The First Step is Admitting You Have a Torture Problem

From Salon via BuzzFlash:

Dec. 8, 2004  |  On June 15, 2003, Sgt. Frank “Greg” Ford, a counterintelligence agent in the California National Guard’s 223rd Military Intelligence (M.I.) Battalion stationed in Samarra, Iraq, told his commanding officer, Capt. Victor Artiga, that he had witnessed five incidents of torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees at his base, and requested a formal investigation. Thirty-six hours later, Ford, a 49-year-old with over 30 years of military service in the Coast Guard, Army and Navy, was ordered by U.S. Army medical personnel to lie down on a gurney, was then strapped down, loaded onto a military plane and medevac’d to a military medical center outside the country.

Although no “medevac” order appears to have been written, in violation of Army policy, Ford was clearly shipped out because of a diagnosis that he was suffering from combat stress. After Ford raised the torture allegations, Artiga immediately said Ford was “delusional” and ordered a psychiatric examination.

America needs to admit it has a torture problem. Torture, physical and psychological, has become an acceptable procedure in Bush’s America. The authorities act like alcoholics in denial: “I don’t have a problem, it’s just ‘social torture’ — I can quit anytime I want, and besides that, it’s just a few bad apples, and besides that, if you think you saw torture, you’re under too much stress and imagining things. Besides, I combat terrorism better when I’ve had a few victims tortured!”

We have a torture problem. We need to quit this cold turkey.

2 thoughts on “The First Step is Admitting You Have a Torture Problem”

  1. The sad thing about the coverup article is that the person in question is in fact crazy and delussional.

    For example: if you look closely at the photograph of Mr. Ford, you will see that there is an insignia on top of his left breast pocket. It is the insignia of the Navy Seals, or the budweiser badge as it is commonly refered to.

    It might not be important to everybody, but wearing insignias and badges you have not earned is a crime. Pretending to be a person you are not shows inmaturity and shame on who you are.

    Mr. Ford is wearing the uniform while on active duty displaying a badge he did not earn, insulting the men who have rightfully earned and died while serving their country in some of the most daring and dangerous missions anybody could ask for. It degrades the lost lives and the sacrifice made by every single Seal in the community.

    Also, Mr. Ford was known as Doctor Ford. He even used to sign with the M.D. Suffix on his name. Never mind that Mr. Ford is not a doctor.

    So, taking into consideration that this person makes allegations of torture, while pretending to be a Navy Seal and a Doctor, makes you kind of wonder the veracity of his statements.

    Also, it is nice to note that Mr. DeBatto, describes events in his article that never actually happened.

    For example. In trying to show what a poor leader Col. Pappas is, he mentions the fact that 3 soldiers died while in transit to his Change Of Command Ceremony. That never took place.

    In reality, the soldiers died while travelling to LTC Griffin’s Change Of Command Ceremony, one of COL. Pappas’ subordinate commanders.

    Mr. DeBatto mentioned the fact that the 223rd was one of the first divisions to enter Iraq after the “Shock and Awe” aerial bombardment.

    Well. The fact that the 223rd was one of the first “UNITS” to enter the war is almost true. Elements of the 223rd MI Bn entered Iraq early in the war. But those elements were attached and/or assigned to the 519th MI Bn (ABN TE). The HQ Section was safely in Kuwait awaiting movement orders (including DeBatto and Ford).

    DeBatto calls the 223rd a “division”. Anybody who knows military doctrine can tell you that a Division is a military unit composed of many brigades and battalions. For an “intelligence expert” to call a battalion “a division” makes you kind of wonder if he is truly that familiar with simple military structure. Is the trying to make it sound like the 223rd is a huge unit? Or is he just showing his ignorance in simple military doctrine and terminology.

    Ford mentions the fact that “no medevac order” was written. That is not cover up material. That is just a sign of the fact that the headquarters section of the 223rd did not know how to operate in that environment. The 223rd MI Bn (L) (prior to the OIF I deployment) had never been to war. Many rules and regulations were broken or omitted not due to “conspiracy”, but just plain ignorance and lack of knowledge. No person be it civilian or military is authorized into a military aircraft without being entered into the aircraft’ Manifest. That is a matter of procedure. Mr. Ford’s departure from the theater is a known fact. Everybody in the unit knew about it, and most were glad about it.

    To finish this of, I would like to say that I personally know two of the soldiers Mr. Ford is accusing of “torture”. He could have not picked two nicer people to make wild accusations against. These two are professionals, who have ethics and respect for human life and dignity. It pains me to hear that Mr. Ford is tarnishing their names and their military careers. To accuse somebody of war crimes is a tall order and it must be done with a clear head and appropiate evidence.

    And even though a lot of people did not enjoy working for LTC Ryan or CPT Artiga, these two officers are hardly the types to try to cover up anything of this magnitude. LTC Ryan was media-savy and would have jumped at the chance to get his name in the news.

    Mr. Ford might be trying to clear his name, but we in the 223rd know him for who he is: a wannabe navy seal who falsely claimed to be a doctor, and is now claiming that his team-mates are torturers. He shames the military intelligence community, he shames his THT team who did outstanding work in the field, but worse of all, he shames himself.


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