No performer should attempt to bite off red-hotRanger will look at the recent Afghanistan prison break at the Sarposa Prison through the lens of the second most popular book of the current federal government (after the Bible) -- FM 3-24, Petraeus and Amos's COIN Field Manual, as the last time we checked into the net the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) was being billed as a counter-insurgency.
iron unless he has a good set of teeth
Ill send an s.o.s. to the world
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle
--Message in a Bottle, The Police
Thank you for getting me out
--The Great Escape (1963)
The manual was good enough to earn Petraeus his 4th star, but it failed to discuss the use of cell phones. Rule #1 for maintaining prison populations: don't give your prisoners no cell phones.
"Human Rights Vetting" [D-8] says Congress will limit funding for foreign security forces if Department of State (DoS) provides credible information that they have "committed a gross violation of human rights." The conditions in the Sarposa Prison violated those human rights. It would seem that the Rules of Land Warfare would require such action, but the rules are different in the PWOT. It seems inhumane facilities are the rule versus the exception.
After six years in Afghanistan it is reasonable to expect that imprisoned persons be treated with minimum legal and humanistic protections. From an extract of the "Detainee Treatment Act of 2005" published in FM 3-24 [D5]:
"Prohibition on Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of Persons Under Custody or Control of the U.S. Government" [Table D-1]
(a) No individual in the custody of . . . the U.S. Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
(d) . . . "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" means [that] prohibited by the 5th, 8th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the U.S., as defined in the U.S. Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984)."
These standards apply to host nation (HN) as well as U.S.-run facilities. But why is the U.S. running prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq anyway? This should be exclusively a HN function as it is their country and they are trying to establish new societies. Order is not ideally externally imposed upon a developing nation, not six years in.
If being used in violation of standards of human rights, Congress has the moral and legal responsibility to cut off funds. If the military Department of Defense and the civilian DoS fail to report such violations, it is incumbent upon Congress to monitor reliable new sources which indicate inhumane prisoner treatment by our erstwhile client states.
Training and Equipping Foreign Forces [D-32] says Congress should authorize expenditures to train and equip foreign forces, provided DoS verifies the HN "is not in violation of human rights." Establishing the Rule of Law [D-38] states this is a "goal" and "end state" of COIN characterized by:
Perceptions trump reality, even in the FM. And who determines when the full panoply will devolve to the indigenous population? Maybe they'll only get a half-panoply. What if they do not want the panoply? (What kind of a word is panoply anyway for an Army FM?)
- A government [which] derives its power from the governed . . .
- Sustainable security institutions . . . [Penal institutions] should be perceived by the local populace as fair, just and transparent.
- Fundamental human rights . . . Respect for the full panoply of human rights should be the goal of the HN.
For sure, the panoply is not trickling down to the poor suckers in the detention facilities (which is another word for "shit-hole.")
If the right of government derives from the people per the COIN manual, one presumes that "people" does not include the foreign invading and occupying army. The imperious nature of U.S. policies and actions are clear. COIN is a fairy tale written to appease Congress into funding wars of aggression with gee-whiz "emergency funding." But words, however pretty, cannot ameliorate U.S. illegitimacy in the region.
The term captured insurgents in D-39 is confusing. Are they POW's, since one captures
[D-39] "In periods of extreme unrest and emergency, HN legal structures . . . may cease to exist . . . Under these conditions, counterinsurgents may need to undertake a significant role in the reconstruction of the HN judicial system in order to establish legal procedures and systems to deal with captured insurgents and common criminals. . . . This support continues as long as insurgents continue to disrupt activities that support the legitimate rule of law."
POW's, and arrests criminals? FM 3-24 is rife with such obfuscation of terms, which leads to obfuscation of purpose, which may in fact be the purpose.
What is "legitimate rule of law"? Is this law externally-imposed and mandated, as interpreted by NATO and the U.S.? Or does it mean as seen and interpreted by the indigenous populations?
What is "extreme unrest," and why is extreme unrest in a foreign nation my taxpaid dollar's concern? One must question the legitimacy of the initial U.S. control of the HN. Does NATO/U.S. have the right to impose standards on a non-member state?
The actuality of the PWOT clashes with the phantasy PWOT (P2WOT). The actuality is that prisoners are kept in crude, uncivilized substandard conditions. This jailbreak was mandated by illegitimate government treatment of prisoners and overall government corruption.
Charging prisoners $100/month to keep cell phones is corrupt and self-defeating. The fighting and instability in Iraq and Afghanistan will never reach a sustainable endpoint because legitimacy is lacking. Legitimacy is a fancy word in a fancy COIN manual which is absent from current U.S. policies and actions. Legitimacy does not flow from preemptive and aggressive invasions.
Like the manual says, a government derives its power from the consent of the governed.
Labels: COIN, field manual for counterinsurgency, FM 3-24, petraeus amos manual, phony war on terror, PWOT, wot