The NY Times opinion article by Thomas Friedman," A torturous compromise,"
relying on testimony before Congress of Lawrence Wilkerson (former
Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff), describes the brutal
treatment of prisoners captured by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Friedman cites that 100 such prisoners died while in captivity, with 27 of them
being the probable victims of homocide.
Nevertheless, Friedman then lays
out plainly the nature of the brutal radical Islamic terrorist enemy that we
are forced to confront in this war. Friedman is making the case for
President Obama’s decision not to look back at those who may have been to blame
for the inhumane treatment of these prisoners, because to do so would
possibly require dragging Rumsfeld, Bush and others in the Bush Administration
into legal prosecutions that would rip the nation apart.
While Friedman makes a redeeming and artfully presented rationale for
Obama’s "don’t look back" philosophy, the very insinuation that these enemy
prisoner deaths might lead to prosecutions of those up the line in cabinet
level positions or higher is insane. Based on the brutality of insurgents
against our troops, and civilians, it is a miracle that more than 27 enemy
prisoners were not the victims of "homicide." Furthermore, the small number of
enemy prisoner deaths suggests that these instances were isolated events,
and not part of a systemic breakdown in the manner in which hostiles were
treated during imprisonment.