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Galloway: Re-open Abu Ghraib investigation


[Of course, Abu Ghraib is the story WaPo's editors should be assigning to Pincus. But n-o-o-o-o-o...]

McClatchy's Joe Galloway:

We were reminded again this week that in this administration, no good deed goes unpunished, and that no scandal is so great that it can’t be hidden until it’s forgotten.

The sad spectacle that transpired inside the crumbling walls of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq came roaring back to life with Seymour Hersh’s on-target article in The New Yorker magazine telling the story of an honest general who investigated and reported on events that shocked the world.

Funny thing, isn't it? The story that "roared back to life" is dead again, killed by another missing white woman and forty year old dirty laundry. (Sure, laundry with forty years of fermentation to it stinks, but today's stinks worse, and it's got that fresh stink to it.)

Maj. Gen. Anthony Taguba, U.S. Army retired, was an accidental choice to conduct one of 17 Pentagon investigations of the prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib. He was grabbed because he wore two stars, and they needed someone of that rank to probe a case that involved a one-star general.

The trouble was that Tony Taguba was honest and thorough and reported in detail, early and often, to his superiors on the evidence he was uncovering - film and photos of abuses far worse than those the public saw. There was sexual abuse of female prisoners by their American military guards and forced sex acts between a father and his young son.

Nice work from the "family values" crowd!

So, why no accountability?

[Taguba] wasn't authorized to investigate any higher up the chain of command than the hapless Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski [of the National Guard], and so he didn't.

And how did the people who should be held accountable behave? Well, they're Republicans operatives and they work in the Bush regime, so we know the answer already: They got all the information through backchannels, designed the coverup, and deepsixed everything:

Both President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld went on record declaring that the first they knew of the Abu Ghraib scandal was when they saw the less-offensive photographs in the media.

If you believe that, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Arizona that I'd like to sell you.

Within 48 hours of the photographs first coming to the notice of the high command in Baghdad, the back channel was rippling with e-mails [Hmmm... I wonder where those emails are...] detailing the terrible scandal that had befallen the American military and its civilian bosses.

And then they concocted the "bad apples" theory to get themselves off the hook and pin the blame on some fall guys:

The president and the secretary of defense expressed their shock and surprise that a few rogue reserve military police soldiers - a few "bad apples" - had treated prisoners in their charge so badly.

That when it was obvious that President Bush and his White House counsel Alberto Gonzales had done everything they could to unleash military and CIA interrogators from the constraints of the Geneva Convention and common human decency.

There are those who know that Rumsfeld himself ordered Maj. Gen. Geoff Miller, who ran things at the detention center at Guantanamo, Cuba, to take a "tiger team" of specialists in rough interrogation techniques to Abu Ghraib in the summer of 2003 and share their knowledge.

A dozen people in the chain of command were reprimanded or, in the case of Gen. Karpinski, reduced in rank. Half a dozen enlisted reserve MP’s were court-martialed and given prison sentences for their actions.

Mission accomplished!

And note well that every General now in Iraq watched what happened to Taguba carefully, including Odierno and Petraeus--sounds like "Betray us," doens't it--and they all know that if they cross Bush, their careers are in the toilet. (And you can believe that with these guys, money is the only concern, since all the honorable generals have already been fired or resigned.)

The examples made of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki and Gen. Taguba weren't lost on military commanders in the field or at home: If you dare speak truth to power in this administration, your career is toast, and any hopes you have of landing a cushy job in one of the defense industry behemoths are finished.

Fortunately, we now have a Democratic Congress that will hold the Bush regime accountable for turning us into a nation of torturers!

It’s long past time for Congress to reopen the matter of who's really responsible for Abu Ghraib and let the chips fall where they may - even if that means they pile up around the retirement home of a former secretary of defense or the gates of the White House itself.

Let’s begin right here by serving subpoenas on all the rats that are lining up to skitter down the hawsers of a sinking ship, and getting to the TOP of all the sorry scandals of this administration, one by one.

Oh, wait.... You mean that hasn't happened?

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Congressional hearings today, war crimes tribunals tomorrow.

Roger Waters needs to update his great song about the old folks home for world leaders featuring Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.