The Americans are fundamentally disliked in Iraq and although the Sunni insurgents have finally offered conditions for a ceasefire, the Western media has spent far too little time examining the mind-set of the US military itself. It’s not pretty:
In a study that appears in the current issue of Military Medicine, William C. Holmes, MD, MSCE, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and lead author of the paper, assesses veterans’ tolerance for detainee abuse and variables associated with it.
In the study, three scenarios of detainee abuse, taken directly from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, were presented to veterans. After each scenario, zero tolerance – or the belief that abuse is “completely unacceptable” regardless of who the detainee is – was assessed for the described abuse. Holmes, who is also an investigator at the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, found that:
* Only 16% of veterans indicated zero tolerance for detainee exposure and deprivation
* Only 31% indicated zero tolerance for detainee exposure and sexualized humiliation
* Not even half (48%) indicated zero tolerance for detainee rape
“The level of tolerance exhibited by these findings is surprising, but may not be true for all veterans and certainly cannot be said to be representative of active-duty military,” says Holmes. He adds, “These findings do indicate, however, the value of assessing tolerance for abuse, and for using scenario-based assessment to do that; it provides an argument for similar work being done in active-duty military, particularly those who are heading to Iraq to become involved in sensitive, oversight positions.”
UPDATE: Check out the American Torture website.