Tuesday :: Jul 27, 2004

Abu Ghraib, Whitewashed

by soccerdad

Mary had originally posted about the abuse of children at Abu Ghraib, and I had posted 2 follow ups. I even emailed the Boston Globe hoping to bring attention to this. I desperately wanted some attention paid to this. Then the bottom fell out for me last week and I alternated between rage and depression when the "report" on prison abuse came out finding in favor of the ridiculous "few bad apples" theory. The report was nicely obscured by the commotion about the 9/11 report.

I have found it amazing that so few of the people I talked to today did not know the "Abu Ghraib" report had come out. So I have overcome my depression on this issue and have decided to post portions of 3 editorials that critique the report. I can't seem to write anything without ending up "screaming" and swearing. Of the many disturbing things about this administration and the war, this is at the top of my list as the worst. It has brought shame to our country and the coverup just deepens that shame and casts the USA as just another hypocritical bunch... ...

You have to hand it to the Rethugs they know how to bury a story. They also know how to spin an excuse, in this case "a few bad apples".

From the NY Times:

The authors of this 300-page whitewash say they found no "systemic" problem - even though there were 94 documented cases of prisoner abuse, including some 40 deaths, 20 of them homicides; even though only four prisons of the 16 they visited had copies of the Geneva Conventions; even though Abu Ghraib was a cesspool with one shower for every 50 inmates; even though the military police were improperly involved in interrogations; even though young people plucked from civilian life were sent to guard prisoners - 50,000 of them in all - with no training.

From USA Today
What is the best way to bury a scandal? Bring out the bad news when attention is focused elsewhere.

The Army, abetted by the Senate Armed Services Committee, executed the tactic with military precision late last week, trotting out a hard-to-swallow, 300-page account of the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal under cover of the 9/11 Commission's sweeping report on terrorism.

It was a striking juxtaposition: one report exhaustive and direct, the other simply an attempt at damage control. One charging that the negative image the U.S. has projected in the Muslim world has undermined the war on terrorism, the other reinforcing that negative image by failing to deal responsibly with an issue that has justifiably enraged Muslims and cast U.S. ideals as hypocrisy.

From the Washington Post
This conclusion is contradicted by the independent investigations and reports of the International Committee of the Red Cross, by an earlier Army investigation undertaken before the scandal became public, and by testimony given to Congress. Oddly, it doesn't even square with some of the findings buried in the inspector general's own report, which confirm that commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan ordered "high-risk" interrogation procedures to be used on prisoners without adequate safeguards, training or regard for the Geneva Conventions.

No matter: The report effectively communicates the strategy of the military brass on the detainee affair, which is to focus blame on a few low-ranking personnel, shield all senior commanders from accountability, and deny or bury any facts that interfere with these aims. In that sense, the signal it sends to Congress is clear: The Pentagon cannot be counted on to reliably or thoroughly investigate the prisoner abuse affair. An independent probe by an outside authority is desperately needed.

soccerdad :: 1:28 PM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!