What to do with torturers and tortured

A bizarre story from the Los Angeles Times, David G. Savage yesterday (Feb 15). Some US pilots – presumably engaged in the high-tech mass murder of some 100,000 people in Iraq in 1991 (see Blum’s ‘Killing Hope’ for some introductory documentation) – were captured as prisoners of war.

They were awarded $1B from Iraq by a US federal judge as compensation for their treatment by Iraq. The US government is now trying to prevent that $1B from going to the pilots.

According to Savage, this action by the US government pits it “squarely against its own war heroes and the Geneva Convention”.


A bizarre story from the Los Angeles Times, David G. Savage yesterday (Feb 15). Some US pilots – presumably engaged in the high-tech mass murder of some 100,000 people in Iraq in 1991 (see Blum’s ‘Killing Hope’ for some introductory documentation) – were captured as prisoners of war.

They were awarded $1B from Iraq by a US federal judge as compensation for their treatment by Iraq. The US government is now trying to prevent that $1B from going to the pilots.

According to Savage, this action by the US government pits it “squarely against its own war heroes and the Geneva Convention”.

I’m reminded of Kerry the war hero, who was celebrated at first for his role in the genocidal war against the Vietnamese (2-5 million Vietnamese killed) and then turned into a ‘wimp’. But let’s put the war hero thing aside for a second. And the Geneva Convention thing, since being ‘squarely against the Geneva Convention’ is not really a problem for the US – Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Tariq Ayoub, Najaf… anyone?

Savage points out there are ‘ironies’ in the story, not least that the US is fighting the Geneva Convention which says there is no absolution for those who torture POWs.

Would things be different if they were called ‘illegal combatants’? Since the first war on Iraq was a war of choice and therefore a war of aggression waged in a way that targeted civilians, devastated civilian infrastructure, and therefore violated international law, it isn’t much of a stretch to suggest that they were ‘illegal combatants’, assuming such a concept should exist (it shouldn’t). Was there even a declaration of war of the US against Iraq in 1991? I doubt it. Does that mean they weren’t POWs? They probably still were – I think the Geneva Convention does offer a lot of protection to people, which is why the US goes to such great lengths to avoid it.

Ah, the ironies do abound. Too bad the reporter who wrote the story can’t see most of them.

Here’s an irony. Apparently some of the pilots were tortured in Abu Ghraib.

Speaking of Abu Ghraib. Members of the unit involved in the torture scandal, the 372nd Military Police Company, are off to Haiti to provide security for a humanitarian mission. Their sargeant says “They want to show the world they have a big heart. They way I see it, they live up to the Army values of honor, courage and selfless service.”

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.

One thought on “What to do with torturers and tortured”

  1. Now here’s an article.
    Such

    Now here’s an article.
    Such journalism. You should teach more of this.

    -Nora

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