February 16, 2005

White House Turns Tables on Former American POWs

By David G. Savage, Times Staff Writer

  • Gulf War pilots tortured by Iraqis fight the Bush administration in trying to collect compensation.
  • The Bush administration is fighting the former prisoners of war incourt, trying to prevent them from collecting nearly $1 billion fromIraq that a federal judge awarded them as compensation for theirtorture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime. The rationale: Today's Iraqis are good guys, and they need the money.

    The case abounds with ironies. It pits the U.S. government squarely against its own war heroes and the Geneva Convention.

    Many of the pilots were tortured in the same Iraqi prison, Abu Ghraib,where American soldiers abused Iraqis 15 months ago. Those Iraqivictims, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said, deservecompensation from the United States.

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