3 September 2007

Taguba & Abu Ghraib

I've just finished reading an article published in the on-line edition of the New Yorker: "The general's report: How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties." by Seymore M. Hersh (25.06.07). Army Major Taguba led the inquiry into the abuses at Abu Ghraib. The interview with Taguba deals with many questions, but one of the things that Taguba returns to again and again throughout the interview is the way Rumsfeld and other prominent actors in the Army and the White house tried to dodge responsibility for the interrogation methods at Abu Ghraib.

Of course, what happened was described as the initiative of individual low-ranking soldiers. Rumsfeld claimed not to have been informed (he did this under oath). In the article, Taguba mentions several reasons why this seems highly improbable. “There was no way Rumsfeld didn’t know what was going on. He’s a guy who wants to know everything, and what he was giving us was hard to believe.”

Even more interesting is the fact that Taguba was ostricised - he received a phone call by the Army's Vice -Chief of staff, who told him that he was to retire. In the beginning of the article, Hersh mentions the seemingly arduous initiation of the investigations. Was this simply an attempt to appear responsible? A telling fact, however, is that the investigators were not allowed to look into the role of Rumsfeld and Pentagon - they were to focus on the low-ranking soldiers. Hersh writes, wryly: "the result was that none found any high-level intelligence involvement in the abuse." How surprising!

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