Thursday, November 17, 2005

First Torture, Now Chemical Weapons: Which Country is Run by Criminals?

Allegations of torture in Iraq are growing with the recent discovery of an Iraqi Interior Ministry facility that had been mistreating prisoners. Some reports show, however, that the basement prison is just the tip of the torture iceberg in Iraq, however, and there are many more places like it run by the Iraqi government.

Not great news for an American government that's still dodging claims of secret CIA torture prisons and allegations that torture of Iraqi prisoners was more widespread than just Abu Ghraib. Makes me wonder how President Bush can stand up and say flat out that we don't torture when it's going on in prisons all over the world that are run by us or run by the new Iraqi government right under our noses.

At the same time Bush is saying we don't torture, Cheney is lobbying Congress to exempt the CIA prisons that don't exist from a new no-torture amendment that Senator John McCain is trying attach to a defense bill. Taking it one step further, Bush threatened to veto any defense bill that includes the anti-torture amendment.

There's only one explanation here: Bush is lying. Torture is happening because it is condoned at the very top of our government, and suddenly we don't look much better than the evil dictator we went into Iraq to remove.

It gets more damning. White phosphorus, a chemical that ignites when exposed to oxygen, was used in munitions in the 2004 offensive in Fallujah. Initially the Pentagon denied reports that it was used for anything other than smokescreens and flares, but they recently backtracked and admitted using it as an incendiary weapon against insurgents.

White phosphorus burns anything it contacts and is very hard to extinguish. It is especially difficult to remove from exposed skin, and if there is enough of the substance it will continue to burn flesh down to the bone. The use of white phosphorus as a toxic or caustic agent would make it illegal under an international chemical weapons convention, but the U.S. government is merely claiming that they did not use it against civilians. That's nice, but how could such a weapon be used against any person when it's illegal? And where's the widespread media coverage? This story broke yesterday and until today I had only read about it on the BBC.

Between widespread torture and prisoner abuse and the use of chemical weapons in battle, it really makes me wonder which country is being led by an evil dictator. Oh yeah, that's right -- our evil dictator was elected. Twice.


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