August 26, 2004

First Takes: Abu Ghraib Reports

Birds migrate; policies don't.

I haven't read the Fay and Schlesinger reports in their entirety yet (unlike Don Rumsfeld's seeming rapid-fire skim of the Taguba report--I will read each and every page as soon as time allows). But my gut tells me, and this happens pretty rarely, that the NYT has got it pretty right on this one.

So, yeah, I'd like to see accountability above the Pappas/Karpinski level.

Might that happen? I doubt it; but who knows?

On Capitol Hill, Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) said the Armed Services Committee, which he chairs, will seek to review officer promotions.

"We're going to ask the Department of Defense to examine this promotion system to determine whether or not some who are unqualified for higher responsibilities are slipping through the network," he said at a news conference.

Asked whether Rumsfeld should resign, Warner said he "essentially" agreed with Schlesinger's rejection of the idea Tuesday. But Warner noted that "the commanding officer has to take responsibility for those actions of his subordinates that are proven to be unprofessional or downright wrong."

Senate hearings, pre-trial discovery, more digestion of these reports--this story will be with us through the Fall. It's far from over. Rummy won't resign, of course (though he should have many months back). As George Will had memorably put it:

This nation has always needed an ethic about the resignation of public officials. Such an ethic cannot be codified. It must grow in controlling power from precedent to precedent, as an unwritten common law, distilled from the behavior of uncommonly honorable men and women who understand the stakes. A nation, especially one doing the business of empire, needs high officials to be highly attentive to what is done in their departments -- attentive far down the chain of command, as though their very jobs depended on it."

To be sure, Rummy had a helluva lot on his plate during these years. But that doesn't excuse repeated episodes of torture occuring on his watch. And despite his arrogance and seeming insouciance about Abu Ghraib, I'd bet--in his heart of hearts--he knows he has failed the American polity badly on this score.

History will not remember him kindly for it. It is now too late for him to resign, of course. But Donald Rumsfeld, should Bush prevail in November, does not deserve a second term as Secretary of Defense--despite his often sterling service during these past three exceptionally trying years.

A better man needs to be in that job. That man, for my money, is John McCain.

NB: Some will be concerned that, like Dick Holbrooke, a McCain type might not be controllable. But both Holbrooke as a potential Kerry SecState and McCain as a potential Bush SecDef are professional enough Beltway operatives to serve within the parameters of the President's policy goals and wishes. They may be a bit on the swashbuckling side--but they are not rogues.

Further, Bush announcing (say, in October, especially if UBL wasn't delivered up by the ISI on sched) that John McCain will be his SecDef in a second term would be a masterstroke. For one, it will finally force John Kerry to quiet up about how Band-of-Brotherish he is with McCain. And, more important, such a move would get more independents on board for Bush--whilst signaling a new course at a Pentagon that, because of its 'transformationalist' experiments (too few, and too untrained, troops milling about Mesopotamia) and lack of supervisory controls--helped lead to a great moral stain on America (as avatar of human rights) with Abu Ghraib. Nor, it bears mentioning, would Bush be violating any Kennebunkport loyalty codes. Rummy would have served out his full term. No one got canned. There will doubtless be a new SecState; why not a new SecDef too?

On that score, I also think Bush should announce who his next Secretary of State (assuming Powell does indeed leave) would be at the same time. For one, it makes it look more like Bush was merely signaling who will be in any prospective new Cabinet rather than solely an out and out Rummy-banishment. Coming soon--my proposed foreign policy cabinets for both Kerry and Bush.

Posted by Gregory at August 26, 2004 11:34 AM
Comments

Rummy is great, and no more to blame for Abu Ghraib than Clifford or McNamara were for Calley.

This whole issue is nothing more than the Left's/MSM's attempt to slander the US miltary NOW they way that Kerry and them did it in 1971.

Get off it.

Posted by: dan at August 26, 2004 01:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"This whole issue is nothing more than the Left's/MSM's attempt to slander the US miltary NOW they way that Kerry and them did it in 1971."

Tell it to James Schlesinger and Harold Brown.

BTW, Greg, do you think Rumsfeld is "controllable?"

