Low-Level Soldiers Took the Rap at Abu Ghraib, Perhaps as It Should Be

On the one hand, it would be a mistake to go along with the “half a dozen bad apples” theory of what happened in Abu Ghraib (er, I mean Camp Redemption). Clearly the problem was not just caused by a small handful of people going savage, and the solution to the problem won’t be simply to isolate and denounce those people. On the other hand, if we pursue this line of thought too recklessly, we can find ourselves propping up the “I was only following orders” excuse.

Zeynep Toufe of Under the Same Sun writes the best exploration of this dilemma I’ve seen yet.


“‘Sovereignty…’ You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”


Does it continue to get worse? It continues to get worse.

Brutal interrogation techniques by U.S. military personnel are being investigated in connection with the deaths of at least five Iraqi prisoners in war-zone detention camps, Pentagon documents obtained by The Denver Post show.

The deaths include the killing in of a high-level Iraqi general who was shoved into a sleeping bag and suffocated, according to the Pentagon report. The documents contradict an earlier Defense Department statement that said the general died “of natural causes” during an interrogation.…

Another Iraqi military officer, records show, was asphyxiated after being gagged, his hands tied to the top of his cell door. Another detainee died “while undergoing stress technique interrogation,” involving smothering and “chest compressions,” according to the documents.…

In , at a “classified interrogation facility” in Baghdad, an Iraqi detainee was found dead after being restrained in a chair for questioning. “While in custody the detainee was subjected to both physical and psychological stress,” the report shows. An autopsy determined that he died of a “hard, fast blow” to the head. The investigation continues. No disciplinary action was noted.

On , an Iraqi died at Abu Ghraib during an interview by special forces and Navy SEAL soldiers. “An autopsy revealed the cause of death was blunt force trauma as complicated by compromised respiration.” The report notes that Navy investigators concluded Navy personnel did not commit a crime leading to the detainee’s death. But the investigation, including by CIA officials, is still ongoing. No disciplinary action was noted.


Heads-up:

Tax Analysts reports today that the House, as part its consideration of the Extraterritorial Income Exclusion Act (ETI Act), is debating whether to allow taxpayers who live in the 9 states without an income tax (Alaska, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington & Wyoming) to deduct sales and use taxes. The proposal apparently is based on the Sales Tax Equity Act of (H.R. 720) introduced , but may go further and allow taxpayers in the 41 states with an income tax to deduct the greater of their sales tax or their income tax.

Those of you doing the DON Method may want to start adding a new column in your accounting. I shudder to think what an audit of someone’s sales tax claim would look like.

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