Monday, November 28, 2005

R.Dreyfuss: Our Monsters in Iraq

Thanks to CL for passing this along. --RB

Our Monsters In Iraq
Robert Dreyfuss
November 18, 2005

Robert Dreyfuss is the author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books, 2005). Dreyfuss is a freelance writer based in Alexandria, Va., who specializes in politics and national security issues. He is a contributing editor at The Nation, a contributing writer at Mother Jones, a senior correspondent for The American Prospect, and a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone.He can be reached at his website:

It is time to start waving the bloody shirt. There is no longer any doubt that the men that the United States has installed in power in Iraq are monsters. Not only that, but they are monsters armed, trained and supported by George W. Bush's administration. The very same Bush administration that defends torture of captives in the so-called War on Terrorism is using 150,000 U.S. troops to support a regime in Baghdad for which torture, assassination and other war crimes are routine.

So far, it appears that the facts are these: that Iraq's interior ministry, whose top officials, strike forces and police commando units (including the so-called Wolf Brigade) are controlled by paramilitary units from Shiite militias, maintained a medieval torture chamber; that inside that facility, hundreds of mostly Sunni Arab men were bestialized, with electric drills skewering their bones, with their skins flayed off, and more; that roving units of death-squad commandos are killing countless other Sunni Arab men in order to terrorize the Iraqi opposition. Even the Washington Post, that last-ditch defender of America's illegal and unprovoked assault on Iraq, says:

Scandal over the secret prison has forced the seven-month-old Shiite-led government to confront growing charges of mass illegal detentions, torture and killings of Sunni men. Members of the Sunni minority, locked in a struggle with the Shiite majority over the division of power in Iraq, say men dressed in Interior Ministry uniforms have repeatedly rounded up Sunni men from neighborhoods and towns. Bodies of scores of them have been found dumped by roadsides or in gullies.

The New York Times reports that the Iraqi interior minister isn't all that upset about the torture center. Bayan Jabr, "speaking of the prison in an angry sarcastic tone, said, 'There has been much exaggeration about this issue.' And he added, "Nobody was beheaded.'" So, apparently not beheading innocents is the standard of justice in the New Iraq. And, apparently there may be dozens, scores or hundreds of similar facilities.

This is not a surprise.

Nearly two years ago, writing in the American Prospect, I wrote the following: "The Prospect has learned that part of a secret $3 billion in new funds—tucked away in the $87 billion Iraq appropriation that Congress approved in early November—will go toward the creation of a paramilitary unit manned by militiamen associated with former Iraqi exile groups...The bulk of the covert money will support U.S. efforts to create a lethal, and revenge-minded, Iraqi security force." Except for a parallel story by Sy Hersh in the New Yorker, the story was ignored.

Over the past two years, writing for, I have repeatedly written about Shiite death squads and about abuses by the paramilitary Badr Brigade, the secret army trained and run by Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Iraqi Sunnis and opposition leaders, including Aiham Al Sammarae (as I wrote for TomPaine ) have charged that the Iraqi government has been running assassination teams. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, have been killed already, including two attorneys for those accused in the kangaroo court set up to convict Saddam Hussein and other former Iraqi government officials. The Post suggests that the prison uncovered in Baghdad was a "secret torture center run with the help of intelligence agents from neighboring Iran." Read that again: intelligence agents from Iran.

Last week I had a chilling encounter with one of the monsters responsible for the Murder Inc. units run by Badr and by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). At a Washington think tank, I met Adel Abdul Mahdi, Iraq's so-called deputy president and a SCIRI official. When I asked Mahdi about reports that Iraqi police and interior ministry squads were carrying out assassinations and other illegal acts, he didn't deny it—but, he said, such acts were merely a reaction to the terrorism of the resistance. "There is terrorism on only one side," he said. "Inappropriate acts by the other side, by the police—this is something else. This is a reaction." As far as civilian casualties in Sunni towns, he had this to say: "You can't fight terrorism without attacking some popular areas."

I also asked him about the Badr Brigade, the Iranian-backed paramilitary force that is the main domestic army propping up Abdul Mahdi's Shiite coalition, he said "they are disarmed," which is patently absurd. He added: "They participate fully in the political process."

Abdul Mahdi had this to say about Fallujah, the city that was obliterated by the U.S. armed forces a year ago. "It is one of the most peaceful areas in Iraq. I don't know whether the people are happy or not. But it is one of the most peaceful cities."

Make no mistake. The gangsters now running Iraq are our creatures.

Earlier this week, I was speaking with someone who was involved in the pre-2003 war planning effort vis-à-vis Iraq. As I mentioned in TPM Cafe , he told me that some of his colleagues realized that the New Iraq would probably be taken over not by Ahmed Chalabi, but by the Shiite fundamentalists. Those radical-right parties (along with the Kurds) were the real forces that took part in Chalabi's INC bloc. And the United States consciously supported the toppling of Saddam knowing that radical Shiites would be the chief beneficiaries. This was not an intelligence failure. We knew it. This was an explicit decision by the neocon-dominated cabal to replace Saddam with Shiite crazies. Now, we see that those crazies are running Saddam-like torture prisons where they use electric drills and flay the skin off Sunni captives.

The military in Iraq is scrambling to limit the damage from the stunning revelation about the men who are running Iraq today. We toppled Saddam—and in his place we've installed a hundred mini-Saddams.

Iraqi Guards Seen as Death Squads
Among the varied armed security men on Baghdad's streets these days, you can't miss the police commandos... The commandos are part of the Iraqi security forces that the Bush administration says will gradually replace American troops in this war. But the commandos are being blamed for a wave of kidnappings and executions around Baghdad since the spring.


See also, Kim Sengupta, The Dirty War: Torture and mutilation used on Iraqi "insurgents", The Independent (UK) Nov 20, 2005


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