06/01/2004: Why am I not surprised by this?
The Army is investigating reports of assaults against Iraqi civilians and thefts of their money and jewelry by U.S. troops during patrols, raids and house searches, defense officials said on Monday.Given that there's been quite a bit of evidence that U.S. troops had been viewing Iraqis as "untermenschen", that's hardly surprising.
The probe by the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Division, or CID, suggests that a major scandal over abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans goes beyond detention centers into the homes and streets of the troubled country.
"There are a number of criminal investigations by the Army into allegations of assault, theft and other issues that extend beyond the investigations into activities at detention facilities," Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
"I am not aware whether any of those CID investigations have been concluded," he told Reuters in response to questions about the reported incidents that have drawn angry complaints from Iraqis.
Whitman and other defense officials, who asked not to be identified, confirmed a report in The New York Times on Monday that the investigations of misconduct by troops had spread beyond detention centers such as the infamous Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.
The Times reported that the Army was also investigating at least two dozen other cases, including the suspected theft of cash from Iraqis stopped by soldiers at roadside checkpoints, apparently under the pretext of confiscating money from suspected insurgents or their financial backers.
The silver lining in the dark cloud is that, just like Abu Ghuraib, it's the Army that started the investigation of these allegations, and unlike the Abu Ghuraib atrocities I'm sure that there's no credible evidence that this is a policy reaching up to the top levels of DoD. Let's hope that the responsible parties are suitably punished.
Len on 06.01.04 @ 12:32 PM CST