# OT: Iraqi prisoner abuse; something else to consider...it's LONG!!

As the many posts on this newsgroup regarding the subject have confirmed, there has been enormous coverage of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, mostly at the hands
of a segment of guards from one National Guard unit that certainly had leadership and discipline problems.
However, we tend to forget that the military, like our nation's police departments, and other public service organizations, are a slice of the American population. Let's try a little simple math. First, take the total number of US troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom during the time these abuses occurred. Then run that up against the number of servicemen and women involved in the Iraqi prisoner abuse. You can do your own math so I can't be accused of skewing the numbers but you will find the percentage to be miniscule. Now take the total population of the United States and bounce it up against all the violent crimes committed against persons nationwide during the same timeframe. Again, you do the math yourself but I think you already know what you'll find…….the percentage is SUBSTANTIALLY higher. You see, the military, in spite of a couple shitheads and such, holds itself to an astronomically higher standard and is much better than the society from which its members are drawn.
Yes, we all know all about the prisoner abuse; how could we not since it has led off almost every TV news broadcast for the last couple weeks. And, of course, some of our honorable Congressmen and women have almost wrestled each other for the television reporters microphones so they can make their pronouncements of shock, outrage and disgust. However, I'm about to show you another side of our military; a side that gets little in the way of publicity or positive pronouncements from our good Congressmen and women, or most anyone else, for that matter. Please read the item below, from the Marine Corps webpage and come away with a different perspective......................
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(May 6, 2004) -- Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh received the Navy Cross Medal from the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, during an awards ceremony Thursday at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Training Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Three other Marines received medals for valor at the same ceremony.
Chontosh, 29, from Rochester, N.Y. , received the Naval Service's second highest award for extraordinary heroism while serving as Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom March 25, 2003.
While leading his platoon north on Highway 1 toward Ad Diwaniyah, Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire. With coalition tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone.
He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, Chontosh ordered the driver to advance directly at the enemy position enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy.
He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack.
When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers.
When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.
"They are the reflection of the Marine Corps type who's service to the Marine Corps and country is held above their own safety and lives," said Gen. Hagee, commenting on the four Marines who received medals during the ceremony. "I'm proud to be here awarding the second highest and third highest awards for bravery to these great Marines."
"These four Marines are a reflection of every Marine and sailor in this great battalion," said Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada.
Semper fi…….Bill
"The world would be a much simpler place if every one could pick and choose their obligations, but we can't and we shouldn't." Major Charles W. Whittlesey
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I don't think anyone is saying the the whole of the American Armed Forces are bad. The offenders are off course a very tiny number of bad apples in an good organisation and no one is disputing that.
However, you should consider a few things
i) Firstly, you should compare the number of offenders with the number of miltary personal who run the prisons (not the total armed forces) and then decide whether the percentage is acceptable. I say this, because it is these people who should be trained to observe and uphold the Geneva Convention.
ii) There is generalisation on both sides. It is common to hear western opinion that all moslems are rag-heads and terrorist in training. This is of course just as absurd - there are a very small number of terrorists and the majority are innocent people. I often visit a model helicopter forum but of late it has become sickening. Huge dicussions about nuking the whole of the Arab Nations with total disrespect or care about any innocents that will suffer. Anyone who tries to bring any sanity to the table is flamed and branded a commie.
Regards,
Nigel Heather
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Here here!

whole
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Nigel wrote:

Only for POWs. These people weren;t POWs, but criminals.
--
Scott Lowther, Engineer
Remove the obvious (capitalized) anti-spam
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I don't know for certain myself, but I'd like to know how you know these guys were terrorists and not POWs.
Remember that terrorists, Iraqi Armed Forces and Iraqi people are not identical subsets.
I would have though that most of the Iraqi people captured would have been from the Armed Forces, infantry, mechanised, tank crews etc.
Cheers,
Nigel
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If they weren't wearing uniforms or identifying emblems such as armbands, if they did not carry weapons openly, or if they are not part of an organization with a defined and responsible chain of command, then they violate the laws of war and do not receive POW status under the existing conventions. That is what the term "unlawful enemy combatant" is all about. (And which our media typically dilutes by dropping the unlawful. . .)
KL
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wrote:

The Leftmedia wouldn't consciously do that, would they?
--
Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

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I don't think it's deliberate at all. Most people are just too stupid to realize that words have specific meanings, and are shocked to learn that there are people alive today who (can) actually choose particular words because of their meaning. To the media - like just about everyone else - the concept that adding, subtracting, or recombining words in existing text could affect the meaning is incomprehensible. Besides, when the population has a _median_ vocabulary of about 500 words, the frequent use of a phrase like "unlawful enemy combatant" is likely to cause an epidemic of cerebral hemorrhages.
On the other hand it could be intentional, based on the premise that: a) The Bush administration is "hung up on this good vs. evil stuff" and uses pejorative words like "unlawful" for purely political purposes, and b) Everyone knows Al Gore should be President(*). Could be, but I'd still bet on sloth/ignorance. I've never lost money yet.
KL
(*) I'm actually surprised that most Democratic politicians and media pundits haven't taken a cue from Cato the Elder to simply end every sound bite with "Ceterum censeo Bush esse delendam".
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wrote:

