News from the Ministry of Love
Walter Pincus commits old-school journalism by actually watching what the ruling clique does rather than reporting what they say. In a story that the Washington Post editors place on A11 today, he examines the Iraq-related contracts now being put out and shows how they paint a picture of U.S. occupation stretching far into the future, carried out by contractors with a minimum of overt military presence.
The article deserves to be read in full. But this is the passage that chilled me most (my emphasis added):
Another contract noticed last week previews the opening, apparently in September, of a U.S.-run prison, now labeled a Theater Internment Facility Reconciliation Center, which is to be located at Camp Taji, 12 miles north of Baghdad. The new contract calls for providing food for "up to 5,000 detainees" and will also cover 150 Iraqi nationals, who apparently will work at the facility. The contract is to run for one year, with an option year to follow.
The U.S. holds about 20,000 Iraqis at two facilities today, mostly in Camp Bucca in southern Iraq and the rest at Camp Cropper near Baghdad. Along with the facility at Camp Taji, which is expected to hold Iraqis detained in Baghdad, another new reconciliation center, mainly for Sunnis, is being built at Ramadi in Anbar province, where many of these detainees were captured.
In March, Marine Maj. Gen. Douglas Stone, who runs the detainee program, told reporters that, on average. Iraqi detainees remain in a U.S. facility for 11 months.
But that might not be the case for the roughly 9,000 Iraqis whom he described as having "a very rigorous view of an ideology that we would broadly categorize as al-Qaeda." They are headed to the new reconciliation centers for what could be longer stays.
Did the editors remove scare quotes, or does Pincus assume that his ironic use of the new euphemism is clear?