For the third time, I must quote Bush:
“I shared a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated. I didn’t like it one bit,” President Bush said in Washington.
The people who are alleged to have carried out the abuse “do not reflect the nature of men and women we sent overseas”, Mr Bush added.
“That’s not the way we do things in America.”
From today’s New York Times:
Physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, similar to what has been uncovered in Iraq, takes place in American prisons with little public knowledge or concern, according to corrections officials, inmates and human rights advocates.
… the man who directed the reopening of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq last year and trained the guards there resigned under pressure as director of the Utah Department of Corrections in 1997 after an inmate died while shackled to a restraining chair for 16 hours. The inmate, who suffered from schizophrenia, was kept naked the whole time.
The Utah official, Lane McCotter, later became an executive of a private prison company, one of whose jails was under investigation by the Justice Department when he was sent to Iraq as part of a team of prison officials, judges, prosecutors and police chiefs picked by Attorney General John Ashcroft to rebuild the country’s criminal justice system.
So it both directly reflects on how we do things in America — and the people we sent to Iraq. I think the President should apologize.
(Link via Crooked Timber.)
UPDATE: More from the Washington Post:
For example, in September 1996, guards at the Brazoria County jail in Texas staged a drug raid on inmates that was videotaped for training purposes. The tape showed inmates forced to strip and lie on the ground. A police dog attacked several prisoners; the tape clearly showed one being bitten on the leg. Guards prodded prisoners with stun guns and forced them to crawl along the ground. Then they dragged injured inmates face down back to their cells. The county and other defendants eventually settled a lawsuit for $2.2 million.