Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Two Stories

Two stories appeared on facing pages of today's Los Angeles Times. The first begins:
An Afghan detainee in U.S. custody was so brutalized before his death that his thigh tissue was "pulpified," a forensic pathologist testified Tuesday at a preliminary hearing for a military police officer charged in the 2002 assault.

"It was similar to injuries of a person run over by a bus," said Lt. Col. Elizabeth Rouse, who performed an autopsy on the detainee, identified only as Dilawar.
Colonel Rouse's testimony came at a hearing for Army Pfc. Willie V. Brand, to determine whether he should be court-martialed for his mistreatment of two Afghan detainees, both of whom died in U.S. custody.
Army investigators testified that Brand acknowledged that he delivered more than 30 consecutive knee strikes to Dilawar as he stood in shackles, his arms chained to a ceiling. But Brand defended his actions, telling investigators that his superiors were aware that the blows were routinely delivered to force detainees to comply with the guards' orders.

"I did what everybody else did. It was not according to doctrine, but that was standard practice. That was how things were done," Brand said in a statement.
As for the second story:
Bush administration lawyers urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit against Iraq brought by U.S. pilots and soldiers who were captured and tortured by Saddam Hussein's regime during the Persian Gulf War of 1991, saying the president believed it could hurt the rebuilding effort in Iraq...

...The 17 former POWs and their families sued Iraq under a 1996 law that opened the courthouse door to claims against terrorist states that practice torture, bombings and hijackings. They said they had been beaten, starved and subjected to electric shocks when they were held as prisoners by the Iraqis. Some emerged with broken bones as well as psychological injuries that have yet to heal.

The lead plaintiff, Lt. Col. Clifford Acree, was in a plane that was shot down by a surface-to-air missile Jan. 17, 1991. He ejected from his plane but suffered a neck injury. He was taken prisoner, blindfolded and handcuffed, and then beaten until he lost consciousness.

His nose was broken, his skull fractured, and he lost 30 pounds during his 47 days of captivity.

Sometimes I run out of words...

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