Thursday, February 17, 2005

Headline. Lede. Torture.

I swooped through Drudge a few minutes ago and saw a shocking headline: "AP: Iraqi Died While Hung From Wrists...". Don't head there just yet - read the following, first.

Here's the lede:

An Iraqi whose corpse was photographed with grinning U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib died under CIA (news - web sites) interrogation while in a position condemned by human rights groups as torture — suspended by his wrists, with his hands cuffed behind his back, according to reports reviewed by The Associated Press.

Quick, what's the image you have in your mind right now?

When I see "suspended" in a sentence, I see an object hanging from a hook or beam above the floor. You?

The incident took place at Abu Ghraib in November 2003. According to the story the detainee had been captured, and subsequently beaten, by SEAL personnel in connection to a bombing at a Baghdad Red Cross office in October. Nine SEAL personnel received non-judicial punishment for excessive use of force, and one Lieutenant is scheduled to face a court martial this March. Another Lieutenant is pending a hearing before the senior SEAL officer of the Navy. The story is unclear on which disciplinary actions related directly to the death.

The death was ruled a homicide by the medical officer who processed the body. An investigation ensued, and the persons involved (at least on the military side of the house) have been or are being brought to justice. All this was before Abu Ghraib became a household word.

I've participated in some pretty spirited debates on the subject of torture - the best of the lot was here on Michael J. Totten. I'm all for interrogation. I am not for torture. I hope that our government has published and enforces clear guidelines on acceptable methods and tactics to our law enforcement/intel/military types - but I don't want to read the list in my local paper. If the enemy knows what to expect in interrogation, he's a long way past halfway winning the fight to resisting. I also am loathe to see the concept of "torture" reduced to the semantic equal of "inconvenienced" in order to attack the administration... which is surely a working objective in some quarters of the marching puppet crowd and their fellow travelers.

Now go back and read the entire article.

I have two questions:

Does the headline reflect the facts of the story?

And just where did the tactic earn the sobriquet "Palestinian Hanging"? I tried Google and came up dry for an origin. There are a ton of references to the term but nothing on where or when the practice got the name.

No comments: