On Stopping Prisoner Abuse

Discussion in 'Politics' started by SpiritualMadMan, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. SpiritualMadMan

    SpiritualMadMan
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    After writing my original post I had a friend who is a former CIS/MP type review it for me...

    So, before you get too angry please read through to follow-up...

    Rocko9 posted this:
    Rumsfield was correct not Gen Pace. here's why...

    1. Had any soldier physically interferred with the abuse they would have been charged with assault...

    Assault on a peer or superior officer is not covered under whistle blowing...

    Most interogators have real or assumed rank above Enlisted...

    Ask an MP if he has positional authority over Generals when enforcing Military Law... He does. Period.

    2. A soldier can refuse an order they feel is unlawful. However, that doesn't relieve them of the requirement to respectfully inform their superiors. And, if the superior disagrees and reaffirms the order they must obey in time of war.

    In an environment of abuse do any of you really expect a mere enlisted person to physically interfer with someone handling a guard dog...

    No, Rumsfield was right... A soldier can only be expected to inform his chain of command.

    Failing results from that the soldier could then jump the chain of command...

    Of course they might be doing patrols immediately thereafter... [​IMG]

    I think Rumsfield's response showed a deeper and more compassionate understanding of Military life then this general did...

    But, that's Just one man's opinion...

    Mike Sr.

    Follow-up...

    The letter of the UMCJ (law) would make Gen Pace's comments correct by the letter of Military Law...

    Anyone seeing abuse is required by UCMJ to prevent such abuse and in some cases prevent it using deadly force...

    My friend believes that these reservists were not properly trained for the jobs they were given... (Prisoner guards)

    That they had conflicting chains of commands and the better troops were caught between the rock and the hard place.

    The ideal situation would have been for the observers to have gone to the Provost Marshall...

    But, I doubt that they were trained properly or that they were informed of their requirements, or that the Provost Marshall had an open door policy...

    As a former enlisted person I just now learned a great deal I didn't know about resources for whistle blowers...

    Having said all that...

    I think both parties were correct in what they said when viewed from the position they were stating it from...

    It is intersting to note that Pace didn't state how the enlisted people were supposed to try and stop it...

    Nor, did he mention how preoccupied the Chain of Command probably was outside of the immediate command was... And, how hard (if not dangerous) it would be to get in to see someone at that command level in a war zone...

    Also, please remember that "spooks" have a mystique about them... About people disappearing and never being seen again...

    Had I been there... I sure wouldn't have taken part... But, I probably would have been too scared for my own life to risk making waves...

    And, I doubt these reservists had any more training in those particular aspects of the UCMJ than I had...

    Is a civilian head of DOD supposed to know every detail of Military Law and Activity?

    I think not...

    One of the very reasons to have Civilian Oversight is to bring a Civilian Perspective to the mix... One that has a lot more compassion that the average military Brass does?

    Mike sr.
     
  2. Rocko9

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    Thanks Mike for almost debating out both sides fo the story. My typing fingers were getting blisters. [​IMG]
     
  3. SpiritualMadMan

    SpiritualMadMan
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    Rocko,

    Frankly, I was surprised at the answers my 'bud' gave me...

    And, that while I was 'right' I was only partly right... [​IMG]

    Wouldn't it be nice if these issues were as black and white as some would lead us to believe?

    Mike Sr.
     
  4. Rocko9

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    Mike,
    The story certainly gave me a different perspective on Gen. Pace. the world has certainly become a more complicated place due any number of factors good or bad. It will all be over one day, that I am confident of.
     
  5. Dragoon68

    Dragoon68
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    First, let's clarify the context of Secretary Rumfeld and General Pace's comments:

    It is important to note here that the context of the questions and the responses was what a member of the US military should do if they witness inhumane treatment by Iraqi military or law enforcement agents against an Iraqi citizen. This is a very different question than what should be done if they witness inhumane treatment by another member of the US military. Let's make sure we accurately discern this and not misrepresent what was said.

    Personally, I agree with the General, on the basis of individual conscience and the American principal of humane treatment of all persons. However, at this point Iraq was again a sovereign nation and our legal jurisdiction in this situation is limited. For that reason, I could also agree with the Secretary, but depending upon and limited by the severity of the situation. I'm just not absolutely certain of the legal situation in Iraq at the time of this question.

    Consider, for example, what would happen if we interfered in such matters in South Korea or Germany where we have troops stationed. We'd likely be in big trouble with the local authorities even if they were wrong. Therein we are subject to the negotiated status of forces agreements and typically we have no jurisdiction over local citizens much less their government.