It seems to me that he is a master bureaucratic manipulator, for better or worse.

Remember the how the FIF magically got flown into Iraq?

Posted by: praktike at August 26, 2004 02:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You need to go back on vacation. Dicky Holbrooke is a complete stooge. Every interview I have seen of him of late is replete with Clinton like appeasement, "let's make friends" banter. This isn't a social affair, unless hugging terrorists at a garden party somehow makes sense. But that is what brought us 9/11 to begin with.

John McCain is an enigma rapped in a puzzle. The posterboy for those afflicted with passive-aggressive syndrome. The guy who brought us this year's campaign reform should be in seclusion right now. Instead he condemns 250 Vietnam Veterans for ad buys in three markets. He may have made up with John Kerry over Vietnam, but McCain doesn't and shouldn't claim to speak on behalf of other Vietnam vets.

Rummy will stay on board after the Bush reelection, and will be remembered as the SecDef who transfomed the nation's defense of the Cold War into one postured for today and the future.

Posted by: Capt America at August 26, 2004 03:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg, I think you may be underestimating Rumsfeld's role in this scandal. I think he was more than inattentive to actions of some under his command, I think he had a hand in initiating the policy. Seymour Hersh had this take:

"The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. RumsfeldÕs decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of Žlite combat units, and hurt AmericaÕs prospects in the war on terror.

According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the PentagonÕs operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from RumsfeldÕs long-standing desire to wrest control of AmericaÕs clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A."

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040524fa_fact

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 26, 2004 04:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

sy hersh is as reliable a witness as scott peterson or michael jackson.

remember that OUTRAGEOUS claim hersh published in the new yorker? hersh said we had lost 20 soldiers on the first night of the counter-attack.

wrong.

hersh is a shill for the disgruntled generals of the pentagon. they use him to publish the venom they feel for rumsfeld (because rummy is actually reforming the pentagon - which is long overdue!). hersh is happy to be used.

Posted by: dan at August 26, 2004 04:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Um......you want Rumsfeld gone? He is the only SecDef that I've ever seen actually reform the Pentagon. Lowi's iron triangles are being broken, and the military will be better suited for the future. Reforming SHOULD have been done during the nineties - instead we were arguing about gays in the military. Then we got Shinseki with the bloody black beret issue - oh THAT was important! Reform is a massive issue, and Rumsfeld's moving ahead as well as prosecuting the current war. We should be so lucky as to find another SecDef so good! And please McCain? That's only going to bring up the S and L scandal - again. McCain is also with the old-time Vietnam era generals - he wouldn't push the reforms, but would probably roll them back.

Posted by: Jean at August 26, 2004 05:08 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg - I don't agree with the choice of McCain. It seems like a superficial tactic to me. McCain is a legislator (like John Kerry or Bob Dole), whereas the Secretary of Defense requires an executive (which Rumsfeld is, and has always been). Legislators are professional debaters, both by nature and by training, whereas executives are professional performers. This is why the cabinet is part of the executive branch. Let's put someone like Tom Ridge in the office if you want (himself an outstanding ex-governor), but unless you're contending that the DoD can operate on its own, without active executive leadership, McCain is not a good choice. Legislators make poor executives, and vice versa.

Posted by: Hovig at August 26, 2004 05:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I've got to agree with both Jean and Hovig.

Posted by: too true at August 26, 2004 05:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wasn't Rumsfeld a congressman?

And Dan, the fact that Hersh is occasionally wrong does not obscure the fact that he is so often right, and that his sources provide him with insider knowledge that 99% of the media don't have access to. He does have a history of major scoops.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 26, 2004 06:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

yeah rummy served in congress so one of the commenter's points about rummy always being an exec is bogus.

Posted by: jack at August 26, 2004 08:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Rumsfeld is the right man, at the right time, in the right place and if Bush has half a brain he will retain this bold reformer. The US military needs a leader who is willing to push the military into the 21st century.

The media hyped Abu Ghraib abuses for partisan political purposes. War is hell and by historical standards the abuses at Abu Ghraib were minor.
Abu Ghraib strikes me a Baghdad episode of Jerry Springer staged by deprived soldiers. Throw the morons in the brig and let's move on. We have a murderous cult to destroy.

