A joint statement from the Bush administration and Blair government has hailed a human rights breakthrough in Iraq. Following a bruising few months of abuse and torture revelations that have damaged American and British international standing, today's statement shows clear relief from both governments.
The statement, issued to press agencies early this morning, states "As of midnight last night, we know of no human rights abuses committed by American or British troops in Iraq for an entire 24 hour period. We commend our troops in the field who, despite facing daily attacks from terrorists, have spent an entire day not abusing anyone."
The statement is thought to be in reaction to recent claims by journalist Seymour Hersh that the Pentagon has video of US troops sodomising imprisoned Iraqi young men.
It continues: "We can happily confirm that no Iraqi boys were raped by US or UK troops yesterday," and goes on to list a series of other abuses now also known not to have taken place yesterday. They include:
- Sexual abuse of female prisoners
- Humiliation of naked prisoners
- Attacks with dogs
- Groups beatings
- Threat of torture by electric shock
- Denial of visits by the Red Cross
- Destruction or theft of private property during raids
US-appointed interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi joined the many Iraqis offering praise and congratulation to coalition forces. "This shows that the handover of sovereignty was more than a cosmetic exercise," he said at a press conference. "We are delighted that the activities of abuse, torture and generalised violence have been handed back to Iraqi forces."
Commentators have pointed out that actions such as enforced nudity are deeply demeaning in Islamic culture. Iraqi police and troops are able to torture prisoners in a way more sensitive to their cultural backgrounds.
"We have decades of experiences of harassing, imprisoning and torturing Iraqis," said a smiling Iraqi policeman. "Bremer made a big mistake in passing such activities to the occupying forces, many of whom are young men from good homes with little understanding of the subtleties of extracting information, or just breaking down a prisoner for fun. We are good at it, we enjoy it, and now thanks to the liberation forces of Western democracy, we can go back to the tried and trusted methods of the past."