Thursday, March 06, 2003

More to froth about

More stuff to froth about: the deaths of two Afghan detainees in U.S. custody in Afghanistan have been ruled to be homicides

A criminal investigation into the December deaths of the two men is in its final stages, but a U.S. military source said it is not clear whether anyone will be charged.

One senior military official said, "This investigation may not go well for us."

The men died shortly after arriving at Bagram air base north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. The first man died December 3 of a pulmonary embolism and the second one December 10 of a heart attack.

Autopsies found that "blunt force trauma" was a contributing factor in both cases, military sources said.

It's unclear whether that blunt force trauma was inflicted during interrogation, or by "overenthusiastic" US soldiers inflicting their own "justice" or "having a little fun", but either way it's pretty damning: the US military either tortured two men to death (though that may not have been their intention), or failed to enforce discipline and allowed their soldiers to do the same. And they're supposed to be the good guys.

Torture is a crime, and those responsible should be found, charged and tried. However neither the spokesman's comments above or the US Army's handling of similar cases is exactly encouraging.