Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Winning enemies and losing friends. 

This article was originally posted by Eschaton. The extent of the debacle in Iraq is being furthered by an obviously exhausted and demoralised army that has been given an impossible job.

Children as young as 11 are claimed to be among those locked up for 24 hours a day in rooms with no light, or held in overcrowded tents in temperatures approaching 50C (122F).

On the edge of Baghdad International Airport, US military commanders have built a tent city that human rights groups are comparing to the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Remarkably, the Americans have also set up another detention camp in the grounds of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad. Many thousands of Iraqis were taken there during the Saddam years and never seen again.

Every day, relatives scuff their way along the dirt track to reach the razor wire barricades surrounding Abu Ghraib, where they plead in vain for information about the whereabouts of the missing.

The response from impassive American sentries is to point to a sign, scrawled in red felt-tip pen on a piece of cardboard hanging on the barbed wire, which says: “No visits are allowed, no information will be given and you must leave.”