted with a broad brush about 9/11, and they shouldn't, they need to use better logic than David Stern.

The article obviously has an anti-western slant. The righteousness of the war should be apparent to all Muslims, as they were the ones who benefitted. Where is the outrage on this website over the execution yesterday in the name of the "Religion of Peace"??

I would like to say as a American. I do not agree with what our President has done. I feel nothing but deep sorrow for what my country as bestowed upon the Iraqs. This war should have never happened. Thier were no threats from the Iraqs..and no mass destruction weapons we envaded a country that had no threats to us..and have killed thousands of innocent people.And we have lost many of our American soldiers for what over a lie. Its time to take a stand and stop this hatered..and get rid of our President he has ruined our country and humilated the Iraqs for too long. I just wish that we could all get alone. But what our president has done to the Iraqis and Arabs is unforgivable these killing will not stop until we get a new President. I can't stand this. If I was to go fight for my country I would say no..I would be fighting for a lie until Bush pulls put our troops the killings will not stop and thousands more will be killed and for what a LIE all caused by my President. I'm deeply sorry for what my country has done to yours. I cannot begin to think of all the pain and sorrow you all have been through. I myself do not have any threats to your counrty. I just wish others could feel that way
My deppest Symphanys
Christa Lester

ME FROM US said:
The freedom of the US is that one is allowed their opinoin....

These acts of abuse are like a rotten cherry that rots the whole bowl of good fruit. It is a shame that these individuals cannot see how we have "learned" to get "along" with our neighbor although we have different beliefs. I live across from a Japanese neighbor who has become one of our best friends. An Indian lady comes by with her grandaughter daily to play with our cat, who we sometimes share snacks with.... don't mistaken a few. Many are generous as well. I don't think it's a matter of Americans looking at "Team America"... I think it is a matter of individuals unhappy for ALL harmed. WE are ALL not the same... as I am to believe you are too!

Although I condemn what the coalition soldiers have done to the Iraqi soldiers, I am more appalled that some Iraqi group has behaded a young American civilian. The reason why I am more appalled is that those who have done the gruesome murder said they did it for Allah. That type of perversion is anti Islamic and Muslims should speak against it very loudly. This is a tragedy added to more tragedy (the Iraqi tortures).

I would like to appeal to the people responsible for this website to write an article about the wrongness of such acts and the unlawfulness of revengeful acts, which were stopped by the prophet Mohammed. Muslims should really discuss the wrong our fellow Muslims do, especially terrorism. If Muslims continue to be silent on this, our children will pay for it. We have to defend our faith against those who commit abhorent acts and claim that they are following Islamic teachings.

Speaking as a Christian from the United States, I want to say that I feel such deep sorrow about the actions that some of my fellow citizens caused. I have spent my whole life trying to decrease pain and violence through hospital social work, christian outreach and now University research. My heart aches for those who have suffered at the hands of all militants. Some of us are praying for peace, unity and healing. We have written letters throughout this affair to several government officials opposing the violence. Please know that some of us understand that Jesus Christ and the Prophet (peace be upon them) both taught high moral living. We all worship God. We all want security for our families. I pray that the "team of peace" is the one that prevails in the end.

BNAK said:
Excellent Comments Mr.John Papsworth. Hats off to you!
May Allah bless Mr.Papsworth and Mr.Stern!

BNAK said:
Excellent Comments Mr.David Stern. Hats off to you.

For the dear Iraqis whose detained family members are physically or sexually abused, humiliated, burned, dismembered, dragged publicly through the streets or beheaded by their masked assailants, I send my deepest sympathies. Any such action wrenchs the hearts and disgusts any "reasonable person", a euphemism for any responsible American.

Unfortunately, many Iraqi men and women had been tormented by these and worse practices long before any direct, American or British government activity there.

Consider this question, "What military engagement is not a war of choice?" Secondly, "Why must you conclude that when choice is involved, there must be no necessity- (in the article the writer says war of choice is an unnecessary war.)

Peace, kindness, mutual-respect, unselfish global fraternization- these character qualties, must be actions of CHOICE-


It appears that you do not think that removing Hussein from Iraq was necessary, since weapons of mass destruction were not readily unearthed there.

May God raise up influential and honorable leaders, whose choices enable and lead people to call upon the Name of the Lord.

But, the heart of man is desparately wicked and prone to unpredictable evils. May God have mercy on us, forgive our sins, humble our hearts, and teach us that we truly need Him every hour!