McCain is a rebel without a clue and I wouldn't hire him to manage a Walmart let alone DOD. McCain is only accountable to the dozen or so demons that he channels randomly as he preens before cameras.

I don't expect changes in the second term Bush cabinet. Continuity is important in wartime and Iran and North Korea are in the gunsight. Let's roll.

Posted by: lugh lampfhota at August 26, 2004 10:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

lugh,

How come I don't remember rape and murder on Jerry Springer? Or is that just the special Baghdad edition?

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 26, 2004 10:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

eric, nice retort to lugh's jerry springer comment.

and lugh dishonors the memory of todd beamer by mentioning his 'let's roll' in this absurd context.

and he's wrong not to expect changes in 2nd Bush cabinet. the two most important posts will very likely see changes. powell will no longer be at state; rummy no longer at defense. and i doubt wolfowitz will be around either.

Posted by: jj at August 26, 2004 11:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yeah this is the liberal-commie-america hating Army Times' take on the Springer Show in Baghdad:

"More than a third of the prisoners who died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan were shot, strangled or beaten by U.S. personnel before they died, according to death certificates and a high-ranking U.S. military official."

The story continues, "The military official, who has direct knowledge of ongoing Pentagon investigations of the deaths, said that 15 of 37 prisoners who have died since December 2002 appear to have been killed or put in grave danger by U.S. troops or interrogators. In some cases, the immediate cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but that was in turn caused by a beating."

In analyzing these deaths, the article details "three patterns [that] have emerged so far:

„ Six prisoners died from 'blunt force trauma' or excessive force on the part of captors or prison guards, including two within a week of one another at the same prison. Two prisoners at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, died of complications Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, 2002, after being struck forcefully on their legs by guards or interrogators, military records show. One death certificate said the leg beating 'complicat(ed) coronary artery disease,' and the other certificate said the beating led to a 'pulmonary embolism,' or a heart blockage that is often caused by a blood clot.

„ At least four prisoners died in Iraq from strangulation, asphyxia, smothering or 'compromised respiration,' including Abid Mowhosh, a major general who headed IraqÕs air defenses, whose death certificate says he died from 'asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression.'

„ At least nine prisoners died in Baghdad and Abu Ghraib prison

„ including five in August 2003 - as the result of heart disease or heat-related problems. The five deaths occurred in Baghdad over a 15-day period, when temperatures soared between 120-130 degrees."

These three patterns are most disturbing because they appear to be linked to torture and abuse employed in the interrogation of detainees. While the abuse and torture are widespread and systemic, this article echoes the findings of the Red Cross, the U.S. Army and other groups that have noted that "The vast majority of the more than 41,000 prisoners detained in Iraq have been released."

Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2967978.php

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 26, 2004 11:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

But either way, anyone who objectively looks at the brilliance Rumsfeld showed in the postwar planning for Iraq, how could anyone doubt his competence

Instead of relying on the sober, thorough and analytical work done by the experts and career professionals working for the Future of Iraq Group, under the auspices of the State Department with contributions from the CIA and the Army War College, that entire body of work was completely ignored in favor of a series of last minute, slipshod reports put forth from the Defense Department and the Vice President's office, rife with the fantastical fictions promulgated by Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress.

Can't blame Rumsfeld though, because all those pesky pessimists and scaremongerers were warning about looting, against disbandnig the Iraqi army, about the likelihood of insurgencies, religious tensions, predicting the need for more than 300,000 troops to police the country and the borders, etc. Chalabi's stories were much more realistic.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 26, 2004 11:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Would you have the Secretary of Defence resign every time an incident of hazeing in the military occurs, perhaps even resulting in injury or death?

You could argue that the events in Iraq were brought about by official policy, yet the group discipline that results in hazeing is also official policy of sorts. There are lines that simply get crossed when they should not. That this can occur in a time of war should not surprise anyone.

I think you would be doing the country a disservice, not just Rumsfeld, if you make accountability for disgraceful behaviour too far removed from its source.

