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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Another Abu Ghaib Report

New York Times:

The prisoner abuses photographed at the Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq were unauthorized "acts of brutality and purposeless sadism" that served no intelligence-gathering purpose, but indirect responsibility for these and other, more widespread abuses goes all the way up the chain of command, an independent panel reported today. Problems at the prison "were well known" within the military, the panel's chairman, James R. Schlesinger, said, and corrective actions "could have been taken and should have been taken." But the panel found that military commanders and staff officers in the field and in Washington bore more responsibility than the Pentagon's civilian leaders for not preventing the abuses, which prompted outrage at home and abroad when the photographs were disclosed in April.
So my basic thoughts at the start of the Abu Ghraib scandal have been pretty weel born out. Rumsfeld didn't authorize this, but the entire chain of command is in some way implicated for failing to make sure that their subordinates were doing their job so that such things could not occur. It is difficult to decide how much punishment should be born for indirect responsibility like this. Certainly a blackmark on the records. Also seems that a courtmartial would be going too far. To me, as important as punishment is making sure this doesn't happen again. Oh, and throw the book at the sadists who actually were doing the abuse.


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