Newsweek: What Will U.S. Forces Do With ISIS Prisoners?

Jeff Stein reports on the question of United States treatment and actions involving possible ISIL prisoners.

Washington’s ramped up war on the Islamic State looks like an airliner lifting off the runway with mechanics still working on the wings.

Among the many unresolved issues in the campaign to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, as it’s generally known, is what to do with prisoners in Iraq or Syria, should American special operators or U.S.-backed forces be lucky enough to capture any. How deeply will we be involved in interrogating them? Will we stand by as our “moderate” Syrian rebels and our Iraqis “partners,” as the administration now calls them, go to work on prisoners? Where will detainees be held, and for how long? How will we enforce our newly embraced ban on torture, when the Iraqi security forces we’re advising employ mutilation and murder as a matter of course?

“It’s a real good question,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who has introduced legislation for a new Authorization for Military Force tailored for Syria. “I don’t think there are any provisions in place at the moment, and I’m not sure you would see them set out [in a statute]. My guess,” he said in an interview with Newsweek on Thursday, “is that we’re going to avoid holding any prisoners ourselves, but when our Iraqi partners capture prisoners we’ll want access to them for intelligence-gathering purposes.”

The Iraqis “shouldn’t be mistreating any prisoners,” added Schiff, a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee. “But I think other than requesting access to them, we’re not going to be in the detention business. I don’t think we want to add to the population at Guantanamo or set up any new detention facilities.”

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By:  Jeff Stein
Source: Newsweek