Posted by: Stan at August 27, 2004 02:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jack - Thanks for reminding me Rumsfeld was in Congress. It doesn't change my mind. I also recall that Cheney was in Congress, as was Jack Kennedy in the Senate, but I still stand firmly by my opinion that good legislators are bad executives, and vice versa.

Kudos to Rumsfeld for proving himself a better executive than my theory predicts. This is not to defend Rumsfeld -- I hold no brief for him -- only to restate that I still believe legislators are paid to debate passively, while executives are paid to act.

But even if I say never mind to all this, and I admit my generalization is possibly too broad, we're still left with my assertion that McCain is a delegate, not a delegator. I wouldn't be upset if this point were debated more carefully.

Posted by: Hovig at August 27, 2004 02:36 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric,

The illegal enemy combatants picked up in Afghanistan, Iraq and the netherlands of Islamofascia should have considered what might become of them if caught in a gunsight or captured. Bad things happen in war, if jihadis can't stand the heat then....stay home. These are the same thugs who plant roadside bombs that kill and maim random civilians as well as American soldiers. Somehow the bananna in butt doesn't compare at all with the decapitated hostage.
Pardon me if I don't give one flying shit what happens to them.

BTW....Didn't Chirac and the noble French people kill 50,000 of their elderly last summer due to "heat-related problems". Perhaps the left should have their crusty panties in a bunch about this "crime against humanity". You think?

Abu Ghraib was a freak show perpetrated by .001 percent of the US military. Not worthy of a resignation of a SecDef of any political persuasion.
A Japanese defense minister certainly wouldn't consider impalling himself on his sword over this trifle.

Posted by: lugh lampfhota at August 27, 2004 05:36 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'd be inclined to move Rumsfeld from SecDef, not over Abu Ghraib, but due to failings re. the occupation. As outlined in Larry Diamond's article in Foreign Affairs "What Went Wrong in Iraq". .

On the other hand, if Secretary Powell is leaving, what about Rumsfeld as SecState?

Posted by: John Farren at August 27, 2004 11:45 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ah.
Hyperlinks in html don't work.
Diamond article is at: http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20040901faessay83505/larry-diamond/what-went-wrong-in-iraq.html

Posted by: John Farren at August 27, 2004 11:48 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

rumsfeld as secretary of state? is that a joke? remember aznar's memorable utterance to bush--'more powell, less rumsfeld.'

i can't think of a worse secstate than rummy. except, that is, warren christopher and madeline albright.

Posted by: mike at August 27, 2004 12:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Lugh,

You said: "The illegal enemy combatants picked up in Afghanistan, Iraq and the netherlands of Islamofascia should have considered what might become of them if caught in a gunsight or captured."

The problem is, that doesn't add up everywhere. First of all, the detainees in Iraq were never illegal enemy combatants. They don't fit the definition. You are a bit confused, I think, and your lack of differentiation is indicative of an epidemic that is seriously hampering our war on the spread of radical jihadist terrorism.

Second, and more importantly, the US Army, the Red Cross, and every other group that's looked into the situation says that 70-90% of those detained in Iraq are innocent of all transgressions. On top of that, according to the Army, "The vast majority of the more than 41,000 prisoners detained in Iraq have been released."

So, we grab innocent Iraqi's, torture them, rape them, sodomize them, brutalize them, and the one's we don't kill, we release back into the population. From a purely pragmatic point of view, divorcing the morality from the issue, that is bad policy. That is how you breed resentment, anger and fuel the insurgency. That is how you endanger the mission in Iraq. That is how you endanger the lives of US soldiers fighting over there (some of which are friends and family). That is no way to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis.

The question is not does our enemy do worse than us. I would prefer not to be on the sliding scale of morality with al-Qaeda and their ilk. I am an American, and I take pride in being on the OPPOSITE side of the spectrum. Any suggestion that we are only slightly better, or that our torture and murder is nothing like theirs, is an insult.

If I was in France, I would complain about Chirac and seek to correct his transgressions, and there are many. Since I am an American, and a staunch patriot, I try to better my own country.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 27, 2004 03:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric,

Your assertation that the "we grab innocent Iraqi's"
on a routine basis is absurd. These Mohammeds did something that got the attention of troops. The fact that they were later released doesn't prove their innocence. It only proves that there is no criminal justice system up and running in war zones.

Further, your claim that we "torture them, rape them, sodomize them, brutalize them, and the one's we don't kill, we release back into the population" sounds like Hanoi John when he came back from Vietnam in 1971. There was no evidence of widespread illegal behavior then and there is none now. Your broad statement is ridiculous.

However your most ridiculous statement is "That is how you breed resentment, anger and fuel the insurgency." It is one thing to resent and be angry, it is another to engage in illegal combat. This activity is not "bred", one is prone towards it or not.

Winning hearts and minds is only possible if one is responsible and willing to compromise. Since man became civilized we have tried to win the hearts and minds of criminals, only reap more crime. The illegal combatants in Islamofascia need to be destroyed so that responsible, compromising citizens of these primitive societies see that there is no future in chaos-mongering.

The soft left had it wrong with the treatment of communism and his it wrong again on the treatment of Islamofascists. These uncivilized primitives need to be crushed with brute force. If lefties can't bear to watch they should just look away.

Posted by: lugh lampfhota at August 27, 2004 11:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Lugh,

You said: "Your assertation that the "we grab innocent Iraqi's" on a routine basis is absurd."

But Lugh, it wasn't MY assertion, it was the US Army and the Red Cross, who stated that 70-90% of all those detained were innocent of all charges. Many were mistaken identities and many were the result of informants with personal vendettas, almost none were caught in the act. Maybe you are suggesting the Army is lying. That is a curious allegation to make against the Army though. Why would they want to lie and state that most people detained were innocent? Leaving aside for a moment the theory that the Army is lying about this, think about it logically. Are you really suggesting that the Army released the "vast majority" of guilty prisoners who are insurgents, combatants and terrorists because there is no legal system? Why doesn't that matter at Gitmo. I hardly think they would release people who plant IED's because there is no judge to bring them before. It hasn't stopped them in the past, and they still detain many thousands of prisoners without courts to this day.

As for the broadness of my allegation, the two most recent Pentagon reports indicate that there were widespread abuses (300 currently under investigation). The Army says there were dozens of homicides too. Again, maybe they were lying to try to portray the situation as more of a problem than it is, but that would be strange to say the least. The more likely scenario is that the Army is under-reporting these incidents like they have in all major conflicts since their existence. There are probably many more incidents that don't get exposed. It is simply good PR to do so.

Which brings me to your bizarre statement about there being no widespread atrocities in Vietnam. History does not support you on this. First of all, have you heard of My Lai? That is just the most famous episode.

There were, of course, numerous other incidences of atrocities and war crimes. In a recent piece of investigative journalism, three reporters from the Toledo Blade were awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for their work uncovering the systematic atrocities committed by the Tiger Force, a special unit made up of soldiers from the Army's 101st Airborne's 1st battalion/327th Infantry Regiment. These atrocities, which included the severing of ears for necklaces and the decapitation of infants, were documented and investigated by the Army, but were subsequently covered-up with no charges being filed against any of the participants. Thanks to the efforts of the Toledo Blade journalists, the Army is now re-opening some of these inquiries in conjunction with the Vietnam government. A list of articles detailing these far reaching and widespread atrocities can be found here.

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=SRTIGERFORCE

For a review of some other personal accounts check out this link:

http://tianews.blogspot.com/2004/08/history-forgotten-is-history-repeated.html

Again, I appeal to logic. The tragic reality is that atrocities are inextricably linked to the mental anguish that war creates, and are thus an ugly component in practically every major armed conflict throughout the wide breadth of history. Vietnam and Iraq are not the exceptions. Quite the contrary, under the particularly gruelling psychological strains of guerilla/insurgency combat like Vietnam and Iraq, atrocities are even more common because of the stress and uncertainty endured by the occupying force in confronting an irregular enemy that deliberately blends in with the civilian population. Soldiers in these situations tend to view all civilians as enemies, and often act accordingly which results in countless acts of civilian targeting, on top of the typical dehumanizing of the enemy that is inevitable.

Then you said: "It is one thing to resent and be angry, it is another to engage in illegal combat. This activity is not "bred", one is prone towards it or not."

