Thursday, March 23, 2006

US military jury endorses abuse

What was that I was saying about having to wait for the sentence? Sgt Michael Smith, the Abu Ghraib dog handler who was convicted of maltreatment, dereliction of duty, assault and indecency, was sentenced to a mere six months prison for threatening prisoners with his dog, and having a competititon with his partner to make them shit themselves. His excuse?

"Soldiers are not supposed to be soft and cuddly"

But neither are they supposed to be monsters - and this one clearly is. He is absolutely unrepentant about what he did - and with his sentence, the jury has essentially endorsed his position. Abusing Iraqis just isn't a real crime worthy of serious punishment as far as they're concerned.

As with the verdict in the Mowhoush case, this makes it crystal clear that rather than being "bad apples", America's torturers are the poison fruit of a poison tree, the natural consequence of an administration and now a military culture which endorses torture and does not care what is done, provided it is done to non-Americans.