Sunday :: Jun 17, 2007

Reopen Abu Ghraib Inquiry

by Steve

Read Seymour Hersh's New Yorker piece on Lt. General Antonio Taguba's apparent blacklisting at the Pentagon for blowing the lid off of Abu Ghraib. It seems pretty clear that the CENTCOM chain of command knew about the despicable interrogation practices used at Abu Ghraib and had seen them first hand. It also seems clear now that CENTCOM and the Office of the Secretary of Defense covered up the war crimes, and that Rummy lied to Congress about it in his testimony on May 7, 2004 when he said that the first he knew about the seriousness of the transgressions was when he saw the pictures only recently.

Taguba indicates that he sent at least a dozen copies of his investigation and the pictures up the chain of command in CENTCOM and into the Pentagon. The direct chain of command is from the theater commander to CENTCOM, then directly to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. For the record, at the time of the worst of the torture in late 2003, the two senior command officials who Taguba noticed with his findings were Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez in Baghdad and CENTCOM commander John Abizaid. Sanchez was replaced a month after Rummy's lies to Congress on May 7, 2004 with General George Casey. Abizaid took over in CENTCOM from Tommy Franks in July 2003, just before the worst of the abuses took place, and yet Abizaid was allowed to stay at CENTCOM for nearly four years.

According to Hersh, GOP Senator John Warner tried to dig into the matter but "was warned 'to back off' on the investigation, because 'it would spill over to more important things.'"

Perhaps Carl Levin will get off his ass long enough from rubber stamping the Iraq "no strings" funding bill to reopen the Abu Ghraib chain of command matter, and find out who knew what and when they knew it.

Abu Ghraib was a war crime, plain and simple.

Steve :: 1:47 PM :: Comments (38) :: Digg It!