December 9, 2005


Iraq defendant gripes about cigarettes, food (Reuters, 12/8/05)

A co-defendant in the trial of
Saddam Hussein complained on Wednesday about the quality of cigarettes the U.S. military gave him while in custody.

Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam's former intelligence chief and one of his most feared sidekicks, also said the food was bad and he was not given blankets. He lost 18 kilos in just two months in captivity, he complained.

"We were detained by one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet it was only after four months in detention that they gave me cigarettes," said Barzan, charged with crimes against humanity.

"And then they were of the worst quality in the world."

Unlike almost all the other blather about how the US is mistreating prisoners, Mr. al-Tikriti, a prisoner of war entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention, has a compelling case:
Convention III. Chapter II. Quarters, Food and Clothing of Prisoners of War

Art. 26. The basic daily food rations shall be sufficient in quantity, quality and variety to keep prisoners of war in good health and to prevent loss of weight or the development of nutritional deficiencies. Account shall also be taken of the habitual diet of the prisoners. . . .

Sufficient drinking water shall be supplied to prisoners of war. The use of tobacco shall be permitted.

Art. 28. Canteens shall be installed in all camps, where prisoners of war may procure foodstuffs, soap and tobacco and ordinary articles in daily use. The tariff shall never be in excess of local market prices.

For the first time, I'm ashamed to be an American.

Posted by David Cohen at December 9, 2005 5:40 PM

No point in calling the Red Cross, although the Red Crystal is standing by.

Do these Iraqis prisoners not understand the dangers of second hand smoke? Will they ever thank us Westerners for saving them? What say you, Orrin?

Posted by: Peter B at December 9, 2005 6:06 PM

Lucky he's not in Chicago. They just passed a no smoking ordinance.

Posted by: jdkelly at December 9, 2005 6:19 PM

well, if we had already hanged him, we could have saved the smokes.

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at December 9, 2005 9:17 PM

I'd give him the highest quality Turkish smoke, after dousing him with gasoline, of course.

Posted by: ratbert at December 9, 2005 10:42 PM

David Cohen:

I believe you once said it best:

[I]f that's what international law says, than international law is an ass.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 10, 2005 2:21 AM

Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti [...] lost 18 kilos in just two months in captivity, he complained.

That's extremely hard to believe.

He's claiming that he lost 5 pounds a week for eight weeks straight.

Maybe he should write a diet book before he's executed.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 10, 2005 2:51 AM

This is unconscionable! They should be released from jail immediately.

Like say, high noon, Monday, middle of Baghdad. On foot.

Posted by: ray at December 10, 2005 7:30 AM