The U.S. has and will continue to do many great things for IRAQ. Please don't forget that 5 weeks ago 4 contractors from the US who were helping rebuild Iraq were burned alive then hung from a bridge. Why don't we show all the horrible things that the Iraq's have done to Americans? Also, don't forget that IRAQ and Osama Bin Laden killed 3000 Americans in one day on September 11th, 2001. Get real-

I'd like to thank David Stern for reminding us
of the treatment of the prisoners in
Afghanistan by the Taliban. The Taliban set an
example; actually upheld a standard of
practice used in warfare. The small Bush
should take his WMD's out of Iraq and retrain
them on the etiquette of care of prisoners.
Being an American Muslim I first felt anger
and then realized that the savagery used
against the Iraq prisoners....this behavior was
also used/demonstrated during the times of
slavery here in the good ol' U S of A. Any
punishment dealt to these WMD's, Inshala,
will come soon, before retaliation raises it's
ugly head once again.
Peace and Blessings to all

Elizabeth Inchbald is right in implying that Muslims are a disunited lot. Even with 1.5 billion Muslims in the world there are no strategic alliances of considerable strength to speak of which can influence global policies. The reasons for this malaise are many and complex . However the Koran has stated emphatically that Muslims should unite and strengthen their communities but this is nowhere to be seen. We have the absurd situation where rulers of rich countries like Saudi Arabia , Kuwait and others like Egypt , UAE etc closely aligned to the US and some even allowing their countries to be used as bases to attack Iraq. What an unbelievable situation. The other reason for Muslim disunity are the sectarian differences eg Shia , Sunnis and other subsects. The enemies of Islam have used these weakness to subjucate Muslim countries. The Koran states that God does not love those to divide His religion. What Muslims need to do is to go back to their purity of their faith which are the divine teachings in the Koran.

With regard to this article the spin from the US and the UK will be that their systems are transparent and as a result the abuses of the resistance fighters ( not insurgents ) have been brought to the open. What the US and UK are not openly disclosing is that it is one soldier who released these visual images otherwise this controversy would not have made an impact despite prior protestations from Amnesty International and the Red Cross. God Willing the sham of this unjust war will be brought to the open and the perperators taken to a criminal court . But I honestly doubt whether these revelations will wake the Americans up from their delusionary world. I hope I am wrong.

The US and other Forigen Forces Should Get out of Iraq or else the Iraqis will face the same.

Dear David Stern

I just want to thank you for your excellent observation of facts. Your comments deserve to be a feature article in your leading newspapers, but that would be asking for a black dove! given the Zionist-controlled US media. As Muslims we can not expect any sympathy from such quarters at all. In fact they have websites purely to smear Muslims by concentrating on negative news that comes out of Islamic countries. Such twisted minds that spend its entire existance in pursuit of vile hatred. Such are the aims of Zionists in this life. What utter insult to the Creator who has given us divinity in this life purely by giving us life and free will. Yet they make it their life's purpose to squander such gift.

No one can find such devious pursuit within a Muslim's mind. We aim to worship the One God, pay charity and be kind to ALL. Anyone of us who does otherwise would not be able to live amongst
his/her community with any measure of dignity, let alone be given the mantle of respect.

And neither we expect gratitude from anyone except Allah s.w.t. but those who acknowledge such with gratitude, like Mr. Stern, will surely find their rewards with Allah for HE loves those who speak the truth.

ABDUL said:
It is time to read the articles of Geneva Conventions related to the War(go on internet). Whatever happening in Iraq and Palestine are
1)war crimes and they should be tried for War crimes from lowest to superiors.
2)It is oppression/genocide/holocast/crusade.
3)It is terrorism/ destruction followed by missionaries-reconstruction.
5)No Western country has ever helped Muslims when they were tortured / killed by non-muslims. except for their selfish reason.They even use muslims against muslims.

These are the policies and decisions made jointly by extremists(terrorists)in usa and israel and carried out on muslims.SHAME.

At this time only ALLAH can do the best Justice.

The media and western countries are against the most peaceful religion(ISLAM).Read Quran and Hadith- You will find the Islam was perfect religion of the past, present and future.It is a complete religion for the mankind.

USA is a great Country with good people but it is infected by deadly virus. Majority of the people in this country are naive and they need to know about Islam from the books instead of media and Radicals/extremists in Islam, christianity or Jewish. Most christians even do not know the basic that muslims believe in JESUS(as a Prophet).

Excellent Comment by David Stern and I would also like to add that even under Sadaam during the first days of the war the captured US soldiers were treated with dignity and respect.
This tradition of treating POW with respect goes back to the time of the Prophet(Peace Be Upon Him)
When the prisoners back them would say "Bless be the men of Mecca, they give us their last bread while they content themselves with dates and water".

First of all i would like to thank David Stern for pointing out the facts about what happend when people were abducted in Afganistan and how fairy and humanely they were treated yet its a shame that they got accused for violating human rights?

Being a Muslim it icredibally angers me to see the pictures that were published yet although angered i dont think that even for justice or revenge i could do the same to the perpetrators, i just couldnt. i only pray that Allah gives strength to the freedom fighters in Iraq and eventually Kick the occupiers out.

These fundamental hardcore christians are hitting the very fundamentals of Muslims and Islam as hard as possible. Unfortunaly we muslims are still sleeping and not responding properly/appropriately to protect Muslims and Islam.

If we muslims sleep like this, these Christians and Jews terrorist will surely wipe out muslims. They very well know that they can NOT touch Islam or win Islam. Thats why they choose to humiliate, kill, rape muslims all over the world.

