Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This Week's Whopper...

...And courtesy of the Washington Post, not Burger King. According to the WaPo, two former detainees claim that U.S. troops used wild beasts as part of a process of torture and degredation.

The Post bases its story on the accounts of two former Iraqi detainees, held by American forces for several months in 2003. As Austin Higgins at A Certain Slant of Light notes, the story contains all the required elements from Democratic talking points on the alleged mistreatment of detainees: torture, Abu Ghraib, and the ACLU, which has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the former detainees.

Two Iraqi men who were arrested in Iraq in 2003 but never charged with crimes say that U.S. troops put them in a cage with lions, pretended to execute them in a firing line and humiliated them during interrogations at multiple detention facilities.

Sherzad Khalid, 35, and Thahe Sabber, 37, say they were brutally beaten over several months at U.S. facilities such as Camp Bucca, Abu Ghraib prison and another detention facility at the Baghdad airport. They said the abuse occurred when they were unable to tell U.S. troops where Saddam Hussein was hiding and did not know about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"That was a terrifying period for me," Khalid said through an interpreter yesterday, slowly recounting being shoved into a lion's cage at one of the presidential palaces in Baghdad three times before soldiers lined him up for a mock execution. "I was wondering if it could be real that the American army would act this way."

Higgins points out some obvious problems with these claims, but here's another one. According to at least one account, surviving wild animals from the Hussein family's personal collections were moved to the Baghdad Zoo in April 2003, shortly after the fall of Baghdad, and (presumably) before the capture and alleged torture of Khalid and Sabber.

You would think that the Post would have their Baghdad reporter check these claims against the arrival of wild animals from the palaces of Saddam and his sons. But why let the facts get in the way of a story that resurrects one of the MSM's favorite topics (Abu Ghraib), and tars the military in the process. BTW, ABC's Nightline is also planning a segment on these claims. I rather doubt they'll bother to compare the dates of Khalid and Sabber's internment with the evacuation of wild animals from Hussein's former palaces.

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