April 29, 2010 by The Mormon Worker
Human Rights Watch released details today of the torture that regularly occurred in an Iraqi government detention center based out of the Muthanna airport.
The detainees told Human Rights Watch “how interrogators and security officials sodomized some detainees with broomsticks and pistol barrels and, the detainees said, raped younger detainees, who were then sent to a different detention site. Some young men said they had been forced to perform oral sex on interrogators and guards. Interrogators also forced some detainees to molest one another.”
“Security officials whipped detainees with heavy cables, pulled out fingernails and toenails, burned them with acid and cigarettes, and smashed their teeth. If detainees still refused to confess, interrogators would threaten to rape their wives, mothers, sisters, or daughters. The interrogation sessions usually lasted three or four hours and occurred every three or four days.”
This type of stuff has been going on at least since I was in Baghdad in 2005. Stories like this were quite common then.
Apologists for the war in Iraq (ie. Christopher Hitchens) constantly cite Saddam Hussein’s human rights abuses and atrocities as a justification for the US invasion. They say we had a responsibility to intervene on behalf of Iraqis.
However, the government that the US placed in power in 2003 and subsequent governments have continued Saddam’s legacy of murder and torture. Even though the Iraqi government changed from a Baathist dictatorship to a US installed dictatorship and later a democratically elected government, the human rights record of the US-backed Iraqi government has not improved since Saddam’s time.
This, combined with the hundreds of thousands that have been killed since the war started in 2003, the sectarian war that the US army facilitated, the lack of electricity, access to clean drinking water, and health care, and the detention (and at times torture) of so many Iraqis since the war (by US and Iraqi forces alike), all go to undermine the argument of people like Hitchens.
Just because there are elections in a country, doesn’t mean that the government is not killing and torturing people; it doesn’t mean that children aren’t dying of malnutrition and contaminated drinking water; in short, it doesn’t mean that all the horror and misery of 7 years of war are suddenly erased.
Now that the US has invaded Iraq to save Iraqis from Saddam, who will now invade Iraq to save Iraqis from the murderous Iraqi government we installed and continue to support?