February 15, 2005
They Recalled Gray Davis
for a Helluva Lot Less
The Bush Brain Trust is at it again:
The latest chapter in the legal history of torture is being written by American pilots who were beaten and abused by Iraqis during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. And it has taken a strange twist.Ah, yes: The Compassionate Conservatism of the Bush Administration. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside...
The Bush administration is fighting the former prisoners of war in court, trying to prevent them from collecting nearly $1 billion from Iraq that a federal judge awarded them as compensation for their torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime.
The rationale: Today's Iraqis are good guys, and they need the money.
The case abounds with ironies. It pits the U.S. government squarely against its own war heroes and the Geneva Convention.
Many of the pilots were tortured in the same Iraqi prison, Abu Ghraib, where American soldiers abused Iraqis 15 months ago. Those Iraqi victims, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said, deserve compensation from the United States.
But the American victims of Iraqi torturers are not entitled to similar payments from Iraq, the U.S. government says...
On July 7, 2003, the judge handed down a long opinion that described the abuse suffered by the Gulf War POWs, and he awarded them $653 million in compensatory damages. He also assessed $306 million in punitive damages against Iraq. Lawyers for the POWs asked him to put a hold on some of Iraq's frozen assets.
No sooner had the POWs celebrated their victory than they came up against a new roadblock: Bush administration lawyers argued that the case should be thrown out of court on the grounds that Bush had voided any such claims against Iraq, which was now under U.S. occupation.