Sunday, June 17, 2007

Just when you think it can't get any worse

Seymour Hersh on Abu Ghraib.

“The whole idea that Rumsfeld projects—‘We’re here to protect the nation from terrorism’—is an oxymoron,” Taguba said. “He and his aides have abused their offices and have no idea of the values and high standards that are expected of them. And they’ve dragged a lot of officers with them.”
There is always a reckoning. The only question is: who pays?

Of course, that's the problem:

When Taguba urged one lieutenant general to look at the photographs, he rebuffed him, saying, “I don’t want to get involved by looking, because what do you do with that information, once you know what they show?”
But don't ask, we won't have to tell:

“From what I knew, troops just don’t take it upon themselves to initiate what they did without any form of knowledge of the higher-ups,” Taguba told me. His orders were clear, however: he was to investigate only the military police at Abu Ghraib, and not those above them in the chain of command. “These M.P. troops were not that creative,” he said. “Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box.”
Reading this article, it suddenly dawns on me that Rumsfeld didn't resign to take one for the team, nor to fall on his sword.

He did it to kill any interest in any further inquiry into Abu Ghraib. Because the fact that he knew all about it, even as he said he knew nothing, is crystal clear.

As Abraham Joshuah Herschel said: “Few are guilty, but all are responsible.” This is an Administration that eschews responsibility at every opportunity.

“From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service,” Taguba said. “And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. 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. 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.”

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