Tortured arguments

Forcing naked Iraqi prisoners to pile themselves in human pyramids was not torture, because American cheerleaders do it every year, a court was told today.

A lawyer defending Specialist Charles Graner, who is accused of being a ringleader in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, argued that piling naked prisoners in pyramids was a valid form of prisoner control.

“Don’t cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?” said Guy Womack, Sergeant Graner’s lawyer, in opening arguments to the ten-member military jury at the reservist’s court martial.

. . .

The prosecution showed some of those pictures in their opening argument, including one of naked Iraqi men piled on each other and another of Ms England holding a crawling naked Iraqi man on a leash.

Mr Womack said that using a tether was a valid method of controlling detainees. “You’re keeping control of them. A tether is a valid control to be used in corrections,” he said.

This much, I believe:

Apart from arguing that the methods were not illegal, Graner’s defence is that he was following orders from superiors. Mr Womack said: “He was doing his job. Following orders and being praised for it.”