Two whistleblowers alleging US forces tortured them in Iraq can’t sue former Sec Def Rumsfeld, according to a federal appeals court in Chicago that found those along the military command chain enjoy broad immunity from such torture claims. Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel filed a lawsuit claiming they were detained in 2006 and tortured after they accused an Iraqi-owned company they worked for of illegally running guns. They argued Rumsfeld personally approved interrogation methods for use by the US military in Iraq, making him responsible for what happened to them during several weeks they were held in military camps. The 8-3 ruling by the Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals, posted Wednesday afternoon on the court’s website, found there’s no law granting the men rights to sue Rumsfeld or others in the line of military command. In such a vast bureaucracy, the ruling says, he couldn’t be responsible for subordinates who end up crossing legal bounds. The ruling says:
US Circuit Judge Diane Wood wrote:The Sec Def has more than a million soldiers under his command. People able to exert domination over others often abuse that power; it is a part of human nature that is very difficult to control.
This shameful fact should not be minimized by using euphemisms such as the term ‘harsh interrogation techniques.’ In my view, they must be acknowledged for what they are: torture.