Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Destruction Of Honor And Morals

Seymour Hersh from the New Yorker has an article about retired Gen. Taguba, the military man that was to investigate the Abu Ghriab prisoner torture scandal. In it, Hersh tells of the systematic approach The Pentagon and The White House covered their asses and blamed low level troops of the abuses when, in fact, the abuse was cleared by higher ups from The Pentagon and The White House.

Here's what General Taguba has to say about the limits put him during his investigation of Abu Ghirab:

"During the next two years, Taguba assiduously avoided the press, telling his relatives not to talk about his work. Friends and family had been inundated with telephone calls and visitors, and, Taguba said, “I didn’t want them to be involved.” Taguba retired in January, 2007, after thirty-four years of active service, and finally agreed to talk to me about his investigation of Abu Ghraib and what he believed were the serious misrepresentations by officials that followed. “From what I knew, troops just don’t take it upon themselves to initiate what they did without any form of knowledge of the higher-ups,” Taguba told me. His orders were clear, however: he was to investigate only the military police at Abu Ghraib, and not those above them in the chain of command. “These M.P. troops were not that creative,” he said. “Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box.”

Let's take that last sentence, again:
"I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box" Someone is hiding and covering their involvment. Now who could that be?

Hersh goes further to show how this plan from The Pentagon and The White House has, effectively, broken down the chain of cammand in Iraq.

In classic BushCo tactics, it is never BushCo's fault - blame someone else:

A Pentagon consultant on the war on terror also said that the [referring to the Abu Ghirab photos] “basic strategy was ‘prosecute the kids in the photographs but protect the big picture.’ ”

What's the "big picture"? The only conclusion is that "the big picture" refers to higher ups in the Pentagon and, therefore, The White House.

Hersh then goes on to show how The White House and The Pentagon created a kind of secret agency to bypass any formal command structure in order to prosecute however they see fit, the War on Terror.

"In special cases, the task forces could bypass the chain of command and deal directly with Rumsfeld’s office. A former senior intelligence official told me that the White House was also briefed on task-force operations.

What is the consequence of the abuses of detainees and military dicipline?

"Richard Armitage, the former Deputy Secretary of State, told me [Seymour Hersh] that, on his visits to Iraq, he increasingly found that “the commanders would say one thing and the guys in the field would say, ‘I don’t care what he says. I’m going to do what I want.’ We’ve sacrificed the chain of command to the notion of Special Operations and GWOT”—the global war on terrorism. “You’re painting on a canvas so big that it’s hard to comprehend,” Armitage said.

“They always shoot the messenger,” Taguba told me. “To be accused of being overzealous and disloyal—that cuts deep into me. I was being ostracized for doing what I was asked to do.”
Taguba went on, “There was no doubt in my mind that this stuff”—the explicit images—“was gravitating upward. It was standard operating procedure to assume that this had to go higher. The President had to be aware of this.” He said that Rumsfeld, his senior aides, and the high-ranking generals and admirals who stood with him as he misrepresented what he knew about Abu Ghraib had failed the nation.
“From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service,” Taguba said. “And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.”

The whole article

My rantings about the BushCo criminals goes beyond my dislike of Bush; my dislike of Bush is fed by Bush's own fear and lack of any sense of morals and how his fear and lack of morals is weakening not only our military, but our standing in the larger world. I am not a 'flowers in the sky' liberal (I prefer 'Realist Liberal') that feels as long as we are nice to each other, we'll all get along. No, I am fully aware that there are people out there that would rather see the western world destroyed so a theocratic regime can run things. I feel using the same tactics that terroist use is wrong. We must take the moral high ground when fighting terrorist and not let our baser instincts get the better of us.
The irony, of course, is Bush claims to be a "christian", but he has shown none of the values christians, I'm told, are suposed to beleive in. I'm reminded of what Bush said years ago when Bush was running for his first term as President. The moderator of one of the debates asked who his [Bush] favorite philosopher is. Bush's anwer? Jesus. I find that hard to swallow especially with Bush's zeal for the death penalty while Governor of Texas and his prosecution of the war in Iraq, and therefore, the abuses in Iraq that Jesus is his favorite philosopher.

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