British abuse of captives

_40103599_mirror203.jpgUnconscionable. Now some British soldiers are implicated in the beating and humiliation of at least one Iraqi prisoner.

The Mirror says the pictures were handed over by British soldiers who claimed a rogue element in the British army was responsible for abusing prisoners and civilians.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the soldiers told the paper no charges were brought against the unnamed captive.
They allege during his eight-hour ordeal he was threatened with execution, his jaw broken and his teeth smashed.
After being beaten and urinated on, he was driven away and dumped from the back of a moving vehicle, the soldiers claimed, unaware if he was dead.

The full story from the _Daily Mirror_ is here. Warning: The photos are graphic.

Britain’s army chief, Gen. Mike Jackson, ordered an immediate inquiry after it emerged that the Daily Mirror newspaper in its Saturday editions published photos of British soldiers abusing prisoners.
The paper told Reuters the images included one of a British soldier urinating on a crouching, hooded Iraqi.
After talks with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, [President George W.] Bush told reporters: “I also want to remind people that those few people who did that do not reflect the nature of the men and women we’ve sent overseas. That’s not the way the people are. It’s not their character, that are serving our nation in the cause of freedom.
“And there will be an investigation,” Bush said of the troops’ actions. “I think they’ll be taken care of.”

Bush said he was “disgusted.” “I am disgusted, too,”: and outraged. Billmon has more. This past month will be seen as a turning point in this war, I think, when things went so pear-shaped that the occupiers were forced to counter an enraged and armed populace with increasingly muscular firepower. I’m not predicting — yet — the U.S. will be forced from Iraq, but I think the casualties are about to go up a lot — on both sides.
Do the perpetrators of these outrages know the danger they have placed their comrades and every other foreigner working in Iraq? Do they have any idea how taboo both public nudity and homosexuality are in the Islamic world? Do they realize that they have given who knows how many angry young men a strong shove into the arms of Al Qaeda, Jaysh al-Mahdi or the general Iraqi insurgency?
It seems they must have had at least an instinctual knowledge of how awful their abuse would be. They picked a perfect storm of taboos and humiliation — and documented it! — that would enrage the Arab world.
You can’t underestimate the importance of dignity and pride in Islamic culture. It’s one of the religion’s defining characteristics, and even the humblest of goat herders I met in Iraq comported himself with dignity and treated me with a great deal of respect.
But humiliation stings deeply in such a culture, and the Arab world is still keenly aware of its decline against the West, who are often viewed as a rabble of upstart Christians who should be more grateful for astronomy, the number zero and the basics of the pulmonary system, just to name a few gifts of the Arabs. At its zenith the Islamic civilization was the most advanced in the world.
So to have the personal humiliation of the prisoners compounded by such taboos as nudity and homosexuality, and at the hands of a woman soldier from an invading Western army, no less, will be, I fear, too much. In early April, Americans saw how angry the Iraqis were at the occupation with the “massacre in Fallujah”: At the end of April, Americans — and the British — found out why.