May 07, 2004

Query and More on the Torture Scandal

Have any of you ever witnessed such a breath-taking abdication of responsibility as Brigadier General Janis Karpinski's?

I've spoken to serving U.S. officers who are, to use a phrase that's making the rounds these days, deeply disgusted by her attempt to pass off all the responsibility for the torture scandal on the Military Police.

She was the commanding officer for Abu Ghraib and so owned the place (and all the bestial horrors that took place there under her watch).

Why is she currently only suspended? Few in the Army will shed tears should she be fired. Promptly, please.

That's not to say that other people up and down the chain of the command won't need to go too (by the way, I'm, er, deeply disgusted that Don Rumsfeld hasn't found the bloody time to read the Taguba report in its entirety. It's mind-boggling, really).

But Karpinski, particularly given her dishonorable passing of the buck excercise, would be a damn good place to start.

Listen, we are at a critical pivot point with regard to how we are perceived in the world today. We couldn't even release the State Department's annual human rights report on normal schedule given how risible the timing would be.

People who are trying to spin this story and are talking about how great we are because we are investigating the horrors, that the "process" is working, people who are saying that the Arabs are hypocrites because they didn't complain about Arab regimes use of real, full-blown torture over the decades (make no mistake, actions of our personnel were constitutive of real torture as well, not just mock torture)--they are clueless.

We went into Iraq to get rid of her WMD capability and forge a democracy--not to force inmates to masturbate themselves in front of their captors (ostensibly with videotapes rolling), sodomize detainees with chemical lights, apply dog collars to human beings.

It's simply FUBAR.

No, this is the time for big, dramatic moves.

That might mean firing Don Rumsfeld if he doesn't resign. Let's see the substance of his testimony today--particularly whether it judiciously appears that his seeming insouciance re: norms of behavior with regard to detention of enemy combatants are shown, in persuasive fashion, to have materially contributed to a more widespread, systemic culture of prisoner abuse (beyond a few despicable individuals having a smoke and laughing amidst the horrific actions that have stained our country's reputation so terribly).

Were similar going-ons occurring in Gitmo? Bagram? Elsewhere in Iraq?

If so, people far above Karpinski MUST go. That might have to include Don Rumsfeld--for the good of the President.

Aside from firing people there are other actions we must undertake promptly.

Let's raze that jail to the ground (as John McCain has suggested).

Let's also have Bush issue an unequivocal, unambiguous apology (preferably at the jail itself after it has been pulverized into dust).

Think I'm over-reacting? No, you're under-reacting....

Posted by Gregory at May 7, 2004 08:44 AM
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