The Army is planning to release a new manual that will govern the manner in which interrogations may be conducted. The New York Times reports that the manual is being released to address the â€œharsh techniques disclosed in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.â€
The new manual, the first revision in 13 years, will specifically prohibit practices like stripping prisoners, keeping them in stressful positions for a long time, imposing dietary restrictions, employing police dogs to intimidate prisoners and using sleep deprivation as a tool to get them to talkâ€¦ .
In a related development, a Pentagon spokesperson announced a new policy that will apply to the treatment afforded to Army basic trainees. Major General John Williams stated, â€œWe are mindful of the new guidelines applicable to the interrogation of enemy combatants and alleged terrorists. As such, it is fitting and proper to revamp the rules relating to the treatment of Army basic trainees.” Williams continued, “This is so, because, unlike enemy combatants and alleged terrorists, Army basic trainees have not been accused of the attempted or actual killing of US military forces or American civilians.”
While the new rules for the treatment of Army basic trainees will not be published for several months, General Williams noted that some of the more significant provisions are as follows:
1. Drill sergeants shall be prohibited from raising their voices when addressing recruits. Drill seargents shall be required, at all times, to speak in conversational tones, so as not to upset the recruits.
2. Recruits shall not be awakened before 09:00 hours, which awakening shall be accomplished by the playing of string quartet music (or soft piano music), which shall be piped into their private rooms.
3. Recruits shall not be required to stand at attention for longer than ten (10) consecutive minutes.
4. Requiring recruits to do push-ups (or other acts of physical intimidation) for behavioral infractions is strictly forbidden.
5. Marches shall be no longer than two (2) miles, and must provide for sufficient breaks to permit the recruits to enjoy nutritious snacks and conversation (cell phones are to be permitted at all times).
6. Recruits shall be permitted unrestricted access to television, radio and cable or DSL internet connections.
7. Recruits shall not be required to perform any duties in excess of forty (40) hours per week, unless paid one and one half times their usual hourly pay rates (Duties performed on Sundays and holidays shall be paid at a rate of twice their hourly pay rate). In no event shall a recruit be required to be on duty in excess of sixty (60) hours per week.
8. Recruits shall not be required to work in mess halls or to perform general cleaning tasks.
9. Recruits who express an unwillingness to handle firearms must be excused from participating in any activities that may involve the use of rifles, pistols, grenades or any similar devices.
10. Pizza must be made available to recruits on demand.
General Williams stated that these changes in policy are consistent with the new rules concerning the treatment of enemy combatants and terrorists and will lead to a more refined, civilized and sensitive American fighting force.