This morning the Washington Post reports that prior to the invasion of Iraq, the CIA had funded, trained, and armed an Iraqi paramilitary group, the “Scorpions,” to “foment rebellion, conduct sabotage, and help CIA paramilitaries who entered Baghdad and other cities target buildings and individuals.” Then we learn that the Scorpions helped the military interrogate and torture officers captured in Iraq. Not al-Qaeda detainees, not Taliban detainees, not people who were planning to blow up anything in the United States. By the way, given that we invaded Iraq, the Geneva Conventions should very clearly apply there—none of this murky business that the president thinks should apply to al-Qaeda. But guess not. Laws are for pansies. Go read Marty Lederman’s analysis here and here. As Lederman says of an Iraqi general who was beaten to death by Army officers:
From all that appears, this was a concerted, planned, systematic and extended series of brutal interrogations, carried out by numerous persons and entities, within the military and the CIA, in a manner that they all considered to be authorized. No rotten apples. No nightshift. Official U.S. policy and practice.