Just so we don’t miss the whole picture…

Documents released in prison scandal
‘Ramadi Madness’ shows apparent violence, but no charges filed

The ACLU is continuing its lawsuits over prisoner abuse in Iraq. That’s fine. We shouldn’t be breaking the rules if we can help it. The spotlight that the media focused on Abu Gharib (to the nearly-total exclusion of all else) nearly a year ago brought the issue to the forefront, and every story or incident registers pretty stongly still.

The events that this latest story cover ocurred in late 2003 and early 2004.

The “Ramadi Madness” video was a compilation of recordings taken of the actions of B Company, 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, a unit of the Florida National Guard that was in Iraq in 2003 and early 2004, according to the investigation documents. The company is based in West Palm Beach.

The video led to disciplinary action, the company’s commander, Maj. Joseph Lyon, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He would not specify who was disciplined or the extent of the discipline.

“The video is definitely inappropriate,” Lyon said. “However, we were still in a very tight situation, a stressful situation. … Until you’ve lived that, it’s very difficult for anyone to play armchair quarterback. You can think you’re going to act a certain way, but until you’re in that certain situation, you don’t know.”

Here’s a sample:

According to investigators, one part of the video showed an Iraqi lying on the ground, handcuffed and moaning, when a soldier kicked him. The prisoner had been shot through the abdomen because he raised a gun toward American soldiers during a raid, investigators said.

Investigators found one soldier, whose name was blacked out from the documents, who acknowledged he looked like the one in the video, although his face was obscured. The soldier said he didn’t remember kicking the Iraqi. The fate of the detainee is unclear; several officers said they didn’t believe the kick constituted an assault.


A third showed one soldier manipulating a dead Iraqi, shot while trying to run a checkpoint in a truck, to make it appear the man waved to the camera. The soldier said he only positioned the body so other U.S. personnel could remove it. He also said there was a missile in the truck.

My guess is that most of these incidents ocurred, that most of them were probably “over the line”, and that most of them probably don’t warrant the attention they’re getting.

And ‘Ramadi Madness’ is not to be confused with ‘Ramadan Madness’, brought to the people of Iraq by their neighborhood dead-enders about the same time that ‘Ramadi Madness’ was in principal photography.