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Pentagon troop survey finds abusing Iraqi non-combatants broadly accepted

[JURIST] A new Pentagon survey [text] of the mental health of deployed US Army and Marine Corps troops in Iraq released Friday shows that a significant percentage approve of abusing and even torturing Iraqi non-combatants, finding that "only 47 percent of soldiers and 38 percent of Marines agreed that non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect. More than one-third of all soldiers and Marines reported that torture should be allowed to save the life of a fellow soldier or Marine" or to obtain important information about insurgents. The survey also found that "10 percent of soldiers and Marines reported mistreating noncombatants or damaging property when it was not necessary" and that "less than half of soldiers or Marines said they would report a team member for unethical behavior."

Acting Army Surgeon-General Gale Pollock [official profile] told reporters, however, that the findings of the report were not as dire as they might seem, that many of the troops surveyed had seen their friends killed and injured, and that the vast majority of troops had not mistreated anyone. “What it speaks to is the leadership that the military is providing, because they're not acting on those thoughts,” she said. “They're not torturing the people." AFPS has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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