As we all recall, in attempt to justify the Iraq War, the Bush administration claimed that Iraq still possessed weapons of mass destruction and that it harbored al Qaeda. While those didn’t pass the smell test, there was truth to their illegitimate reasons for the invasion: staking a claim to Iraqi oil, establishing a security base in the Middle East other than fickle Saudi Arabia, and just putting the fear of God (or Allah) into the Middle East.

One other justification, deposing a serial human rights violator, suckered in many, even some liberals. Deep down, they must have known that the Bush administration would never launch a war out of ethical considerations. What country does really? They seemed to embrace the result, though, even if it wasn’t done for the right motivation.

But the recent WikiLeaks document dump shows the extent to which Bush & Co. failed at even halting human rights violations. As part of its incomparable coverage, the Guardian reports that the documents record (emphasis added) . . .

. . . the case of a man who was arrested by [Iraqi] police on suspicion of preparing a suicide bomb. In the station, an officer shot him in the leg and then, the log continues, this detainee “suffered abuse which amounted to cracked ribs, multiple lacerations and welts and bruises from being whipped with a large rod and hose across his back”. This was all recorded. [The outcome?] “No further investigation.” . . .

This is the impact of Frago 242 . . . a “fragmentary order” which summarises a complex requirement [ordering] coalition troops not to investigate . . . the abuse of detainees, unless it directly involves members of the coalition.

It gets worse, as another Guardian report explains:

[A] series of log entries in 2004 and 2005 describe repeated raids by US infantry, who then handed their captives over to the Wolf Brigade for “further questioning”. [The] feared 2nd battalion of the interior ministry’s special commandos [, the] Wolf Brigade was created and supported by the US in an attempt to re-employ elements of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard, this time to terrorise insurgents.

How did this help the cause of the United States? Returning to the first Guardian report (emphasis added) . . .

Frago 242 appears to have been issued as part of the wider political effort to pass the management of security from the coalition to Iraqi hands. In effect, it means that the regime has been forced to change its political constitution but allowed to retain its use of torture.

In other words, the United States may have deposed the human rights violator but kept the violations. After all, they were only a couple of degrees more barbaric than what the U.S. military and contractors were doing in bases Iraq and at Guantanamo.

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