Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Abu Ghraib Trials: the Charles Graner horror show

Charles Graner is quite the piece of work, it seems. Yesterday saw the video testimony of some of the prisoners he allegedly abused at Abu Ghraib, and some interesting new details came out:

  • Graner allegedly liked to whistle, sing, and laugh while brutalizing prisoners.
  • He allegedly forced one Muslim prisoner to eat pork and drink alcohol.
  • He allegedly forced a Yemeni prisoner to eat from a toilet.
  • He allegedly threatened to kill a Syrian prisoner repeatedly and told him he should thank Jesus for keeping him alive.

During the testimony of one victim, Graner rolled his eyes and chuckled to himself when his accuser described him as a "naturally aggressive person."

Wikipedia has a lengthy and troubling article on Charles Graner's past, where he worked as a prison guard in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Some of the accusations against him from Pennsylvania include:

  • Playing a "practical joke" on another guard by putting mace in his coffee, causing the other guard to go home ill.
  • Putting a razor blade in a black inmate's mashed potatoes, then (with the help of other guards) beating the inmate and telling him, "shut up nigger before we kill you!"
  • Making a prisoner stand on one foot while handcuffed, then tripping him.
  • Using racial epithets to taunt anti-death-penalty protesters outside the prison.
  • Telling a Muslim inmate he had rubbed pork all over his tray of food.
  • Beating prisoners and spitting in their food.
  • Insulting prisoners with racial epithets.
  • One prisoner described Graner as "violent, abusive, arrogant, and mean-spirited."
  • Graner was disciplined six times and fired once (but subsequently reinstated by an arbitrator) at the prison in Pennsylvania.

What is bothersome about all of these details is they show a general pattern of sadistic behavior going on for many years. It seems evident that Charles Graner is a person who gets true enjoyment out of inflicting pain on other people. Much like a certain namesake of his.....

Charles Graner's Namesake Posted by Hello

Perhaps this sadistic nature is why Graner became a prison guard. It is also possible this was a motivating factor for him wanting to be in the military - to be able to carry a gun around and use it with impunity. It is troubling that a person with Graner's personality, who has been variously described as "naturally aggressive, violent, abusive, arrogant, and mean-spirited," and who has a history of demonstrating insensitivity toward other ethnic groups (blacks, Muslims, etc.) could be admitted to the US Marine Corps or the Army Reserve. A person who has shown such a propensity for abuse and a sick enjoyment of violence is the last person to whom I would want to hand a gun and then send forth to represent my country.

Serving in the armed forces of one's country is a noble act that thousands of brave men and women here in America have taken upon themselves to do. It is also a job that carries a lot of responsibility - life and death decisions are made by soldiers every day. Soldiers are like armed ambassadors, going forth and implementing their country's foreign policy, and most soldiers take their responsibilities very seriously.

Thus, it is truly sad that the army has besmirched the reputations of these good men and women by admitting a piece of human garbage like Charles Graner to their ranks. A man like Graner is a disgrace to the uniform he is wearing, and it seems evident to me that if the people screening prospective recruits were doing their jobs properly, he should have never been accorded the privilege of wearing it.