So if that is the case, are you suggesting that terrorists and insurgents are born that way? There numbers never increase with the influence of their environment? If that's so, then what chance does Iraq have going forward? Can we hope to wait until no more insurgents are born? When will that be? How then could the spread of Democracy effect change as Bush and the neocons claim it will if there are so many people born to engage in such activity? Seems Bush is pretty naive to think Democracy will change anything since these people cannot be influenced one way or the other.

Which is why I think you miss the point about winning the hearts and minds. It is not about winning over al-Qaeda or terrorists. Al-Qaeda needs to be hunted down and killed, they are beyond repair. But we should employ strategies in the broader war against the spread of these beliefs and try to form policies that do not alienate moderates and those who might not follow down that path to jihad At the very least, Osama and his ilk derive much of their power from the support of the populace. When that support is low, their power is lessened. When it is high, that power is greater. The hearts and minds that we must go after are those in the middle and those who are reform-minded who might be swayed not to support Osama and his radicalism

Then you said: "The soft left had it wrong with the treatment of communism and his it wrong again on the treatment of Islamofascists" Depends on what you mean. There is a need for hard and soft power, as in the fight against Communism. Remember, not even a bomb was dropped on Moscow, or anywhere in Eastern Europe, yet Communism was defeated. That is a ringing endorsement as to the efficacy of soft power in some contexts. When confronting al-Qaeda, hard power is the immediate solution, but in stemming the flow of new recruits and the spread of the radical rhetoric, soft power must be employed as well.

Posted by: Eric Martin at August 28, 2004 01:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric:
Seymour is well fed by the left-out at the Pentagon and left in general. I canÕt remember the last piece of straight reporting he did, itÕs been so long.

From todayÕs WSJ (page 3, the news, not the right-wing editorial page) reports on an interview WSJ reporters conduceted with three generals (Gen. Paul Kern, Lt. Gen. Anthony Jones and Maj. Gen. George Fay).

HereÕs the article (which can be found here for WJS subscribers: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109357248561102803,00.html?mod=todays_us_page_one ):
A list of interrogation techniques approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for use at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, migrated improperly to Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and contributed to some of the abuses there, three senior Army generals who recently completed a detailed study of the problems at the prison told The Wall Street Journal.

The investigation demonstrates that the Bush administration's determination after Sept. 11, 2001, that the Geneva Conventions governing the humane treatment of prisoners didn't apply to al Qaeda fighters arrested in Afghanistan had far-reaching implications in theaters as far away as Iraq -- where the conventions were supposed to apply -- and may have contributed to the abuse of prisoners at the Baghdad facility.

A list of 17 interrogation techniques approved by Mr. Rumsfeld in December 2002 and intended solely for Guantanamo Bay permitted U.S. interrogators there to put prisoners in "stress positions" for as long as four hours, hood them and subject them to 20-hour-long interrogations. Other techniques listed in the document included "fear of dogs" and "mild non-injurious physical contact."

Amid complaints from military officers in Cuba, Mr. Rumsfeld retracted the list in January 2003, less than four weeks after it was issued, and ordered a high-level legal review of interrogation policies. Only 10 of the 17 techniques were ever used at Guantanamo -- all of them on a single detainee of Saudi nationality suspected of involvement in the Sept. 11 conspiracy, according to a Pentagon official.

Somehow, though, that list eventually migrated to the computers of relatively low-ranking officers at Abu Ghraib, said the generals -- Gen. Paul Kern, Lt. Gen. Anthony Jones and Maj. Gen. George Fay -- in a meeting yesterday with The Wall Street Journal. Interrogators at Abu Ghraib assumed improperly that the techniques drawn up for Guantanamo Bay could be used at Abu Ghraib, they said.

Months after Mr. Rumsfeld pulled the list of techniques back from Guantanamo, some of them were being employed improperly at Abu Ghraib. Indeed, some techniques on the list that were never employed at Guantanamo, such as the use of dogs in interrogations, were used at Abu Ghraib.

"There was policy confusion" caused by the list, said Gen. Fay, who led an investigation into military-intelligence activities at Abu Ghraib.

