June 12th, 2004

me at star

One last Reagan thought

What of these Reagan funeral facts is more likely to drive the neo-cons nuts?

  • John Winthrop's City on a Hill sermon (part of which was read by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor) was written about the Massachusetts Bay colony.

  • Brian Mulrooney quoted Francois Mitterand - in the original French, no less - during his eulogy.

me at star

Abu Ghraib again

More good news / bad news about Abu Ghraib: This Boston Globe front page story notes that conditions are improving - slowly.

Fifteen months after the invasion, and just over a month after the prison abuse images shook the reputation of the US-led occupation in Iraq, military officials are eager to move past the scandal.

They've opened the prison facility to some Iraqi political leaders and recently allowed a Globe reporter a glimpse of reforms enacted at Abu Ghraib designed to improve quality of life and prevent repeat instances of abuse. Still, even the military commanders here admit that they haven't yet solved all the accumulated problems.

This week, some detainees started receiving a letter in Arabic explaining why they were being held, and whether they were slated for release or not. By the end of June, all 6,000 detainees held as threats to occupation soldiers will receive a status letter.


On the other hand, there's still a huge amount of work to do - not only are the detainees still in tents, taking casualties from mortar attacks, but the system still can't process incoming prisoners as fast as they arrive:
The Americans in charge acknowledge that about half of all detainees are still set free for lack of evidence once the United States gets around to looking at their paperwork, and 15 percent of cases aren't even reviewed before the six-month deadline required under the Geneva Conventions.


Also worthy of note (although more on the bad news side of the scale) is this AP article, which notes that Army policy prohibits using private contractors to handle interrogations, although local commanders can override this policy on a case-by-case basis:
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Sigh. At least there is some progress.