...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Thursday, June 10, 2004
      ( 4:27 PM )
Beating Our Own

There is something wrong. Not that we didn't already know it. But something is seriously wrong. The immorality of the war that BushCo has conducted, and the top-down flaunting of any sort of adherance to moral and legal standards for the humane treatment of prisoners has infected our troops to the deepest levels. It was shocking to us that those photos of Abu Ghraib could show young reservists smiling while Iraqi prisoners were humiliated and tortured. We have been stunned to find that at the highest levels of government, torture was sanctioned and in fact encouraged in some instances. But now we find that even our own soldiers have faced a brutality that is inhuman.
From warblogs cc, via TalkLeft:

Remember Sean Baker, the soldier at Guantanamo who was brutally beaten while playing the role of a detainee during a training exercise? The Army had been claiming that his medical discharge was unrelated to the traumatic brain injury he sustained while the trainees were learning how to abuse prisoners. Now the Army admits that the discharge was "partly" related to that injury.

Is there any part of the executive branch of government that ever tells the truth the first time?

I actually didn't ever hear the story of Sean Baker. Here's what happened:

Sean Baker says that while serving as a member of the 438th Military Police company in Guantanamo Bay during Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was ordered to pose as the enemy for a training exercise. Baker said he received a severe brain injury because of the subsequent beating he received.

Baker claims that he was ordered to put on one of the orange jump suits worn by the detainees. "At first I was reluctant, but he said 'you'll be fine...put this on.' And I did," said Baker.

"I was on duty as an MP in an internal camp (at Guantanamo Bay) where the detainees were housed," said Baker.

Baker says an officer in charge issued the order because he wanted the training to be as real as possible. Baker says what took place next happened at the hands of four U.S. soldiers - soldiers he believes didn't know he was one of them - has changed his life forever.


Baker's certificate of discharge from active duty shows the 37-year-old had a character of service that was "honorable" It shows he retired due to temporary disability - the brain injury Baker claims is the direct result of posing as a prisoner and being beaten at the hands of U.S. soldiers.

And now the Army admits that yes, his brain injuries were the cause of his disability dismissal:

Reversing itself, the Army said Tuesday that a G.I. was discharged partly because of a head injury he suffered while posing as an uncooperative detainee during a training exercise at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The Army had previously said Specialist Sean Baker's medical discharge in April was unrelated to the injury he received last year at the detention center, where the United States holds suspected terrorists.

So not only did the Army lie about Mr. Baker's severe injuries, but we find that our Reserve soldiers are being trained to beat human beings within (or over?) an inch of their lives. How many prisoners have died at the hands of US soldiers being trained to act on behalf of a government that recognizes nothing but bullying and brutality as acceptable conduct? If even a training exercise ends in brain injury, what is really happening in these prisons?

What legacy are we leaving our children? How many people in this world will forever be our enemies because of our senseless and needless brutality? How far have we gone to punish people instead of using our resources to create a more peaceful world? What other end can these actions bring us but doom? I am sorry to be so dismal, but this story just grieves me. What have we wrought?

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