Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Unprecedented" War Crime Pardon Tales

Once upon a time, there was a high ranking military commander whose somewhat secretive policies and practices came under much scrutiny. You see, word got out that he sometimes placed prisoners in the coalbunkers of ships and closed the doors. Sometimes, he would place them in irons and force them to "march" 6 or 7 hours. Sometimes he ironed prisoners together for days, forcing them to sleep uncovered on the decks of ships. Or, he would have prisoners tied to a ladder for long periods of time in such a manner that they could not stand or sit. Long periods of solitary confinement on a diet of bread and water were common too. Also in the repertoire: knocking prisoners unconscious, waking them up with multiple buckets of water and/or brandishing a sword while threatening to kill! But the president of the United States pardoned him for all of these offenses.

Once upon a time there was a soldier whose treatment of prisoners seemed a bit over the top. He forced them to run around the camp for long periods of time. When the pace of the malnourished runners slowed, he would throw dirt and rocks at them. He also enjoyed kicking prisoners. Sometimes he would even kick them into the prison cesspool. In addition, he would force prisoners to kneel and hold heavy objects in the air for extended periods of time. When their arms lowered, he would beat them with a thick cane. The same cane was used to beat prisoners who bothered to knit items of clothing together because they were freezing. Yes, the soldier was punished for his "crimes," but had his sentence commuted, not by one, but by two different presidents!

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