Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Accountability in Iraq, but not America

Back in November, US troops searching for a missing child discovered a secret prison run by Iraq's Interior Ministry - along with 170 detainees, some of whom showed signs of torture. The discovery led former Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to conclude that torture in Iraq was worse than it was under Saddam.

But now, there's some sign that people are being held accountable for Iraq's de facto policy of torture, with Interior Minister Bayan Jabr apparantly being forced from office:

Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, whose ministry is accused of operating clandestine prisons where some detainees were tortured, will vacate his job shortly, security and political sources in Baghdad said yesterday.

Mr. Jabr has been under pressure to step down since a Nov. 15 raid by U.S. forces of a secret prison in the Baghdad neighborhood of Jadriyah, where 166 prisoners were discovered, most of them Sunni Muslims and some showing signs of torture.


Multiple sources contacted by telephone from London agreed that Mr. Jabr would not retain his position. Most said he was being forced out, although one said he would resign of his own volition because he found the pressure unbearable.

While I'd prefer to see him and all his minions prosecuted, this is at least a good start. Meanwhile, despite widespread reports that the US has been running a secret network of prisons where "high-value" detainees are subjected to waterboarding, no US official has yet been held accountable for this gross violation of US law and values.

(Hat tip: Washington Monthly)