June 19, 2008 Leave a comment
Wow! An amazing indictment of the Bush administration's torture regime from former two-star general Anthony Taguba, the general charged with investigating the abuses at Abu Graib. Dan Froomkin somes it up quite succinctly:
The two-star general who led an Army investigation into the horrific
detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib has accused the Bush administration of war
crimes and is calling for accountability.
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.
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. . . .
This final paragraph is quite the damning indictment (bolding mine):
“After years of disclosures by government investigations, media
accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no
longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed
war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether
those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”
Andrew Sullivan also has a great post on the matter. My favorite part:
And all this was done not in the chaos of a battlefield or even by
rogue units or POW camps. It was not done in a war with anything like
as many soldiers and battles as World War II. It was done in a closely
managed war by a professional military and intelligence service in
every theater of combat as a concerted policy to get more intelligence
about Jihadist terror and the Iraq insurgency. It was authorized
directly in the chain of command by the president, who knowingly broke
the law and hired lawyers to tell him he hadn't. No clever
argumentation that “only” 270 prisoners remain at Gitmo can gainsay
that. And it is not, by the way, evidence against the fact that this
administration seized countless innocents and tortured them to say that
they eventually released most of them. It is no consolation to the
torture victims at Abu Ghraib that they were eventually set free and
their innocence confirmed. Those are the standards of benign
dictatorships, not democracies.
And, on the war criminal front, over at TNR, Scott Horton writes that a number of Bush administration officials better be careful where they travel, lest they actually be held accountable for their actions. It would be nice to see some of these anti-democratic thugs masquerading as civil servants get what they deserve.