We’re a few days late with this one, but Dafydd ab Hugh’s analysis of the U.S. Army’s report on prisoner abuse that was released last week is worth passing on:
The Army has released the findings of its report on all confirmed or alleged cases of prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the war on
terror in general. The “shock” headline (for the mathematically challenged) is “U.S. Reports 94 Cases of Prisoner Abuse”
But in fact, the report is stunning as an example of the dog that *did not* bark — and it’s another vindication for Bush and Rumsfeld.
First of all, headline aside, the body of the AP story makes clear that the number ninety-four refers not just to confirmed cases but to all allegations of abuse as well: if a prisoner says “I was beaten,” it’s counted as part of those ninety-four, even if there is no corroboration whatsoever for it, or even if it’s disputed by a dozen eye witnesses.
Second, and bearing the above in mind, the real shocker is at the bottom
of the article:
The Army inspector general report found that since the fall of 2001, overall the United States had held more than 50,000 prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq, a number never before made public.
I blinked in surprise at this: out of 50,000 arrests and detentions during a war, a grand total of only ninety-four allegations of abuse were made? That’s astonishingly low — and it’s a wonderful testament to the professionalism and calm devotion to duty among our soldiers, led by Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush.
When you actually break the numbers down, it gets even better. Fully 45 of the 94 allegations refer to the moment of arrest or detention: 20 are claims of “physical abuse” (which means a prisoner got roughed up during capture, which is hardly surprising, considering how many resisted such capture), the rest claims of “theft or other crimes;” both such types of claim are routinely made in a huge percentage of arrests by civilian cops of ordinary criminals, and without some evidence of extraordinary abuse (not just some prisoner saying “he shoved me!”), these are not to be taken seriously. Unless you want to make it illegal for police officers to arrest anyone, anywhere, for anything.
Finally, here is the part that truly vindicates Bush and Rumsfeld. The most serious charges — and the most despicable behavior by the Democrats, as such charges were routinely made without any evidence and without any consideration of how such reckless charges would affect the war effort — were that we routinely “tortured” prisoners during interrogations in order to gain intelligence. The word “torture” was explicitly used scores of times, as a simple Lexis/Nexus search would show.
Yet the total number of ALLEGATIONS of abuse during or related to interrogations was… eight.
Eight total cases where there was even an allegation of prisoner abuse related to interrogation. And certainly Abu Ghraib would account for all or nearly all of these allegations.
This lays to rest the only serious charge in the entire scandal: clearly, we were NOT using torture or even abuse, either routinely or even commonly, to extract intel from prisoners. All but eight allegations of abuse (out of 50,000 prisoners, 0.016%) were, in fact, soldiers using more force to arrest a prisoner than the prisoner himself thought was necessary, or a prisoner claiming that the thousand-dollar wad of bills that he had in his back pocket was missing when he got to prison (yeah, right).
…Bush is on very solid ground on this one if he just stands up for his guys. I don’t think too many Americans will be upset that some al-Qaeda killer in Iraq got a black eye during his capture.