Sunday, May 09, 2004

Sully recently linked to a Roger Simon post that quotes heavily from an Iraqi blog, giving a 'different' perspective on Abu Ghraib -- an interview with a doctor who served at the prison for a month.

Setting aside the question of how representative the views of Iraqis with internet access are, and the fact that the doctor being interviewed isn't named and doesn't indicate when he was at Abu Ghraib, I'd just like to highlight the following passages -- the last of which, of course, Simon doesn't quote:

...I’ll tell you what I know. First of all, the prisoners are divided into two groups; the ordinary criminals and the political ones. I used to visit the ordinary criminals during every shift, and after that, the guards would bring anyone who has a complaint to me at the prison’s hospital.

- What about the “political” ones?

- I’m not allowed to go to their camps, but when one of them feels ill, the guards bring him to me.


- What else? How often are they allowed to take a bath? (This may sound strange to some people, but my friend understood my question. We knew from those who spent sometime in Saddam’s prisons, and survived, that they were allowed to take a shower only once every 2-3 weeks.)

- Anytime they want! There are bathrooms next to each hall.

- Is it the same with the “political” prisoners?

- I never went there, but I suppose it’s the same because they were always clean when they came to the hospital, and their clothes were always clean too.

So, we've established that the doctor had no direct access to the ward where the abuses took place, and had minimal and supervised contact with those prisoners.

- Can you tell me anything about those “political” prisoners? Are they Islamists, Ba’athists or what?

- Islamists?? I don't care what they call themselves, but they are thugs, they swear all the time, and most of them are addicts or homosexuals or both. Still very few of them looked educated.

Aside from the obvious bigotry... how would he know that, exactly, if he was never in the ward and had minimal contact with them?

The only refuge left would seem to be screamingly obvious agit-prop.

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