A U.S. soldier’s video diary showing her disdain for Iraqi detainees who died in her charge was to be broadcast Wednesday in a further escalation of the prisoner abuse scandal that has shaken the Bush administration and provoked world outrage.
CBS, which two weeks ago broadcast the first pictures of Iraqi prisoners’ being abused in the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, said Tuesday that “60 Minutes II” would show video footage depicting conditions there and at another U.S.-run prison in southern Iraq called Camp Bucca.
Photographs of Iraqi prisoners being sexually humiliated, threatened by dogs and piled into pyramids as grinning U.S. soldiers look on have been published around the world, dealing a major setback to U.S. attempts to stabilize Iraq.
CBS said the home video did not show scenes of abuse but included comments by the soldier, whose name was not revealed to protect her identity. The comments make clear her dislike for the camp and the prisoners under her control.
“I hate it here,” she said on the tape. “I want to come home. I want to be a civilian again. We actually shot two prisoners today. One got shot in the chest for swinging a pole against our people on the feed team. One got shot in the arm. We don’t know if the one we shot in the chest is dead yet.”
In her video, the soldier described the hazards of Camp Bucca. “This is a sand viper,” she said. “One bite will kill you in six hours. We’ve already had two prisoners die of it, but who cares? That’s two less for me to worry about.”
‘They are scared of me’
The soldier said that about three prisoners broke out of the camp every week but that they did not try to escape when she was on duty.
“It’s ’cause they are scared of me,” she said. “I actually got in trouble the other day because I was throwing rocks at them.”
CBS said another soldier spoke of a chaotic situation at Camp Bucca with a dangerously low ratio of guards to prisoners.
Spc. Tim Canjar, who was discharged from the military for abusing Iraqi prisoners, said that during one disturbance “at one point, it was me and another soldier guarding. I was watching 535 prisoners on my side. ... The prisoners started hitting us.”
Master Sgt. Lisa Girman, who was discharged with Canjar, said commanders ignored the problems at Camp Bucca.
She complained of “the ignorance of the chain of command not to listen to the person who was actually on the front line.”
Girman’s and Canjar’s families tried to draw attention to the problems at Camp Bucca last year. They called Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s office repeatedly and talked to his staff but got no response, CBS said. Their letters to the White House and two senators were also unanswered.
Girman, Canjar and a third soldier, Staff Sgt. Scott McKenzie, were discharged for punching and kicking Iraqi prisoners. They have vowed to appeal the decision and want Congress to investigate.