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American Torture

by | 10th, May 2004

‘CONTRARY to what Sir Elton John and Blue would have us believe, sorry does not appear to be the hardest word to say.

Although he’d forgotten why, Gary knew he had to shoot

In fact, it rolls off Mr Blair’s tongue more easily than a booze cruise of Brits rolling off the ferry in Calais.

The Prime Minister was at it again yesterday, following the lead of President Bush and US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in apologising for coalition abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners.

It was what is known as a pre-emptive apology from Mr Blair – no definitive proof has yet emerged about British abuse, although it appears to be only a matter of time before some does.

Not so for the Americans – every day now they are seeing yet more images in the press and on TV of their repulsive behaviour in the Abu Ghraib jail near Baghdad.

But for all the apologies, there seems a complete lack of willingness to take responsibility for what appears – in Abu Ghraib at least – to have been systematic abuse.

Far from being the work of a few bad apples, the Guardian says that one soldier who has been charged with mistreating Iraqi prisoners claims she was acting on direct orders from army intelligence officers, CIA operatives and civilian interrogators.

And, despite offering what it calls “an unaccustomed apology” to Congress, Rumsfeld ducked the question of responsibility.

Republican senator John McCain complained: “I did not get answers to some fundamental questions and perhaps the most fundamental aspect of this is what was the chain of command, who was in charge of the interrogators, what was the role of the contractors.”

Vice-president Dick Cheney moved to back Rumsfeld, calling him “the best secretary of defence America has ever had” – in which case, we’d hate to see the worst.

But support seems to be ebbing away and it is surely now only a mater of time before Rumsfeld goes.

One general put the blame for the post-war debacle in Iraq squarely on the shoulders both of him and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

Rumsfeld, he said, refused to listen or adhere to military advice.

And a special forces officer said both Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz should go as a result.

In Britain, pressure is growing on the Government to get out of Iraq altogether, with a poll in the Independent suggesting that 55% think the troops should come home by the end of next month.

That is a staggering turnaround from last month, when 51% said troops should stay in Iraq for as long as necessary and is surely a warning that even Mr Blair will find hard to ignore.’



Posted: 10th, May 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink