Sunday, June 17, 2007

Must Read: What really happened at Abu Ghraib & the stink could go up very high

By Diane Silver

Today's must read is a bombshell article about the Abu Graib scandal in The New Yorker. In an in-depth interview with Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba, the man who investigated Abu Graib, journalist Seymour Hersh reveals Taguba's thoughts about what really happened.

The bottom line is that Taguba was punished by the Army for his honest report and is now spilling all the beans. One of the biggest "beans" is how his investigation was limited, so that he could only look at the MPs and not at anyone above them.

Taguba says about what the U.S. did at Abu Graib:
(T)he fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable."

The article and commentary on it are already all over the blogosphere. Here are some good, recent posts:

Josh Marshall

Andrew Sullivan "The Unraveling"

Think Progress summarizes the story and details the cover-up: "I thought I was in the Mafia."


CEW said...

How much worse can it get? Let's undo all the good will we ever earned through the twentieth century in a few short years.

Diane Silver said...

I agree completely.

I think the events at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere are at the very least a moral issue, but what we do also has a practical effect on our security and the effectiveness of the so-called war on terror. Practically speaking, Abu Ghraib and the Bushies other misteps have done more to recruit terrorists then anything Al Qaeda could have done. And that, of course, is the central problem.

We cannot defeat terrorists by becoming terrorists ourselves. And to avoid falling into that trap, we must be willing to see our enemies and the people around them as, well, living, breathing human people who have rights. There's nothing squishing about this attitude and I'm not talking about being soft on terrorists. I'm talking about finding a way to battle the bad guys without making more bad guys.

One of the things that is chilling about the New Yorker article is the recollection of one official declaring that what happened at Abu Ghraib wasn't so bad because it "only" occurred to Iraqis. How uninformed can a person be?

Thanks for the comment.