Though the horrific images of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib have been burned into the American cultural consciousness, what modes of redress are actually available to victims of US military torture? In an interview with Erika Eichelberger of the Nation Institute, Joshua E.S. Phillips discusses the grim shortcomings of the Detainee Abuse Task Force that he uncovered while researching his incisive investigation of American soldiers and torture, None of Us Were Like This Before. The DATF, Phillips explains, too often fails to properly investigate and resolve reports of torture:
I was in the Middle East doing reporting for my book in Syria, Jordan, and to a lesser extent Lebanon, interviewing former detainees. And one of the things that I would commonly hear about, of course apart from their experience, their journey of being arrested, detained, interrogated, abused and sometimes tortured, was also the limited experience with approaching military investigators about what they have gone through … There were some detainees I met, very, very few, in Afghanistan, who said that the military actually did interview them about other cases of detainee torture, but that was really a minority position.
Visit the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute to read the interview and listen to the audio.
Joshua E.S. Phillips will be speaking about the damaging legacy of torture on both detainees and soldiers at Boston University on February 14 and Reed College on February 16.