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The Torture Doctors of Abu Ghraib

by MIKE WHITNEY

 

No need to inquire about co-payments at Abu Ghraib prison facility.

Rummy’s HMO will cover the whole thing.

And, there’s no sense in worrying about those nagging medical malpractice suits either.

American doctors can pursue their own diverse inclinations without inhibition or fear of reprisal.

The Pentagon now provides cover for dilettantes in the ancient art of prisoner abuse; a security umbrella for aspiring “interrogation specialists”.

The British medical journal, The Lancet, confirms that: “Doctors working for the US military in Iraq collaborated with interrogators in the abuse of detainees at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, profoundly breaching medical ethics and human rights.”

University of Michigan Steven Miles cited evidence “that doctors or medics falsified death certificates to cover up homicides, hid evidence of beatings, and revived a prisoner so he could be further tortured.”

“….and revived a prisoner so he could be further tortured.”

Some things bear repeating.

It looks a though Rumsfeld’s views on modernizing the military now include “transforming” the Hippocratic Oath as well.

Originally, it was believed that medical personnel were merely involved in covering up cases of abuse. These new developments suggest that something much more sinister was going on; something whose roots were deep in the Defense establishment, perhaps, going all the way to the front offices of the DOD. (Dept of Defense)

Professor Miles continues by stating, “The medical system collaborated with designing and implementing psychologically and physically coercive interrogations…”

“A physician and a psychiatrist helped design, approve and monitor interrogations at Abu Ghraib.”

This should adequately prove that the atrocities at Abu Ghraib were both intentional and, more importantly, “systemic”.

Such procedures that are articulated here only reinforce the belief that torture was an integral part of a carefully considered policy that was approved at the highest levels of government.

Miles paints a picture of “physician complicity, and in isolated cases, active participation…in abuse at the Baghdad prison, as well as in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.”

(The fact that the abuse was uncovered at ALL of the prisons again suggests that the practice was condoned from above.)

In one case reported by Human Rights Watch “soldiers tied a beaten detainee to the top of his cell door and gagged him. The death certificate indicated he died of natural causes…during his sleep” Afterwards, the Pentagon “changed the cause of death to homicide by blunt force injuries and suffocation.”

How does one find doctors who will abandon their oath and comply with such flagrant criminal activity?

Does the Pentagon have a recruiting program for “aspiring Mengeles”? (note: Josef Mengele; the ruthless, Nazi concentration camp doctor, who carried out murderous experiments on Jewish prisoners)

Certainly this profligate entourage of sadists didn’t just descend on the Pentagon one day with their resume’s in hand?

There must be a screening program…a litmus test…a way of confirming that ones abilities meet the challenges of the job.

All this, should finally put to rest the “few bad apples” theory.

The brutality and torture at Abu Ghraib took place with the full knowledge and approval of the Secretary of Defense. He alone set the standards for prisoner treatment. No underling would dare to put their career at risk by authorizing the type of behavior that transpired at the Baghdad prison facility.

From the earliest days following 9-11 (memos) clearly indicate that the DOD was looking for ways to eviscerate the rules governing the humane treatment of prisoners. Their determination brought about a seismic shift in the prevailing ethic at the War Dept. Torture was not only “on the table” it was the accepted standard of the new regime.

Their search resulted in the farrago of American Gulags that now stretch across the globe; (those 24 jewels in the imperial crown) the myriad of islands that attest to Rumsfeld’s “culture of cruelty.”

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

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MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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