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The Collective
Friday, May 20, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the NYT: In U.S. Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates’ Deaths

It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time.

I understand the exigencies of war and that in combat the innocent die. However, one the chaos of the battlefield had been dispensed with, new standards have to apply-especially by a democratic government that is founded on basic human rights.

To simply assume that everyone is guilty in these cases is what leads to this kind of situation. (And that is part of the problem-people will say that terrorist deserve such treatment. Setting aside whether that is the case, certainly innocent people don’t deserve this treatment). There is the further question of whether such treatment is actually of any use (and here).

I can think of little more horrible than being an innocent man grabbed off the street and then chained in a jail cell, beaten and interrogated only to die before my family could even find out what happened to me. It strikes me as the very depth of human nightmares.

I fully understand that this is not US policy, and that these persons were punished. However, it is also the case that there have been too many of these types of stories for a democratic citizenry to take without objection.

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