WASHINGTON — 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.At least they're consistent.
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.
To think it wasn't even doctors doing the torturing, or the pharmy companies running the show, and they still can't get paid.