With even the Pentagon wondering how Obama will get 40,000 more soldiers to put into Afghanistan, it is critical for the government to prevent the kinds of mass mutinies and defections among soldiers that hastened the end of the Vietnam War. The burgeoning movement of soldiers refusing to deploy to Afghanistan presents just such a threat, as war-resister coffee houses are opened outside key military installations as Ft. Lewis in Washington and Ft. Hood (the nation's largest military base) in Killeen, Texas. Now a report has come out of Ft. Lewis that war-resisters may be having Abu Ghraib-like techniques applied to them to discourage other resisters.
This is not the first time Ft.Lewis has been the center of this kind of attention. Other attorneys have commented on reports of human rights abuses, including the use of female guards to sexually humiliate prisoners. There is also the 2005 case of Michael Levitt, who was chained to a "stress-chair" (with metal frames but not seat) for 109 hours.
Iraq Veteran Sgt. Travis Bishop's lawyer says his clients:
have been strip-searched while being possibly filmed...also been watched by female guards during strip searches, while using the restroom and in the showers. The prisoners were denied one in-person visit by counsel and all phone calls with their attorneys have been illegally monitored by guards.
Seth Manzel, a Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade veteran and executive director of G.I. Voice, said:
"These techniques of sexual humiliation are far too similar to those practiced on foreign prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Bagram in Afghanistan. Is the Army at Fort Lewis using enhanced interrogation techniques to break down American soldiers here at home?"
Bishop has written in a statement:
I am a Patriot. I love my country, but I believe that this particular war is unjust, unconstitutional and a total abuse of our nation’s power and influence. And so, in the next few days, I will be speaking with my lawyer, and taking actions that will more than likely result in my discharge from the military, and possible jail time...and I am prepared to live with that. My father said, ‘Do only what you can live with, because every morning you have to look at your face in the mirror when you shave. Ten years from now, you’ll still be shaving the same face.’ If I had deployed to Afghanistan, I don’t think I would have been able to look into another mirror again. Pray for me.
For information on the growing war resisters movement, including moving video of an Iraq veteran, witness and participant in atrocities declaring that "I am no longer the monster I once was," go to the site for the film "Sir! No Sir!" A hidden history of the Vietnam war resister movement which forced policy makers to abandon a war which could have gone on much longer is revealed. Also visit CourageToResist.org
"Sir! No, Sir!" trailer