Friday, August 20, 2004

This man's done no wrong, and he needs a doctor's care

If this is true, then by all means, the doctors complicit in prisoner abuse are just as due for punishment as Lynndie England and her ilk. But - though the Reuters article seems to attempt tiptoeing carefully around the possibility - the author of the journal article seems to have taken the Michael Moore approach to journalism: carefully cherry-picking damning quotes from any and all sources, whether or not they be relevant or credible, and issuing blanket condemnations. For instance, 'aid agency information?' Busybody NGOs paranoically forecast there would be a mass exodus out of Iraq, and prepared for millions of refugees that never came. Those same NGOs were also rather sadly willing to believe Iraqi propaganda about depleted uranium for the sake of demonizing American forces after the Gulf War. Professor Miles also makes something of an astounding leap of logic here: "Army officials stated that a physician and a psychiatrist helped design, approve and monitor interrogations at Abu Ghraib," Miles wrote, citing U.S. congressional hearings, sworn statements of detainees and soldiers, medical journal accounts and aid agency information. What I take from that is the understanding that a physician and a psychiatrist were part of the process creating the proper, non-abusive system of interrogation that was intended - not part of the corruption and degradation of that intended-humane concept that ultimately resulted in prisoner abuse. Concluding that this tenuous connection makes them latter-day Doctors Mengele is as flawed a reasoning as that offered by John Kerry in accusing all Vietnam vets of war crimes in 1971 - it just doesn't add up. It's smoke and mirrors, attempting to cast aspersions on a larger group by focusing on the decidedly non-representative bad apples. If any actual evidence should come to light that the doctors in question were complicit, then as stated above, I'm all for stringing them up on as many charges as can be found. Such horrors are not just wrong in the normal (which is to say, abnormal) way of unthinking brutishness, but a monstrous betrayal of the Hippocratic Oath.


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