Why is this a problem?

I’m really struggling to see why this is a problem?

ISIS fighters taken with the help of U.S. Special Forces are allegedly being tortured by America’s Kurdish allies. But don’t expect the U.S. to look too hard into the allegations.

On October 22, a team of Kurdish soldiers, backed up by elite commandos from the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, raided an ISIS prison compound in the Iraqi town of Hawija, where Kurdish intelligence indicated dozens of their own peshmergafighters were being held. It turned out there were no Kurds in the prison, but 69 hostages were freed, and more than 20 ISIS fighters were killed.

The Kurds also took six ISIS fighters as their prisoners. And now, U.S. officials and humanitarian aid workers in the region tell The Daily Beast, it appears those prisoners are being tortured in Kurdish custody, in violation of international law.

“I am sure they are being tortured, no question,” said a U.S. defense official in Iraq who is familiar with raid and spoke on condition of anonymity. He noted that Americans do not have access to them, but added, “You have to remember where we are. Torture is pervasive.”

The brutality of the Kurdish campaign against ISIS is well established inreporting by The Daily Beast and other media. But the treatment of these prisoners, taken with the assistance of U.S. government forces who then deny any responsibility for what happens to them, is reminiscent of the “rendition” program under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, which transferred suspected terrorists to the custody of governments that used methods of torture flatly prohibited by American and international law.

A human rights worker in the region, who asked not to be identified, said Kurdish authorities haven’t disclosed where the prisoners are being held and that he, too, thinks that is because the prisoners are being tortured.

Various nongovernmental organizations in Iraq and Syria have documented, over the course of the U.S.-led war against ISIS, systematic abuses by Kurdish military forces against the militants and their perceived sympathizers, including the forced removal of civilians from their homes in what one human rights group said amounted to “war crimes.”

And what Daesh does isn’t?

There is a slight problem with all this talk of war crimes…neither Daesh nor Kurdish paramilitary forces are signatories to any treaty on war, anywhere.

Basically the region is filled with scumbags who all hate each other and try to out do each other on the barbarity stakes. It is the same as it ever was.

But U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that Washington hasn’t asked the Kurds for access to the ISIS prisoners, and the U.S. defense official in Iraq said he doesn’t believe the U.S. military has formally raised the issue with the Kurds, either.

The fate of a handful of ISIS fighters “is low on our priority list,” the defense official said.

Few tears may be shed at the thought of ISIS fighters—who celebrate the beheading, burning, and drowning of their own captives—suffering cruel treatment at the hands of Kurdish forces, who have provided a crucial and effective ground force to complement U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

But the abuse of ISIS prisoners could become a propaganda instrument for the militants, and further their own twisted justification for harming their captives.

They were harming captives long before this…this is what annoys me about our liberal media…always coming up with stupid reasons not to do something, when the enemy isn’t quite so overtaken with scruples.

A senior Obama administration official told The Daily Beast, “We are not aware of information suggesting that these ISIL prisoners have been mistreated in detention in Iraqi Kurdistan,” using an alternate acronym for the group. “However, we take all such allegations seriously, and we fully expect that our Kurdish partners will continue to adhere to international standards and norms for detainees.”

The U.S. may not have an affirmative obligation to ensure that the prisoners are treated humanely, since it wasn’t in the lead. But the U.S. presence and participation in the raid was undeniable. In addition to ground forces, the military provided transport helicopters, and a U.S. jet later bombed the prison, destroying it. One American soldier, Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, was killed in the raid. He was buried last week in Arlington National Cemetery.

For the U.S. military, the best way to use its leverage with the Kurds may not be to address the treatment of ISIS prisoners. Rather, the United States has been urging the Kurds to conduct themselves professionally when liberating towns, particularly Arab dominated ones, amid reports Kurdish forces have looted from and beaten Arab residents.

Throughout the course of the U.S-led campaign against ISIS, human rights groups have documented a pattern of Kurdish forces abusing civilians in towns in Iraq and Syria that they captured from ISIS.

In northern Iraq, Kurdish forces have destroyed dozens of Arab homes and confined thousands of Arab residents to so-called “security zones.” They are forbidden from returning to their homes, although in some cases Kurds are allowed to move in, Human Rights Watch said in a report in February.

The bottom line is this…if we aren’t prepared to put our boots on the ground and kill Daesh fighters up close and personal we can hardly get all squeamish if some Daesh scumbags get a good kicking, or water-boarded or worse. If we won’t fight in the weeds then we can’t really tell off those who are.

If we want to wage an ‘ethical’ war against unethical heathen warlords then best we send in the troops.


– Daily Beast

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.