Is it 1971, or is it Just a Nightmare?
On April 14, 1971, 1st Lt. Michael Uhl, an intelligence officer with the Americal Division from 1968-69, testified before a congressional committee with regard to standard "interrogation techniques" (i.e. torture) in Vietnam, as applied to military and civilian prisoners captured by U.S. forces in Vietnam.
His testimony to the Subcommittee on Government Operations revealed not only a pattern of endemic beatings, but also rapes and similar "sexual" atrocities, electric shock, and water torture. He also testified to the use of summary executions as a regular occurrence.
In 2004, while commenting on Abu Ghraib, Mr. Uhl wrote the following for Antiwar.com:
"Some of the parallels between what I witnessed in Vietnam as leader of a small military intelligence team, and the details reported by [Seymour] Hersh about Abu Ghraib, reflect, in my view, disturbing patterns of American military practice over decades that the American public would prefer not to know about. As one of HershÂs informants puts it, "The process is unpleasant. ItÂs like making sausage. You like the results, but you donÂt want to know how itÂs made." The more serious of these wartime parallels have grievous consequences for both victims (typically civilian non-combatants) and perpetrators, who in time reenter the U.S. population as damaged veterans." (Emphasis Added.)
White Phosphorus and Napalm in 1971
On April 16, 1971, a reporter named Fred Branfman, who had spent the period of March 1967 through February 1971 in neutral Laos, testified before a congressional committee, unmasking a "secret" U.S. policy of saturation bombing over Laos-- using white phosphorus and napalm. Branfman later wrote:
"Village after village was leveled, countless people buried alive by high explosives, or burnt alive by napalm and white phosphorous, or riddled by anti-personnel bomb pellets"
Later, a Senate Report concluded that:
"...throughout all this there has been a policy of subterfuge and secrecy through such things as saturation bombing and the forced evacuation of population from enemy held or threatened areas-we have helped to create untold agony for hundreds of thousands of villagers."
As I blogged yesterday, it has been reported that white phosphorus and a napalm-like substance have again been used to decimate civilians in Fallujah. Today, it was uncovered by The Daily Kos that the U.S. Army's March Edition (PDF file) of Field Artillery Magazine even admits to the use of White Phosphorus in Fallujah:
"WP [i.e., white phosphorus rounds] proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."
Branfman and Uhl both testified within two days of one another. Here we are, thirty four (34) years later, and we apparently haven't learnt one damn thing. Once again, we are talking about torture, white phosphourus, and napalm.
Wake me up from this bad dream...PLEASE!