When asked directly, he replied, "That was a lot of hooey."
He said: "I have no personal reasons. Everything I've done or hope to do is because I hate persecution. A human being has to look out for other human beings or there's no civilization."
For all of the grinding progress that Capt. Carter and Col. Benson have made in eight months in Iraq, there are stark reminders of how far they have to go. Some members of the Iraqi police still believe it is all right to abuse prisoners to secure a conviction. Last month, Col. Benson was discussing "Ali the Cable," the head of the police's counterterrorism unit, with another Iraqi police officer. "If the terrorists don't confess to their crimes, the judge will set them free. The only way to deal with these people is with the cable," said Col. Mustafa Mohammed Alwan, who heads the police department's rapid-reaction force, defending his Iraqi colleague.
"The way you are talking is Saddam's way," Col. Benson told his Iraqi counterpart.
The next day, Capt. Carter returned to the jail to take pictures of eight men who were detained by the Iraqi Army in October and accused of attacking a checkpoint. They included a school headmaster, a farmer, a construction worker, a high-school student, and a taxi driver. Each bore scars from where they said they had been whipped with a cable. Most had burn marks on their legs where they said an Iraqi Army major had placed electrodes and shocked them.
The youngest of the men said he was picked up on Oct. 3 and, after 12 hours of beatings, gave his torturers the names of the first seven people he could think of from his town, including his school headmaster. "He needs names so I gave him names," the teenager said.
The others were arrested on Oct. 4 between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. The men, all Sunnis, said they were beaten, shocked and urinated on by the Iraqi Army major, who is a Shiite.
They told Capt. Carter they had been tortured for about a week at an Iraqi Army base. Then they were taken to a police station and beaten again until they agreed to sign confessions. They had been languishing in Iraqi prisons ever since, they said. Capt. Carter snapped pictures of their scars and praised them for coming forward before they were taken back to the jail.
"When there is no rule of law, there is the rule of force. This is what we are trying to change," he said.