Information Warfare: May 25, 2005

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The next big thing in news headlines denouncing the American military will be horror stories about how Iraqi soldiers and police treat terrorism suspects. While the Iraqi security forces have been given training, by Americans,  on how to be kind and gentle with the suspects they pick up, old habits die hard. In the Middle East, actually, in most of the world, brutal treatment of prisoners is pretty routine. But because American troops are working with the Iraqis, the Americans will be blamed for any bad treatment (by Western standards) terrorist suspects get. Journalists love stories like this, because if the Americans did try and control the way Iraqi police dealt with suspects, the Americans could be accused of interfering with Iraqi sovereignty. In a practical sense, the American troops could not stop what the Iraqi cops and troops do to prisoners, because there are not enough American troops to be there for every arrest, and watch over the prisoners as long as they are in custody, and at risk. 

U.S. troops have been told to get out of the way when Iraqi cops or soldiers interrogate prisoners. American officers and NCOs serving as advisors in Iraqi police and army units are told to, well, advise the Iraqis that there are better, and less brutal, ways to get information from prisoners. This wont get American troops off the hook with the media. In fact, theres no way that the army can win in this game of guilt by association. So dont be surprised when the stories begin to appear later this year.

 


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