Tortured POWs Win Judgement Against Iraq; Justice Department Seeks To Overturn It!
By Winter Patriot on 1/25/2005, 9:04pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

If you needed any further proof that the American government doesn't give a damn about its soldiers, here's a story to make you cry ... again! It looks like our Justice Department has fallen so deeply in love with torture, that in their view, it's not only OK for our guys to torture their guys, but it's also OK for their guys to torture our guys!

I quote the following passages from an article written by John Norton Moore, published by Slate, and headlined: Abuse of Trust: The POW scandal you haven't yet heard about.

Moore writes:

This nation has a special responsibility to prevent the torture of Americans held as prisoners of war. Our POWs have been brutally tortured at command direction in war after war, including the Korean, Vietnam, and most recently, the Gulf War; and it's clear that we need to do whatever we can to break this pattern. Yet when 17 of our tortured Gulf War POWs and 37 of their family members said "enough" and joined together to bring a historic civil action to hold their Iraqi torturers liable, they were shocked — having won their case in federal court — to find the Department of Justice seeking to erase their judgment and "absolve" their torturers.

Moore details the horrific treatment suffered by Americans who were held prisoner in Iraq during George Herbert Walker Bush's 'excellent Iraqi adventure', and describes their efforts to hold the Iraqi government accountable. These efforts culminated in a lawsuit against the Iraqi government, which the POWs won. But then something very strange happened...

Historically the United States has been a world leader in seeking to prevent torture. Today, along with most nations, it is bound by the Third Geneva Convention for the Protection of POWs. That convention bans all torture and inhumane treatment of POWs and, as a core enforcement mechanism, provides in Article 131 that no state may "absolve" a torturing state of "any liability" for their torture. This provision is particularly aimed at holding the state itself liable and banning any removal of that liability at the conclusion of a war.

Sadly, along came the Abu Ghraib scandal, setting aside this historic tradition and the professional judgment of our military JAG officers and State Department experts. As is now well known, one effect of the abuse scandal was to undermine deterrence against the torture of American POWs in future wars (this, along with its catastrophic political cost to the Iraq war effort and, more broadly, to our nation's reputation). But, in a perfect storm of bad news for future American POWs, while the now infamous abuse decisions were still policy, the Justice Department went into court to erase the POWs' judgment and its message of liability for torture.

This incredible situation may be reversed on appeal, if the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, and if it rules in favor of the POWs. But what is the likelihood of the Supreme Court ruling against the Justice Department? And...

If the [...] decision stands [...], the consequences will be catastrophic. Future tyrants will hear the message, like a fire bell in the night, that the United States has little concern for its own POWs. Morale will decline in our armed forces as the reality sinks in that our government has sided with their torturers over them. A core enforcement mechanism of the POW convention, as well as our reliability as a treaty partner, will be undermined by our remarkable decision to "absolve" a torturing state in violation of the convention.

So there you have it. Our Justice Department won't even let the Geneva Convention protect our own troops! But at least they can't be accused of using double-standards! They don't want the Geneva Convention to protect anybody!!

Oh yeah! Freedom and Liberty are definitely On The March ... in the Land of the Formerly Free, and the Home of the Utterly Depraved!