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Anti-War Demonstrators March Past the White House on Saturday; Anti-War Protesters Set Up a Mock Cemetary on the National Mall

With Torture, America's Enemies Multiply

The clear systematic policy of torture pursued within the U.S. military against those it considers ‘enemy combatants’ in its ‘War on Terror’ not only damages the cause the Americans say they uphold, but, according to this editorial from France’s Le Monde newspaper, it generates a tremendous number of new 'enemy combatants.'


September 26, 2005

Original Article (French)

Rev. Jesse Jackson Comforts Cindy Sheehan

As 100,000 demonstrators protested against the Iraq War in Washington on Saturday, the American organization for the defense of human rights, Human Rights Watch, (HRW), published a damning report about torture and abuse by the American Army of prisoners in the “War on Terror.”

—Read the Entire Report from Human Rights Watch

This report is significant for two reasons: it cuts to pieces the myth that the tortures perpetrated at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, revealed in April 2004, could have been the acts of an isolated unit, which would have brought an end to the matter with the revelation of the scandal; and it allows us to hear testimony, not of ex-prisoners - always to be listened to with caution - but of American soldiers. 

The torture techniques and maltreatment described by a captain and two sergeants who confided in HRW are not new: they were used in the American-run prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq, such as the camp at Guantanamo Bay. Investigations by non-governmental organizations and Western media prove, since the April, 2004 revelations, that these were systematic practices. These investigations also revealed cases of the [non-judicial] execution of prisoners. 

Lynndie England Leaving Court Last Week

The American administration has failed to issue a satisfactory response to the fact that its army violates the laws of war. It has suggested successfully, according to American public opinion, ­that the units of military police that were photographed humiliating prisoners at Abu Ghraib were not obeying any order of the army or the intelligence services. With soldier Lynndie England, who appeared in the photographs, standing before a military tribunal at Fort Hood for the past week, will America accept the official version according to which this entire matter was one of unguided "lost soldiers?"

The American pacifist movement has not seized on these questions. Its principal and laudable concern ­ epitomized by the image of Cindy Sheehan, traumatized by her son’s  death in Iraq - is to preserve the life of American soldiers. As is often in war, it is difficult to listen to the other, the foreigner, the "enemy.”

Lynndie England's Boyfriend. Just Following Orders, or a 'Lost Soldier?'

While authorizing its army to perpetrate what international law describes as "serious violations of the laws of the war," such as "torture" or "inhumane treatment" of prisoners ­ and "war crimes" in the case of executions - the United States placed itself in a position of illegality in the service of the cause that they allege to defend: freedom, justice and democracy faced with the "the madness of Allah." But every time an Afghan or Iraqi is killed wrongly or tortured, and precisely because the United States is a democratic country, it is a defeat for America and all who defend the values and morals for which it claims to embody.

More pragmatically, the use of torture is one less chance for Washington to win its wars, because for each martyred prisoner, for each image of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, ten fighters rise against the United States.

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