Small Wars Journal

Inside Trump Defense Secretary Pick’s Efforts to Halt Torture

Inside Trump Defense Secretary Pick’s Efforts to Halt Torture by Sheri Fink and Helene Cooper, New York Times

The body of the Iraqi prisoner was found naked and badly bruised in 2003, outside a detention center in southern Iraq run by United States Marines. The 52-year-old man had been beaten, deprived of sleep, forced to stand for long periods and interrogated by Marines about his alleged role in a fatal ambush of American forces.

James N. Mattis, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s nominee for secretary of defense, was then a lieutenant general and the commander of the Marine division in Iraq responsible for the center. He quickly convened an inquiry into the death, which led to courts-martial, and banned the harsh techniques used at the prison.

“General Mattis was all up in arms over this,” Ralph Dengler, then a lieutenant colonel, testified at a military hearing in January 2004. He added that the commander, who arrived hours after the discovery on a planned visit with his British counterpart, had immediately described the death as “the worst thing that happened” under his watch in the Iraq war.

“I was surprised that he would have felt that strongly about it, considering many of the other deaths, including American deaths,” Colonel Dengler said.

Colleagues say the general’s handling of the episode reflects his firmly held views against torture and prisoner mistreatment, which are shared by many military leaders and could put them at odds with the new commander in chief…

Read on.



Tue, 01/10/2017 - 11:43am

I was surprised the NY Times could find anything about General Mattis they could agree with. I guess they are sweating their loss of tax exemption and even huge returns the Obama admin enabled the paper.
The NY Times considers any physical discomfort torture. If a prisoner had to perform ten push ups someone what the Times would lose a nail in a fervor to get the truth about the barbarism out.
The NY Times demonstration of shock that most troops do not find torture a good thing is also a revelation that is no surprise to the vast majority of US service troops who have been maligned and lied about by the radical left that has grossly over exaggerated the number of such incidents since Vietnam. They should stop believing their own type.

The one incident they do mention that created a reaction in the General was torture resulting in the death of the POW. To suggest that would not offend US service people in general is again the sort of malicious slander that has been heaped on Veterans for decades. Even though for our Sacred Holy Warrior enemies it is their common SOP. The NY Times has problems with comparisons.

Fake news may have begun in the modern era with the photo of General Loan executing a VC terrorist. The his characterization by the media of the supposed criminal act even shocked the photographer who took the picture. The photo became a banner to slander American troops through the rest of the war as f it was SOP.

I was reminded of this by the manner in which the newspapers covered the Ft. Lauderdale shooting. Trying to characterize Santiago as behaving like a veteran or service member is insulting. He was discharged less than honorable . Santiago washed out and we should give the National Guard and Army some credit for recognizing he had problems. This indicates a greater failure on the part of "liberal society".

I wonder if Santiago had access to a VA, was he given care requested for; his brother suggests not; but wasn't Santiago entitled as a veteran? Did he ever call a hot line, the sorts of checks on the list the VA after 8 years of promises has done nothing to improve. Wait times are still prolonged and Liberals running the program directed by their boss, are more concerned about employee morale than the veterans. And that is straight from the head of the VA's interview with American Legion.

Veterans are treated like they have done something wrong by people who are intolerant of our military and supposedly "hate war". Kerry, Sanders and the rest of the phonies pro vet crowd, claim they support vets but the organizations they support require a confession as treatment - As if serving in the military is reprehensible.

Kerry claimed he witnessed thousands of war crimes yet despite the fact he was an officer there is no evidence he ever attempted to stop war crimes. Other officers even at My Lai were cited for stopping war crimes and saving civilian lives. The one sided speak of liberals and their hateful bias against veterans is part of the problem.

Santiago's veteran/civilians problems may have nothing to do with the military but it is clear that liberals will try to make it seem this tragedy is only a consequence of his military service. I think its high time we begin looking at how liberals and some political leaders have used veterans while disparaging them.
One of Kerry's biographers and supporters in his Presidential campaign wrote that veterans were never spit on.. A bald face lie. I wrote the publisher and asked him to explain how it is that I was in uniform and kids started spitting on me? I never got an answer,

Maybe Santiago just got tired of liberals spitting on him, after claiming how humanistic they are as if they care. Excuse me if my danders up because the NY Times had the revelation Veterans are not as bad a people as they think they are.