Whenever any shocking details of our policies of torture are revealed, administration apologists invariably reply 'but we are still better than Al Queda'. But after reading this appalling account by Seymour Hersh, one wonders if we really are?
The General's Report on Abu Ghraib
'How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties'.
Exemplary General Taguba was told later that he had been sent to the job in the Pentagon so that he could 'be watched'. "I wasn't about to lie to the committee,"he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "I knew I was already in a losing proposition. If I lie, I lose. And, if I tell the truth, I lose."
So it seems Taguba decided to tell the truth and it has landed him in Bush administration purgatory. There will be no 'Medals of Honor' for Taguba, but at least he has a clear conscience.
[Taguba] knew that senior officials in Rumsfeld's office and elsewhere in the Pentagon had been given a graphic account of the pictures from Abu Ghraib, and told of their potential strategic significance, within days of the first complaint. On January 13, 2004, a military policeman named Joseph Darby gave the Army's Criminal Investigation Division (C.I.D.) a CD full of images of abuse.[...]
I learned from Taguba that the first wave of materials included descriptions of the sexual humiliation of a father with his son, who were both detainees.Taguba said that he saw "a video of a male American soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee."[...]
Nevertheless, Rumsfeld, in his appearances before the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees on May 7th, claimed to have had no idea of the extensive abuse. "It breaks our hearts that in fact someone didn't say, 'Wait, look, this is terrible. We need to do something," Rumsfeld told the congressmen. "I wish we had known more, sooner, and been able to tell you more sooner, but we didn't."
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."
"The dirt and secrets are in the back channel," the former senior intelligence officer noted. "All this open business--sitting in staff meetings, etc., etc.--is the Potemkin Village stuff. And the good guys--like Taguba--are gone".
"They always shoot the messenger,"Taguba told me. (Hersh)
Taguba continues, "Unlike at Guantánamo, very few prisoners were affiliated with any terrorist group. Taguba had seen classified documents revealing that there were only "one or two" suspected Al Qaeda prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Most of the detainees had nothing to do with the insurgency. A few of them were common crimminals"... A senior general in Iraq had pointed out to him that (after all) the abused detainees were "only (ordinary) Iraqis."
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