Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Barbarians at the "Gates"

Josh White of the Washington Post reports today on the migration of interrogation techniques from Cuba to Abu Ghraib.

"[The] severe tactics approved for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo migrated to Iraq and spiraled into the notorious abuse at Abu Ghraib in the late summer and early fall of 2003."

"At [hearings at] Fort Meade yesterday, soldiers testified that the top military intelligence officer at the prison, Col. Thomas M. Pappas, approved the use of dogs for interrogations. Maj. Matthew Miller, a prosecutor, also revealed that Pappas, faced with a request from interrogators to use dogs on three stubborn detainees captured at the same time as then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, 'admitted he failed to ask' Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, then the top general in Iraq, for approval as he was supposed to have done."

I can't help but wonder how long Colonel Pappas will stick to that story.

Sergeant Santos A. Cordona is charged with allowing unmuzzled dogs to threaten and attack detainees at Abu Ghraib. His civilian attorney plans to call at least one witness "to talk about a September 2003 visit to Abu Ghraib by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, then in charge of the Guantanamo prison."

This whole thing's going to stink to high heaven if a bunch of enlisted people wind up in prison over Torturegate and General Miller walks.


From the "irony is dead" files via The Jerusalem Post:

[Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld arrived unannounced in the Iraqi capital with a series of messages for the country's interim leaders, suggesting a heightened sense of urgency in US President George W. Bush's administration to make faster strides on the political and security fronts, so that American forces can eventually leave.

I wonder what brought on that "heightened sense of urgency" don't you? Especially after two years of "stay there till the job's done" and "the terrorists will just wait us out."

You reckon this is a preemptive move to soften the impact of the Nigergate and Traitorgate?


Regardless of what I believe to be the hidden motive behind talk of troop withdrawal, I thoroughly agree it's the right thing to be doing. But I think it should have been done several months ago.


  1. "This whole thing's going to stink to high heaven if a bunch of enlisted people wind up in prison over Torturegate and General Miller walks."

    You must remember that this isn't your father's military, hell it's not the one I was in 46 years ago and I'd bet it isn't yours either.

    Our's had ethics, honor, integrity and most of all a sense of duty to country.

    Today it seems that responsibility flows from the bottom rather than from the top. The enlisted will get burned while the generals walk, unless of course they are National Guard or Reservists.

  2. Oh, I saw plenty of that sort of thing in the last few years before I retired.

    You want to know, for example, the real reason for the armor shortage? O-5 and O-6 unit level commanders cheating on their readiness reports to protect their own careers.

    I can go on and on.

  3. And do you recall as I do? Nixon pulled the "peace in Vietnam" card at just the right moment in his reelection campaign to pull the rug out from under George McGovern?

  4. Outstanding piece, Jeff.

    I've really been enjoying your comments over at PK, too. It's amazing to read them from a former military man.

    In January, I spent a lot of time talking with military people. I researched and wrote about the Washington Gubernatorial election challenge..debunking Republican claims that the military vote had been disenfranchised. It was an enlightening experience.

    I wonder how many of those serving right now have attitudes reflective of yours.

  5. Carla,

    Those currently on active duty are stuck in a conundrum. Regardless of what they think about what's going on, it's their duty to follow the orders of their Commander in Chief and the rest of their chain of command.

    This subject warrants fuller discussion in a front page piece--I'll get to it in the near future.

    I highly recomment Tom Ricks' A SOLDIER'S DUTY, his novel on the subject of duty, honor, and conscience.