    But, in Iraq, given the evolving situation I don't think there would be much of an issue if the abuse was serious and clear and the action taken on our part was appropriately measured. I'd expect the Iraqis would yield to our demands if presented firmly but tactfully by a superior but restrained force. The preference, however, might be to report the incident if the treatment was not life threatening. Given our active role in training and embedded presence it seems we could and should take an aggressive advisory role but with caution to the sensitivity of the overall situation.

    Frankly, I believe this is the kind of thing that has to be decided on the spot by the senior officer or non-commissioned officer who witness what happens and they have to live with their choice. That's why we have such good leaders on the sense. We have some troops that, by nature of thier jobs, are particularly effective at handling situations like this.
     
  6. SpiritualMadMan

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    I also notice that Sec Rumsfields statement was actually a QUESTION...

    Which the General Answered...

    That wasn't the way they were quoted or presented...

    Curiouser and Curiouser

    Mike Sr.
     
  7. Dragoon68

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    It's seems all to often to be the case.
     
  8. emeraldctyangel

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    Original post is right on. It can get overly complicated but in reality it is very simple.

    Bottom line? If block NCOs and guards witness abuse they can intervene. The key is not to become a casualty themselves.

    The CoJCS is correct: He stated we *will* intervene. He also knows that we *will* do so whenever and wherever we can.

    To think otherwise, in a more black and white line of thinking, would be to hold guards responsible at all times, even when that guard had no knowledge of what was going on, and was not present during the abuse. To do so would find very few military to do that kind of job, and if you know anything about detainee ops, you pretty much dont want the job from the start.

    There are situations where I wouldnt intervene, I would make notification to the Chain of Command and provide a statement instead.
     
  9. Dragoon68

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    That's some good comments, emeraldctyangel, and I'm glad you jumped into this one. I've been working on my second response to the original post and will be posting it shortly but wanted to first acknowledge yours.
     
  10. Dragoon68

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    The question asked during the press conference was regarding what a member of the US military should do if they witnessed inhumane treatment by the Iraqi military or police against a detainee being held by them. Both Secretary Rumsfeld and General Pace gave answers that were correct for that situation depending upon circumstances. I explained, in my previous response, the complications of such a situation.

    I also noted that was a very different question than what should member of the US military should do if they witness inhumane treatment of a detainee by another member of the US military. I'll now give my comments on that unasked question but the one most have associated with the comments taken out of context from the press conference:

    It is the responsibility of all members of the US military to make sure that any detained persons (enemy prisoners of war, retained persons, civilian internees, etc.) with which they are involved are treated humanely at all times. There are no exceptions either by rank, by specialty, or by situation. Every one must play by the same rules all of the time. Army Regulation 190-8 makes it very clear what is expected.

    Note that "stress of combat" or even "deep provocation" are specifically noted as not bringing about justifiable reasons. They are certainly understandable reasons but they are not justifiable reasons. Anyone who's been in combat, captured enemy soldiers who were just trying to or just did kill some of your own can understand this. Anyone who's seen the results of the enemy's work - especially terrorist type actions - up close can understand. But, regardless, that does not constitute a justification for inhumane treatment much less far lessor situations.

    Note that detainees are to be "protected against all acts of violence". That puts the responsibility on the members of the US military to protect detainees they hold against harm even by their own brothers and sisters in arms. Anyone who's every had to restrain a fellow solider from harming a prisoner - taking out some perhaps "much needed" vengeance upon them - understands how difficult this can be. Who wants to turn against your own to protect those who are your enemies? But, war is full of all kinds of unpleasant situations that must be carried out when the call comes to you.

    Army Field Manual 3-19.40 is the current manual that covers handling all types of detainees of which there are several. It further expound upon the regulations giving more specific guidelines on how these things are to be accomplished and structured.

    The "interment/resettlement" facility commander - typically a senior Military Police commissioned officer - is tasked to make sure the detainees are properly handling and exercises command and control over the activities involved in doing that including appropriate use of force, as required, to protect "internees" and "facilities" as well as to "control" the internees.

    Deadly force is authorized, if lessor force can not be successfully used, for certain situations including the following:

    Deadly force is always - except for direct combat - a choice of last resort. It is far better to bring about the desired action short of using deadly force. It has to be a carefully measured response. No member of the US military should want to kill another person if it can be avoided. Deadly force against an armed combatant as an act of war is completely acceptable. Deadly force in other situations is a very different matter. Unarmed non-aggressive combatants are not the same as armed aggressive combatants. Their status changes the moment they surrender.

