Stories We Can't Ignore

Monday, October 24, 2005

Despite my general abhorrence of the ACLU, we must pay close attention to these findings they have brought to light:

WASHINGTON - At least 21 detainees who died while being held in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan were killed, many during or after interrogations, according to an analysis of Defense Department data by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The analysis, released Monday, looked at 44 deaths described in records obtained by the ACLU. Of those, the group characterized 21 as homicides, and said at least eight resulted from abusive techniques by military or intelligence officers, such as strangulation or "blunt force injuries," as noted in the autopsy reports.

The 44 deaths represent a partial group of the total number of prisoners who have died in U.S. custody overseas; more than 100 have died of natural and violent causes.

In one case, the report said, a detainee died after being smothered during interrogation by military intelligence officers in November 2003. In another case cited by the report, a prisoner died of asphyxiation and blunt force injuries after he was left standing, shackled to the top of a door frame, with a gag in his mouth.

Details about the detainee abuse and deaths have been released by the Pentagon as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU. Many of the incidents have been made public previously, and in a number of cases soldiers and officers involved have been prosecuted and punished.

Many are questioning the motives of the ACLU, especially since they're getting involved with abuses that aren't against American citizens. To some degree the ACLU deserves to be watched as being a possible anti-war propaganda tool.

But that being said, we must -- as the finest nation in the world -- hold ourselves to higher standards and punish any and all persons responsible for committing atrocities against detainees held in our custody.