Monday, May 10, 2004

Other Priorities It's quite possible the 800th Military Police Brigade was the worst of the worst, but I doubt it was the only unit with these problems. But in any case, even if the 800th was the only unit with these problems, the higher ups at the Pentagon, including Rumsfeld cannot legitimately claim ignorance, as this USA Today article makes clear.
Over the secure line, Abizaid described the allegation of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners reported on Jan. 13 by Army Spc. Joseph Darby, a reservist from Maryland. He told Myers about the disk, "Here's what basically the pictures might show." Abizaid added, "This is a big deal." ...The now voluminous public record shows that the Pentagon received repeated reports of prisoner abuse but put a higher priority on extracting information about terrorist or insurgent attacks. Although the specific abuses at Abu Ghraib occurred far down the chain of command from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, it was a chain closely supervised from the top. Indeed, in cases of high-level detainees, rules imposed by Rumsfeld dictated that Pentagon officials up to and including the Defense secretary be involved in approving the use of coercive interrogation methods.
Seymore Hersh yesterday discussed the problems also being related in part to the manner in which both Rumsfeld and Bush deal with subordinates, they do not like to receive bad news.
Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, Myers' deputy, told President Bush in early February that a prisoner abuse investigation was underway in Iraq, apparently without giving Bush much detail.
Now, while many focus on the military (which David Kay said was not receptive to his complaints about prisoner treatment Abu Ghraib), let us also remember another policy problem that is clear and continuing. One of the specific problems identified by General Taguba are military intelligence and civilian contractors these same contractors, the same individuals named in the Taguba Report, and whom he says should GO...well, they are still there. How are the higher ups not responsible for that continuing outrage?
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