In at least one case, a Guantanamo interrogator visiting Abu Ghraib in 2003 inadvertently added to the already-confused atmosphere regarding rules of interrogation, the generals said. Upon noticing prisoners being kept naked in Abu Ghraib, the visitor told his counterparts in Iraq that similar techniques were permitted at the Cuba facility but not employed. In fact, the earlier rules had permitted prisoners to be stripped naked, but the rules that replaced those techniques prohibited that. As such, the "wrongful use of nakedness in interrogations was condoned," Gen. Fay said.

Another episode of confusion stemmed from the visit of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, then the head of the Guantanamo facility, to Abu Ghraib in Sept. 2003. Gen. Miller suggested using dogs at the facility to guard Abu Ghraib's perimeter and keep inmates under control. But, the generals said, Col. Thomas Pappas misinterpreted his suggestion as a green light to use the dogs in interrogations -- one of the techniques that had briefly been allowed at Guantanamo and then retracted. Today, Gen. Miller oversees U.S. detention facilities in Iraq.

The Army generals involved in the prison investigation seemed to give different weight to the role that confusing policy documents may have played in the abuse.

Gen. Kern, the senior general on the Army investigative panel, acknowledged that "confusing policy documents" might have led to misunderstandings that contributed to some of the abuse at Abu Ghraib. In at least one case, interrogators submitted a written request to question prisoners naked that was approved by their commanders. Such a tactic should never have been allowed, Gen. Kern said.

But he said poor leadership at the prison played a larger role than confusing memos in the abuse scandal. "It was very clear-cut. They knew right from wrong and that they were supposed to treat people humanely, but they didn't do it," he said.

In his report, Gen. Fay noted that 15 of the 23 interrogators involved in abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib thought they were following Army policy.

Posted by: The Kid at August 28, 2004 01:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You said: "Your assertation that the "we grab innocent Iraqi's" on a routine basis is absurd."
But Lugh, it wasn't MY assertion, it was the US Army and the Red Cross, who stated that 70-90% of all those detained were innocent of all charges.

The Red Cross may have considered most detainees to be "innocent" while the Army stated that they didn't have evidence to prosecute. The failed state of Iraq has no laws, no effective police investigators, no prosecutors and very fews courts. It would be ridiculous to charge or attempt to try the detainees. Therefore they detain, interrogate then release these illegal enemy combatants if they wisely plead their innocence. This doesn't mean they are innocent.

I take exeception to the use of your term insurgents. The precise term for combatants against a lawful sovereign government after the cessation of hostilities is illegal enemy combatants. In the absence of a Western sense of honor these Mohammeds are released to go right back to illegal warfare rather than going home like good Germans and Japs after WW2. The Geneva Accords and Western laws mean nothing to these primitives therefore our desire to cling to these protocols only hamstrings our efforts to bring order in Iraq.

As for the broadness of my allegation, the two most recent Pentagon reports indicate that there were widespread abuses (300 currently under investigation).

If the 300 figure is correct then the percentage of detainees claiming abuse is 0.7% of the 41,000 detainees processed through Abu Ghraib. Hardly widespread and probably most will be found baseless.

Which brings me to your bizarre statement about there being no widespread atrocities in Vietnam. History does not support you on this. First of all, have you heard of My Lai? That is just the most famous episode.

Over a million US troops rotated through Vietnam through the decade of the war and you cite My Lai (which was prosecuted by the military) as your example of widespread atrocities. Meanwhile you discount the Army investigations while rolling out a leftist newspaper "investigation" to back your case. I think your ideology has gotten in the way af facts on this issue. Widespread would suggest over 500,000 cases of atrocities.

The tragic reality is that atrocities are inextricably linked to the mental anguish that war creates, and are thus an ugly component in practically every major armed conflict throughout the wide breadth of history. Vietnam and Iraq are not the exceptions.

Grant said "War is hell". Islamofascists could line up in battle order and fight our soldiers then accept the outcome of battle and return home to live their lives in peace. They don't and won't. They hide amomgst their women and children, using them as shields and then complaining when they are killed and maimed. The atrocity is theirs, the blame is theirs and I won't shed one tear for them. Tis not on us but them.

