Monday, September 26, 2005

You'll have heard by now about the much blogged Human Rights Watch report on the treatment of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers in Iraq --- in the field, far away from Abu Ghraib. About how it was routine to beat them or work them to exhaustion. About how this treatment was endorsed and supervised by Army intelligence. About how it was routinely meted out regardless by soldiers who were off duty and who weren't even trying to elicit information --- just using the detainees as, literally, human punching bags. About how this was all going on at the same time as the public show of contrition over the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

What gets me is the slimy term of art that the Army is using to describe these people: they're "PUCs" --- Persons Under Control. Because if anyone used the word "prisoner", or worse, "prisoner of war" to describe the people that they rounded up and detained on the information and belief that they were members of an opposing military force, then someone might think the Geneva conventions applied. We can't have that.


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