Sunday, April 08, 2007

Perspective: Managing captives in Iraq a U.S. priority

WASHINGTON - As the Baghdad security plan under Army Gen. David Petraeus moves forward, US and Iraqi forces are apprehending hundreds of insurgents, terrorists, and other criminals. Many of them are quickly being transferred to the Iraqis for detainment. There's just one problem: The Iraqi judicial system, which is responsible for processing such detainees, isn't yet up to the task. This is forcing the Americans to build more detention facilities to hold all the detainees – and bring in more US military police to guard them.

The Iraqi judicial system has been hobbled by the four years of war, as well as the loss of judges and lawyers who either fled the country or were murdered. As a result, the judicial system simply doesn't have the capacity to process many of the new detainees.

This is posing a key challenge as American and Iraqi forces try to bring stability to some of Iraq's most dangerous neighborhoods. Thus US forces are beefing up their facilities, and also helping the Iraqis build their own detention centers. In addition, on Monday, the Pentagon formally announced the deployment to Iraq of more than 2,000 additional US military police, who will join the roughly 3,000 MPs already there.

Read the rest at the Christian Science Monitor