The Duke of Deception
Like one who...made such a sinner of his memory to credit his own lie — he did believe he was indeed the duke; hence his ambition growing... .
-- The Tempest, Act I, Sn. 2
The New York Times:
In his first comments on the two major investigative reports issued this week at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Thursday mischaracterized one of their central findings about the American military's treatment of Iraqi prisoners by saying there was no evidence that prisoners had been abused during interrogations.
Not once. Not twice. Not even three times. But four times. Four! Once, with a Pentagon aide's correcting note in front of him.
The reports, one by a panel Mr. Rumsfeld had appointed and one by three Army generals, made clear that some abuses occurred during interrogations, that others were intended to soften up prisoners who were to be questioned, and that many intelligence personnel involved in the interrogations were implicated in the abuses. The reports were issued Tuesday and Wednesday.
But on Thursday, in an interview with a radio station in Phoenix, Mr. Rumsfeld, who was traveling outside Washington this week, said, "I have not seen anything thus far that says that the people abused were abused in the process of interrogating them or for interrogation purposes."
Mr. Rumsfeld repeated the assertion a few hours later at a news conference in Phoenix, adding that "all of the press, all of the television thus far that tried to link the abuse that took place to interrogation techniques in Iraq has not yet been demonstrated."
After an aide slipped him a note during the news conference, however, Mr. Rumsfeld corrected himself, noting that an inquiry by three Army generals had, in fact, found "two or three" cases of abuse during interrogations or the interrogations process. In fact, however, the Army inquiry found that 13 of 44 instances of abuse involved interrogations or the interrogation process, an Army spokeswoman said. The report itself explicitly describes the extent to which each abuse involved interrogations.
Mr. Rumsfeld also misstated an important finding of an independent panel he appointed and is led by James R. Schlesinger, a former defense secretary, saying in the interview with KTAR radio, "The interesting thing about the Schlesinger panel is their conclusion that, in fact, the abuses seem not to have anything to do with interrogation at all."
But the first paragraph of the Schlesinger panel report says, "We do know that some of the egregious abuses at Abu Ghraib which were not photographed did occur during interrogation sessions and that abuses during interrogation sessions occurred elsewhere."
I think our country sinks beneath the yoke. It weeps, it bleeds; and each new day a gash is added to her wounds.
-- MacBeth, Act IV, Sc 3