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|Just In Case You've Forgotten|
In all the kerfuffle over Guantanamo Bay, I think it's entirely possible that we've forgotten who and what we're dealing with. So the New York Times (of all places) provides us with a little reminder.
Marines on an operation to eliminate insurgents that began Friday broke through the outside wall of a building in this small rural village to find a torture center equipped with electric wires, a noose, handcuffs, a 574-page jihad manual - and four beaten and shackled Iraqis.
This is not particularly news--we've found torture chambers throughout Iraq, and it's never a pretty picture. But we've never found someone who could give us a first-hand account.
He was having a lunch of lettuce and cucumbers in the kitchen of his home in the small desert village of Rabot with his mother and brother. An Opel sedan pulled up. Two men in masks carrying machine guns got out, seized him, and, leaving his mother sobbing, put him in the trunk of their car.
The drove to the house here. They taped his face, put cotton in his ears, and began to beat him.
The only possible explanation for the seizure he could think of was his time in the new Iraqi Army. Unemployed and illiterate, Mr. Fathil signed up after the American occupation began.
But nine months ago, when continuing working meant risking the wrath of the Jihadists, he quit. In all, 10 friends from his unit have been killed, he said. So have his uncle and his uncle's son, though neither ever worked as soldiers.
The men tended to talk in whispers, he said, telling him five times a day, in low voices in his ear, to pray, and offering him sand, instead of water, to wash himself. Just once, he asked if he could see his mother, and one of them said to him, "You won't leave until you are dead."
Mr. Fathil did not know there were other hostages. He found out only after the captors left and he was able to remove the tape from his eyes.
The routine in the house was regular. Because of the windows, it was always dark inside. Mr. Fathil said he was fed once a day, and allowed to use a bathroom as necessary in the back of the house.
When marines burst in, one of the captives was lying under a stairwell, badly beaten. At first, they thought he was dead.
The others were emaciated and battered. Mr. Fathil had fared the best. The other three were taken by medical helicopter to Balad, a base near Baghdad with a hospital.
But he still had been hurt badly. Marks from beatings criss-crossed his back, and deep pocks, apparently from electric shock burns, were gouged in his skin.
The shocks, he said, felt "like my soul is being ripped out of my body." But when he would start to scream, and his body would pull up from the shock, they would begin to beat him, he said.
Oh, well . . .see--they let him use the bathroom. Guess that would make them better than Gitmo.
I wonder if they refused to turn on the air conditioning while he was a captive--now THAT would have been inhumane.