I agree. It's so ingrained that they don't even realize they're doing it.
I think you may have missed my sarcasm.
--
Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

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Nah, I saw it, just didn't think it was warranted.
KL
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Kurt Laughlin wrote:

Surprisingly most of the DC stations use the term unlawful enemy combatants when they don't simply use detainees when referring to Gitmo.
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Wow. I *am* surprised by that!
--
Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

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As I understand it, a detainee is considered a POW until a tribunal determines he is an unlawful combatant. As Modeleral points out, there IS a clear legal difference. It would seem to me to be a simple matter to hold these tribunals and proceed accordingly, than to keep the detainees in a legal black hole. Kim M
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On 18 May 2004 00:40:33 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Royabulgaf) wrote:

Believe it or not, I concur. But I *don't* advocate turning them loose absent said tribunals.
--
Al Superczynski, MFE, IPMS/USA #3795, continuous since 1968

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determines
legal
tribunals
Well, close.
If there is a _question_, their status will be determined by tribunal, but if there is no question, there is no protection: "Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4 [see next paragraph], such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal. (1949 Geneva Prisoner of War Convention (GPW), art. 5.)"
Article 4 says that to be considered a "member of a militia or volunteer corps", the personnel must fulfill the following conditions: (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; and (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
What of those people who are clearly unlawful? Back to the GPW:
"60. General Division of Enemy Population "The enemy population is divided in war into two general classes:
"a. Persons entitled to treatment as prisoners of war upon capture, as defined in Article 4, GPW (par. 61).
"b. The civilian population (exclusive of those civilian persons listed in GPW, art. 4), who benefit to varying degrees from the provisions of GC (see chs. 5 and 6 herein).
"Persons in each of the foregoing categories have distinct rights, duties, and disabilities. Persons who are not members of the armed forces, as defined in Article 4, GPW, who bear arms or engage in other conduct hostile to the enemy thereby deprive themselves of many of the privileges attaching to the members of the civilian population."
and
"80. Individuals Not of Armed Forces Who Engage in Hostilities
"Persons, such as guerrillas and partisans, who take up arms and commit hostile acts without having complied with the conditions prescribed by the laws of war for recognition as belligerents (see GPW, art. 4; [the four conditions I noted above]), are, when captured by the injured party, not entitled to be treated as prisoners of war and may be tried and sentenced to execution or imprisonment.
"81. Individuals Not of Armed Forces Who Commit Hostile Acts "Persons who, without having complied with the conditions prescribed by the laws of war for recognition as belligerents (see GPW, art. 4), commit hostile acts about or behind the lines of the enemy are not to be treated as prisoners of war and may be tried and sentenced to execution or imprisonment. Such acts include, but are not limited to, sabotage, destruction of communications facilities, intentional misleading of troops by guides, liberation of prisoners of war, and other acts not falling within Articles 104 and 106 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Article 29 of the Hague Regulations.
"82. Penalties for the Foregoing
"Persons in the foregoing categories who have attempted, committed, or conspired to commit hostile or belligerent acts are subject to the extreme penalty of death because of the danger inherent in their conduct(*). Lesser penalties may, however, be imposed."
FM 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare http://www.adtdl.army.mil/cgi-bin/atdl.dll/fm/27-10/toc.htm
(*) Danger refers to the fact that these acts leave the belligerent powers no alternative but to treat all members of a population as combatants, the net result being a devolution into a war of annihilation.
Note that the other treaty provisions regarding treatment, discipline, rights, and sundry other aspects are deliberately and specifically prefaced with "The prisoner of war shall be entitled to. . ." or other similar words.
You might argue whether a particular person falls under article 80 or 81, but you must acknowledge that we most certainly have captured people who do. These people are - at best - entitled to be tried under the UCMJ and hanged, and have it all perfectly within US laws.
What about International Law? If, by your actions, you have removed yourself from the PW classification, International Law washes its hands of you, and you are at our mercy. And, it seems we are fresh out of mercy at the moment.
KL
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Kurt Laughlin wrote:

Isn't mercy within Allah's purview?
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Ron> Kurt Laughlin wrote:
>> What about International Law? If, by your actions, you have >> removed yourself from the PW classification, International Law >> washes its hands of you, and you are at our mercy. And, it >> seems we are fresh out of mercy at the moment.
Ron> Isn't mercy within Allah's purview? I asked, but there was no reply...
--
G Hassenpflug /* IJN & JMSDF */

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of
at
Who?
Remember, we're fighting on against irrationality.
KL
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Kurt Laughlin wrote:

There you go again, answering my rational with your own.......
Actually, I was referring to the current crop of unlawful enemy combatants, since Allah is all merciful, mercy is his problem, not ours.
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I don't concern myself with mythical figures.
As long we tolerate the idea that the "afterlife" is more important than the corporeal world, we will always have fanatics of one stripe or another. Encouraging people to favor "God's law" over "the laws of man" is just asking for trouble.
KL