The big reveal from the hundreds of thousands of documents posted on Wikileaks today is probably going to be the incredibly awful reports of systematized detainee abuse by Iraqi soldiers and security forces right under the noses of the American-led coalition, which appears to have had virtually no incentive to put a stop to them.
An operational order called Frago 242 was sent to commanders in 2004, ordering, in essence, that only detainee abuse allegations involving coalition forces would be investigated. The rest would merely be noted. And noted they were, in horrifying detail. The New York Times correctly calls this an “institutional shrug.” By 2009, the coalition policy had evidently changed, and allegations were investigated.
Gee, I wonder what was different between 2004 and 2009? Was there some event that happened just before 2009 that might explain why we went from “shrugging” at torture to caring about it?