U.S. Military Torturers at Bagram Escape Punishment
Heretik reminds us that abusive torturers in the military continue to be let off the hook. The New York Times today has a four page article on why those responsible for the 2002 deaths of two detainees, Dilawar Mullah Habibullah, at Bagram prison in Afghanistan will not be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. (Background here.]
In the modest Fort Bliss courtrooms where the trials have been held, the two Afghan victims have rarely been evoked, except in autopsy photographs. But much testimony focused on hardships faced by the soldiers themselves: the poor training they received, the tough conditions in which they operated, the vague rules with which they had to contend. As in other recent abuse cases, Army judges and jurors also seemed to consider the soldiers' guilt or innocence with an acute sense of the sacrifices they had made in serving overseas.
Let's rewrite that sentence in terms of a typical murder trial in the U.S. We would never see a non-prosecution based on that type of excuse. The biggest concession likely would be a sentence of life without parole instead of a death sentence. Even then, many Americans would be outraged at the "leniency" the defendants were shown:
In the modest courtroom where the trial was held, the two victims have rarely been evoked, except in autopsy photographs. But much testimony focused on hardships faced by the defendants themselves: the poor upbringing they received, their lack of role models, the childhood abuse with which they had to contend. As in other recent murder cases, judges and jurors also seemed to consider the defendants' guilt or innocence with an acute sense of the deprivation the defendants had suffered in their lives.
Why is acceptable to forego prosecuting murder when the killers are in the military but not in their own communities?
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