So if that is the case, are you suggesting that terrorists and insurgents are born that way? Yes, just like criminals. There numbers never increase with the influence of their environment? No. If you have no morals then you have succumbed to the law of the jungle. If that's so, then what chance does Iraq have going forward? A good chance once we kill the misfits. Can we hope to wait until no more insurgents are born? Should we stop fighting crime until no more criminals are born. When will that be? Never How then could the spread of Democracy effect change as Bush and the neocons claim it will if there are so many people born to engage in such activity? Seems Bush is pretty naive to think Democracy will change anything since these people cannot be influenced one way or the other.

Civilization has fought barbarians since man became civilized. It will never stop, we will never win but we must fight the fight. Otherwise civilization ceases to exist and we will all live in a jungle.

The hearts and minds that we must go after are those in the middle and those who are reform-minded who might be swayed not to support Osama and his radicalism

And our only chance is to give the civilized people in Islamofascia a chance to make a decent country by killing those who have and will use violence to get their way. Ignoring it for 12 years didn't make things better. At least they now have a chance to establish a government based upon rule of law.

When confronting al-Qaeda, hard power is the immediate solution, but in stemming the flow of new recruits and the spread of the radical rhetoric, soft power must be employed as well.

Soft power can be effective with those who think however the cultist Islamofascists must experience an abundance of violence to be pounded down so the thinkers can have an opportunity to believe there is a possibility of freedom. That is the hope of Iraq.

Posted by: lugh lampfhota at August 28, 2004 10:33 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

John McCain?

The anti-First Amendment thug (see "McCain Fiengold") who screams like a Democrat that people are "questioning his patriotism" when they question hsi judgment?

Not a chance.

Posted by: Greg D at August 31, 2004 01:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1868 http://www.online-poker-big.com check out this online poker site!

Posted by: online poker at September 28, 2004 02:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

8744 http://www.texas-holdem-now.com play texas holdem here!

Posted by: texas holdem at September 30, 2004 04:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

5691 http://www.casino-online-i.com the best online casinos on the web.

Posted by: online casinos at September 30, 2004 07:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

4797 http://www.play-poker-i.com

Posted by: http://www.play-poker-i.com at October 1, 2004 04:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

2785 http://www.caribbean-poker-web.com very fun

Posted by: caribbean poker at October 5, 2004 02:21 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

4382 Play poker here poker

Posted by: http://www.888-texas-holdem.com at October 6, 2004 01:49 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

8494 Very well said in the first place! http://www.online-poker-net.com

Posted by: online poker at October 6, 2004 08:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

4633 How can this all be as nice? Check out my site http://www.pai-gow-keno.com

Posted by: keno at October 8, 2004 09:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

2253 http://www.texas-hold-em-i.com play texas hold em online here.

Posted by: texas hold em at October 11, 2004 09:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

4607 http://www.e-texas-holdem.info

texas holdem

Posted by: online texas holdem at October 13, 2004 06:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

7669 http://www.e-online-poker.info
online poker

Posted by: online poker at November 5, 2004 08:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

444 online poker
http://online-poker.ownsthis.com

Posted by: online poker at November 6, 2004 08:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1671 http://top-online-poker.info
poker online

Posted by: play poker online at November 7, 2004 04:59 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1523 http://www.real-online-poker.net

poker online

Posted by: online poker at November 9, 2004 12:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
Reviews of Belgravia Dispatch
"Awake"
--New York Times
"Must-read list"
--Washington Times
"Always Thoughtful"
--Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit
"Pompous Ass"
--an anonymous blogospheric commenter
Recent Entries
Search
English Language Media
Foreign Affairs Commentariat
Non-English Language Press
U.S. Blogs
Western Europe
France
United Kingdom
Germany
Italy
Netherlands
Spain
Central and Eastern Europe
CIS/FSU
Russia
Armenia
East Asia
China
Japan
South Korea
Middle East
Egypt
Israel
Lebanon
Syria
Columnists
Think Tanks
Security
Books
B.D. In the Press
Archives
Categories
Syndicate this site:
XML RSS RDF

G2E

Powered by