The short version of the extremely ugly 82nd Airborne prisoner abuse story is that troops in a regular army unit (i) systematically tortured people in their care, and what’s much worse, (ii) its whole command structure did nothing about it and systematically suppressed reports by witnesses. [The rot goes higher, of course; click here but only if you have garments to rend and ashes to smear your face with.] One could say that a unit whose policy, affirmed by practice, is to violate the law and human rights, besmirch the reputation of the country and the army, and cover it up for more than a year, is a rogue outfit. It appears that one complainant’s CO advised him that misprision of felony would be a career-advancing move, and that doing his clear duty would be the opposite.
This unit has been deployed among unarmed, sick, and destitute civilians in the United States. Does this seem careless? Could Kanye West be right? Don’t appearances even matter any more?