    Our military must uphold the standards our nation has endorsed and implemented in laws, regulation, manuals, orders, etc. and must hold to a high standard of conduct often relative to our enemies. It is obvious the damage that can occur when this is not done even if perpetrated by a few misfits and lax leadership. It is also, at times, a very difficult challenge. It is easy to write regulations or manuals. It is easy to give orders. It can be very difficult to always carry them out as intended. It might require some serious courage on the part of individuals and not everyone is up to that all of the time. It can be a real challenge because many soldiers, such as our MP, often operate in very small teams or as individuals, and are often lower grade enlisted soldiers, faced with possibly having to take a stand against a larger number of persons or much higher grade or rank soldiers in the performance of their duties. In a detention facility - day after day - full of potentially hostile persons it can be difficult to remain focused on duty and sanity. The risk of personal harm is very great. Sometimes it may be better to observe, report, and get help rather than intervene and loose everything. In fact, that can be difficult in war all around.

    Never the less, that's the duty that falls upon them and do it they must and most often they do it very well. I could tell me stories towards that end! Likewise, their leaders must accept their responsibilities and enforce proper conduct as well as make sure the needs of their own troops are being met.

    I continue to pray the God Almighty will give everyone in the service of country to determination, strength, courage, and wisdom to carry out their duties in the proper manner. I hope He will soon permit an end to this present conflict and permit us to continue living free from the threat and acts of terrorism. I pray He will somehow, by his power, help the people of Iraq turn to Him for their salvation and lead them to a better way for the sake of their nation. I pray He will keep us all united in our cause and not permit us to fall away into a destructive war of words or worse amongst us. I pray our Lord will grant today's veterans the peace of knowing that what they've done was justly called for by their nation and they have nothing to feel shameful about for following our call and demand for their service.
     
  11. Rocko9

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    I like that last paragraph Dragoon. [​IMG]
     
  12. emeraldctyangel

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    Dragoon, excellent remarks.

    Ive always believed that if you do the right thing no matter what, you have nothing to be ashamed of.

    It (detainee ops) is a test of patience to say the least. Faith got me through it, strong will kept my faith in front.
     
  13. Dragoon68

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    Thanks, Rocko9!
     
  14. Dragoon68

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    Thanks, emeraldctyangel!

    It is only by the power and grace of the Lord that any of us can really make it through the trials and tribulations of this life of which war has to be the ultimate. In that I have seen some of the worst and the best. May the Lord help us - our nation and it's military - continue to be counted among the best such as it may be in this worst of mankind's senseless but inevitable endeavors. I don't think anyone hates war as much as those who've experienced it but I also think many who have understand that it has to be done, that some must do their duty for the benefit of others, and most would do it again if necessary. Everyone bears their scars in different forms and from different causes. May the Lord help us all do what we must and deal with the consequences of it.
     
  15. emeraldctyangel

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    Amen Dragoon.

    Can I just say something intensely personal?

    Ive seen a lot. Ive heard a lot. Ive seen things nobody would ever believe. And they all came from people we have locked up. Some of the most dispicable acts were orchestrated by these people and I wonder why God cannot reach these? Are we two separate beings...one seemingly civilized and largely working for the greater good and the other so creative to use the 'civilized' ways (with respect to religion) against them?

    Just me wondering...
     
  16. Dragoon68

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    Those are good questions and I think a lot of us have wondered the same things. I'm not smart enough to have the answers! Some of the true theologians among us perhaps can provide insight.

    Maybe, from one perspective, it's a bit like God's choice of Jacob over Esau. There was no apparent reason for such a choice from our limited perspective. When we first read that story we feel like Esau got a raw deal he didn't deserve. Yet the Bible makes it very clear He will choose whom He wants - and thereby exclude others - for reasons that please Him. We also, after studying and pondering more, realize that Esau got exactly what we all deserve while Jacob who deserved the same was, by grace, given something none of us deserve. Maybe someday we will understand or maybe it won't matter after all the tears and pains of this life are wiped away.

    On a more grand scale we have to wonder why evil acts of such great magnitude take place at all in a world created by a righteous God. It begs the ongoing question of "why do bad things happen to good people." We must attribute that to the very evil nature of mankind and our rebellion against Him which led to our separation from His blessings. We have to realize that, in God's eyes, none of us are "good" people and He'd rather not look upon any of us. Praise be to the Lord who somehow makes us presentable to the Father! Surely the Lord sees and measures the degree of "bad" and "good" among mankind and will reward accordingly but save only those He has pardoned whether they be "bad" or "good" or in-between. For now He permits many things to happen and intervenes in times, places, and ways that please Him. Someday He will come again and set right all that has been wrong putting an end forever to the evilness that now has a free hand.

    As the hymn proclaims, "Oh what a wonderful day that will be!" In the interim we can be certain that there is work of those who defend and enforce the peace and security of nations of behalf of others that need it and desire it. We will have no need of shields and swords in Heaven but here on this earth we should be ever grateful for those that bear them in our behalf and face those that seek to inflict nothing but misery, suffering, and death upon us.
     
  17. LadyEagle

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    Wonderful post, Dragoon. Tears in my eyes as I read it. Very well articulated.
     

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