Remember, in Nigeria, CHRISTIAN TERRORISTS are murdering Muslims now. Can you imagine how cheap a muslim's life is? Can you imagine how easily they are targetting muslims and killing muslims.

In todays world, killing muslims has become very easy and for most of the Christians and Jews its become hobby.


Leaders of western Iraq have recommended that Paul Bremer free all of the so-called "detainees" (who have been abducted by U.S. personnel) as a gesture of good faith. In my view, these leaders have just thrown a lifeline to Paul Bremer - and that Paul Bremer should seriously consider grabbing it, especially considering how any plausible legitimacy (after June 30) for the U.S. insurgency would still be more than seven weeks away. Also, my thinking is that the United States should hereafter avoid any attempts to persecute the Iraqis of one province for the sake (theoretically) of the Iraqis of another province.

I have sympathies for all americans who have been mislead by a man who's only wish was to score a personal agenda (what the elder failed)! The horrendous tortures in Iraq against the Iraqis by the american soldiers reflect the true goals set by this leader. I pray to the almighty that all you other true kind americans show your disagreements against such leaders in your coming presidential elections. Our world need peace - Only Bush, Sharon & Osama do not!

Someone please explain to me why Americans are so utterly stupid? For all the money, power, wealth and affluence they have, they behave like a wild, insane, inhuman, outlandishly racist bunch. If the American media, such as the dopes at Fox news or the so called American "journalists" represent the character of Americans, then what we have here is a foul bunch of mad people who need to be stopped at all costs before they usher in World War III by their incredible global insanity. Further I am quite surprised that Muslims remain so nonchalant in the face of all the terrible insults and shame they are subject to. Is it that Muslims have no dignity and just don't care or that they are a people who have essentially lost all fight and heart? Have Muslims lost the will to stand up and fight for what is rightfully theirs? How very sad - almost 3 billion people with religion only on their lips and nothing to show for it.

Herein lies the problem I have with both Christianity and Judaism. For all the self righteous rot they preach about love, humanity and charity and purportedly aspire to a higher cause and values, the reality of their most awful and shameful behaviour, overtly encouraged by their rabbis and priests and a mad cap right wing media jumping into this bandwagon of lunatics, betrays an inherently hypocritical, virulently racist, violent, hateful and sexually perverted people. Their obsession with homosexuality betrays their national trauma at their own sexual inadequacies and accurately reflects the nation's psyche as a dysfunctional lot, led by a dysfunctional leader. I do not know where I had once read this but it rings so true now- the nature and actions of a nation's leader properly represents the character of the people he leads. George Bush - a man who spent his formative years drunk, hardly sets a proper example for his children, who have an ongoing problem with drugs and alcohol. The man lies through his teeth and assumes that he somehow pleases God and washes his sins by ridding the earth of the Muslim menace. Bush actually believes he is divinely guided, encouraged by a maniacal coalition of Jews and Christian lobbyists who use this fool to further their own political interests. If ever they needed a character for that story of the King who wore no clothes, George Bush is it. I also cannot believe that this man wet to Yale. That does not say a whole lot about American education standards, does it?

The disgusting behaviour of these soldiers does not reflect how the majority of American soldiers act. Nor do their actions reflect the majority of Americans moralE standards. Their disgusting actions seemed to be more in line with Saddam and his men (I have seen videos). These soldiers will face justice.

No one has observed one very vital thing. When the Christian Evangelist group of men and women were arrested in Afghanistan by the Taliban, they were treated with respect and dignity. In fact one lady from the group commented that the Taliban gave them three meals and even washed their clothes for them. The group was mostly women, but no one was raped, tortured or executed. Thomas Hamill confirmed that he was treated well - Not tortured or stripped naked and subject to any perversions. The three Italians still prisoners in Iraq, were seen, well and eating meals and clothed. Yvonne Ridley, the British journalist who was captured by the Taliban was so struck and intrigued by the their respectful and humane treatment of her that she converted to Islam and soon wrote a book, 'Escape from the Taliban'. This speaks volumes about the difference between Islam and the other major religions. Muslims following their teaching under Islam are humane, kind and gentle, while the Christians and Jews have cornered the market on torture, rape, murder, humiliation and sexual perversion. I am not just amazed by this tendency of the Americans and British for homosexual proclivities, but I am quite floored, but also deeply saddened at how the utterly shameful American and Jewish media not only gloss over these facts but are in fact un-repentant and incredibly, have even tried to justify what the Americans and British did as being incidental to a war environment. Rush Limbaugh the child like drug addict and the commentators from the Jewish owned "News Propaganda" groups like Fox news and the New York Post, disgustingly even went so far as to cheer what torture and humiliation of Arabs and Muslims. It will be a small wonder when someday, all this gross behavior comes back to haunt these American and British monsters. And I don't think that day is too far off.

Imagine. The Americans have no business to be in Iraq.Yet they are torturing the Iraqis. If this is not a henious crime, what do you call it?