Abuse Scandal, Continued

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From USA Today yesterday:

More than a third of the prisoners who died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan were shot, strangled or beaten by U.S. personnel before they died, according to death certificates and a high-ranking U.S. military official.

The military official, who has direct knowledge of ongoing Pentagon investigations of the deaths, said that 15 of 37 prisoners who have died since December 2002 appear to have been killed or put in grave danger by U.S. troops or interrogators. In some cases, the immediate cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but that was in turn caused by a beating.

Some of the cases have been cleared. Four of the 15 deaths occurred when guards shot detainees in Iraq during a prison riot at Abu Ghraib prison in November 2003; the shootings have been ruled justifiable homicides.

In another case, a guard who shot a prisoner to death for throwing rocks at him was demoted and dishonorably discharged.

But other cases remain in limbo. The military is investigating eight deaths as "suspicious." The numbers don't appear to add up, but the Pentagon has not yet provided a detailed list of all the cases. Many of the deaths that don't seem to have been caused directly by U.S. personnel have been attributed by medical examiners to natural causes.

The details of those 15 deaths are recounted here.

NEXT: We Are All Boobs Now

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  1. "In another case, a guard who shot a prisoner to death for throwing rocks at him was demoted and dishonorably discharged."

    Most of these deaths are unfortunate, but I don't feel much sympathy for this one. Anyone who throws rocks at guys with assault rifles deserves to die. It's a really stupid thing to do.

  2. When presented with information that our military is murdering prisoners, this is the first reaction.

    "Most of these deaths are unfortunate, but I don't feel much sympathy for this one. Anyone who throws rocks at guys with assault rifles deserves to die."

    Wow. The other murders warrant a description of "unfortunate," but the fellow who gets special attention REALLY DESERVED to DIE, because he threw rocks. Because people who do stupid things DESERVE to DIE.

    I wonder if the guard that shot him used that defense. "Your honor, he threw rocks at me when he KNEW I had an assault rifle. NOT a HUNTING rifle, an ASSAULT RIFLE! That was stupid! He DESERVED to die!"

    It's sad when people are too afraid to condemn outright the truly condemnable. Look what it does to them.

  3. "but I don't feel much sympathy for this one. Anyone who throws rocks at guys with assault rifles deserves to die."

    So, no sympathy for the guys in the captive nations who threw racks at the soviet tanks or the Palestinians who throw rocks at Israeli tanks either?

  4. "In some cases, the immediate cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but that was in turn caused by a beating."

    Was it Heinlein who wrote that all deaths can be reported as "heart failure"?

  5. Xavier,

    Our concept of self defense is predicated on proportionality. You don't even know whether or not the prisoner managed to hit the soldier! But even if he did, gunning down an unarmed prisoner is morally pathetic, and your suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous.

  6. Xavier wrote:
    ""Anyone who throws rocks at guys with assault rifles deserves to die. It's a really stupid thing to do.""

    Perhaps if they were "patroling" your streets with assault rifles you might think differently?

  7. Saying that rock-throwers deserve to die is also a stupid thing to do, yet I wouldn't say it warrants the death penalty.

    Hey, where are all the guys who keep insisting that what we're doing over there "isn't really torture?" Walturr? R.C.? Shannon? Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party!

  8. "Four of the 15 deaths occurred when guards shot detainees in Iraq during a prison riot at Abu Ghraib prison in November 2003; the shootings have been ruled justifiable homicides."

    Gee, wonder what could have incited them to riot at Abu Ghraib.

  9. BaBar-
    I reckon they must hate democracy, freedom, human rights and Our Sacred Way of Life. I mean, that's the ONLY reason ANYBODY could find fault with America, right?

  10. "In some cases, the immediate cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but that was in turn caused by a beating."

    This is remarkably similar to the way many prisoners died at the hand of South Africa's Apartheid regime.

  11. Jennifer,

    I've noticed a number of people conspicuous by their absence as well. At first, I thought it might be due to the holiday, but it's been a long time now.

    Warriors...come out to play-e-yay...

  12. Ken-
    If we were truly good people we wouldn't gloat like this. Hussein was worse. And, as Rob Corddry said, "It doesn't matter that we tortured those people; what matters is we're not the kind of people who would torture those people."

    Yes, I have gone over to the Dark Side.

  13. Well, a pack of yapping chihuahuas can be fun to watch but after a while they just get on your nerves.

  14. A rock thrower is not unarmed - a thrown rock can be as deadly as a bullet.

  15. It is pure and simple a Darwin Award thing.

    I would say that the dope didn't deserve the death penalty for stupidity. But....

    What the hell do you think is likely to happen if you throw rocks at a guy who is standing there with an M-16 on full auto?

    Like Duh.

  16. Ahh, yes, and South Africa is a much better place to live than it once was. Nobody ever gets beaten at the hands of angry mobs or the police anymore. Better yet, try Zimbabwe.

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