In his 2004 report
on Abu Ghraib, then-Major General Anthony Taguba concluded that
“numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses
were inflicted on several detainees.” He called the abuse “systemic and
illegal.” And, as Seymour M. Hersh reported in the New Yorker, he was rewarded for his honesty by being forced into retirement.
Now, in a preface to a Physicians for Human Rights report based on medical examinations of former detainees, Taguba adds an epilogue to his own investigation.
The new report, he writes, “tells the largely untold human story of
what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief
and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This
story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of
these individual's lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor
is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received
from their captors.
“The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none
of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained,
are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever
justified. Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan,
and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full-scope of the damage this
illegal and unsound policy has inflicted –both on America's
institutions and our nation's founding values, which the military,
intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend.
“In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to
which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the
field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military
Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was
indiscriminately ignored. . . .