Monday, June 18, 2007

They Knew All The Time

I know many people thought when the Abu Ghraib scandal first broke that there was no way that a bunch of low level soldiers from rural West Virginia and the like had devised the humiliation techniques and torture used on men at the infamous Iraqi prison. Now the two-star general in charge of the investigation into the scandal says that is exactly so in Seymour Hersh's latest New Yorker piece:

The Army two-star general who led the first investigation into detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq believes senior defense officials were involved in directing abusive interrogation policies, according to an article on the New Yorker magazine's Web site.

Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, a Leilehua High School graduate, told the magazine that he felt mocked and shunned by top Pentagon officials, including then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, after filing an exhaustive report on the now-notorious Abu Ghraib abuse that sparked international outrage and led to an overhaul of the U.S. interrogation and detention policies.

Taguba's report examining the 800th Military Police Brigade put in plain terms what had been documented in shocking photographs.

In interviews with New Yorker reporter Seymour M. Hersh to be published in the magazine today, Taguba said he was ordered to limit his investigation to low-ranking soldiers who were photographed with the detainees and the soldiers' unit. But he said that it was always his sense that the abuse was ordered at higher levels.

Taguba, who said that he was forced to retire early because of his pursuit of the issue, was quoted as saying that he thinks top commanders in Iraq had extensive knowledge of the aggressive interrogation techniques that mirrored those used on high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that the military police "were literally being exploited by the military interrogators."

Taguba also said that Rumsfeld misled Congress when he testified in May 2004 about the abuse investigation, minimizing how much he knew about the incidents.

Taguba said that he met with Rumsfeld and top aides the day before the testimony.

"I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib," Taguba said, according to the article. "We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable."

Of course a complicit GOP Congress enabled the cover-up by not investigating the scandal independently of the administration.

For those who say the current Dem Congress is conducting too many investigations, I would like to note that the current Prosecutor Purge scandal, the warrantless wiretapping scandal and the Abu Ghraib scandal amount to some truly horrendous abuses of power by the people in this administration and the hack Repubs who have enabled them over the last 7 years.

The Abu Ghraib scandal needs to be looked at again and Rumsfeld and the other top level guys behind both the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used on the prisoners (i.e., torture) and the cover-up of the scandal need to have their asses hauled down in front of Congressional committees for some testimony under oath.

Let's find out who knew what about the scandal when and why they either ordered the torture or did nothing about it until it was publicly revealed.

Let the games begin!
reality, you posted:

"The Army two-star general... BELIEVES senior defense officials were involved in directing abusive interrogation policies..."


"Maj. Gen. Taguba....SAID he was ordered to limit his investigation to low-ranking soldiers..."


"But he said that it was always his SENSE that the abuse was ordered at higher levels."

So. In the first sentence he said he BELIEVES senior officials were involved.

In the second sentence he SAYS, without proof, that he was ordered to limit his investigation.

In the third sentence he SENSED that orders to abuse detainees came from higher levels.

If the General made these statements in court under oath, they would be stricken from the record. Not one word of his claims are demonstrably factual.

I'm not suggesting his statements are wrong. But this kind of "reporting" is standard fare for Seymour Hersh.

When the NY Times published the Pentagon Papers in 1971, it actually possessed damning documents. Here we have nothing more than the general's opinion.

Meanwhile, there is no mention of the general serving in Iraq. Maybe he did. But you wouldn't know it from reading recent articles.
This country needs more men like Taguba and Hersh.
n_s - General Taguba was ordered NOT to investigate higher ups - that's why there is no evidence yet that anyone but the lower level soldiers were involved.
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