MP Training Stresses Ethics, Values, Officials Say
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 4, 2004 All American military police receive training in the ethical treatment of prisoners, detainees and refugees, officials here and at the Military Police School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., said today.
While all service members receive training on the Geneva Conventions and the rules of war, these aspects are particularly stressed in training military police, officials said. MP officers are confounded that some MPs allegedly abused and degraded detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad.
To a person, they express shock and revulsion at the acts. Six soldiers have been charged with the abuse, and a further six have received letters of reprimand. The Army has conducted five investigations into the allegations, and some continue.
MP officials said that from the beginning, new soldiers both enlisted and officer receive a sound and strong ethical basis. Instructors at the school stress what the Army considers its core values: service, respect, loyalty, integrity, honor, duty and courage. "Nowhere in there do you see anything that would allow MPs to abuse prisoners," said an MP officer.
Gen. George W. Casey, Army vice chief of staff, said the Army is a value-based organization, and photos of alleged prisoner abuse that have been broadcast and published recently do not reflect the service's values. "What you see in those pictures is not indicative of our training or our values," he said following a meeting with the Senate Armed Services Committee. "It is a complete breakdown in discipline."
Casey said the Army will continue investigations and will punish those found guilty under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Military police are responsible for the safety and security of detainees and those around them, officials said, and they're trained to follow specific protocols. MPs speed detainees to places of safety once captured, they ask questions to classify the detainees, and they then place them in the appropriate holding areas, officials said. They restrain detainees when appropriate and necessary, officials added, and they treat detainees according to the Geneva Conventions and in accordance with the rules of war.
Military police do not conduct interrogations, nor do they "soften up" detainees for military intelligence personnel, officials said.
In the Army, the basic combat support MP has a military occupational specialty designation of 95 Bravo. Corrections specialists have 95 Charlie and criminal investigation specialists are classified 95 Delta. All receive instruction in ethical handling of enemy prisoners of war, detainees and refugees, officials said.