While all the Haditha accusations are flying, we have a jury verdict for at least one case of alleged abuse in Afghanistan:
In a last, sharp rebuke to Army prosecutors who had charged more than a dozen soldiers with abusing prisoners at a secret military jail in Afghanistan, a military jury on Thursday acquitted a former Army interrogator of beating and sexually humiliating a man accused as a terrorist.
The charges against the defendant, Pfc. Damien M. Corsetti, grew out of a lengthy Army investigation into the deaths of two Afghan men in December 2002 at the detention center, in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Private Corsetti, 26, was the final soldier to be tried in the case. He was not charged with mistreating either of the men who had died, but his portrayal by some other soldiers in that inquiry and the lurid accusations he faced cast him as an emblematic figure in a detention center where violent abuses took place.
A tall, heavyset young man, Private Corsetti was known to his fellow interrogators as Monster — a nickname they said was tattooed in Italian across his stomach. The staff sergeant who headed his interrogation platoon sometimes called him the King of Torture.
Army prosecutors charged him with beating and kicking Ahmed al-Darbi, a member of Al Qaeda, and stripping off his pants to humiliate him.***
The lead prosecutor, Capt. Christopher Ellis, described the case as one in which clear rules had been egregiously violated. “This case was all about standards that were in place,” he said. “This is not how professional soldiers are trained.”
But even some prosecution witnesses suggested that after President Bush’s determination in February 2002 that the Geneva Conventions would not apply to enemy combatants captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan, those standards were not so clear.
Of course, the prosecutor is right- that isn’t how professional soldiers act. But as has been proven (conclusively, in my mind), the intentional fuzzying of the lines and the spread of ‘get tough’ tactics authorized by those in senior positions within this administration led to the problems we have suffered in the past few years regarding abuse:
The officer in charge of the interrogation platoon, Capt. Carolyn A. Wood, appeared publicly for the first time in Private Corsetti’s case, testifying under a grant of immunity that her soldiers were expected to follow the regulations contained in a basic Army guidebook on interrogations, Field Manual 34-52. After arriving in Afghanistan, she said, they were also authorized to use sleep-deprivation to disorient prisoners and “stress positions,” like prolonged kneeling, to weaken their psychological defenses.
Mr. Skaggs described a considerably wider “gray area” for the interrogators in their accepted treatment of detainees, saying it was “kind of in between just talking to them and the area of actual physical abuse.” The gray area, he said, included the pulling of prisoners’ beards and sitting on top of them, both of which Private Corsetti was accused of doing.
I have a hard time believing that much of this would have happened had our leadership not intentionally played legal games and created statutory wiggle room to essentially do whatever they wanted, as long as they convinced themselves and enough of the electorate that it was all in the name of fighting terrorism.
Check out what Glenn Reynolds thinks:
It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to know that if someone has the word “Monster” tattooed across his belly, you might want to keep an eye on this person.
Then again, we are putting troops with mental illness on the battlefield, so I guess it is all SOP.
Nothing to see here. Move along.
I’m glad the officer(s) are well taken care of.
The Other Steve
Oh come on. Sitting on them is torture?
I used to do this to my brother when I was a kid. It’s hardly something you can call permanently damaging.
I must have missed something here. I thought that the soldier was found not guilty, and that the prosecutor’s case thoroughly discredited.
The Other Steve
rilkefan – Obviously Glenn Reynolds has gone to the otherside. He no longer supports the moral vision of the President, and is instead supporting a debase debauchery of leftist America.
I will pray for him.
Cole, please go back off your meds. Its no fun when you are making perfect sense all day….
“They acquitted Private Corsetti even on the charge involving alcohol, which his defense lawyer, William E. Cassara, readily admitted.”
Gotta love that tough military justice. Discipline? They’ve heard of it.
Ummm…a lot of this stuff went on in WWII…but never got reported. Should you blame Roosevelt?
Welcome to war.
White Buffalo Searcher
Congrats Extremo! Been watching close and knew things would come through for you. The White Buffalo is still out there. 98% of these idiots against you will never understand what it takes to win a war much less participate in one.
Go forth and do greater things.