Saturday, June 16, 2007

A casualty of Abu Ghraib

Seymour Hersh talks about the work and forced retirement of Antonio Taguba:

How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties.

In January of 2006, Taguba received a telephone call from General Richard Cody, the Army’s Vice-Chief of Staff. “This is your Vice,” he told Taguba. “I need you to retire by January of 2007.” No pleasantries were exchanged, although the two generals had known each other for years, and, Taguba said, “He offered no reason.” (A spokesperson for Cody said, “Conversations regarding general officer management are considered private personnel discussions. General Cody has great respect for Major General Taguba as an officer, leader, and American patriot.”)

“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.”
Update 6/17: Steve Bates of The Yellow Doggerel Democrat notes that Seymour Hersh's interview with Blitzer is on Crooks and Liars.


Steve Bates said...

Crooks and Liars has a video of Wolf Blitzer interviewing Sy Hersh. Even Blitzer can't manage to spoil the impact. But I just read the New Yorker article... sorry, ellroon, I missed your link earlier... and my conclusion is that Rumsfeld should be in jail, at a minimum because he so clearly lied to Congress about who knew what, when.

I know it's probably fantasy, but I could see this truly unraveling and leading to impeachment. Yeah, I said it was fantasy.

ellroon said...

Thanks for the link, I'll post it. And the more we know, the worst it gets. When will impeachment be the only sensible choice? When the populace is marching on Washington D.C. with pitchforks and torches? Are they just trying to wait the crazy man out?

Will we survive as a nation until January 20, 2009?

Sandy-LA 90034 said...

Ellroon, I just commented over at Steve Bates place:

"4Legs Good at Plush Life had a post about Hersh On Taguba re Abu Ghraib and in the comments several of us were trying to find a catch-all phrase that could be used to puncture the arrogance of these turkeys.

I liked vicious and sadistic
Someone else mentioned criminals
and 4Legs said utterly without honor.

Put it together: The Bush Administration harbors people who are vicious, sadistic criminals, utterly without honor.

Taguba displayed the kind of honor these Bushies lack. Kudos to him.
Sandy-LA 90034 | 06.18.07 - 1:55 am | #"

I, too think impeachment is warranted in order to emphasize to the public the extreme measures the Bush Administration has taken with the Constitution and the constant lies that have come from the White House. At what point do we hold people accountable and try to regain the ground we've lost? How can we regain it if people aren't made aware of what the issues are?

Their arrogance and disregard for the rule of law has to have consequences. We can't just let them slide by. I've heard people say, we've just got to get beyond this and to do so we need to ignore and let go the idea of bringing charges of impeachment. For 6 years the Republicans refused to do any oversight and so much has occurred insidiously during those 6 years that someone has to be held accountable.

ellroon said...

Well said, sandy-la!

We need to have the evidence of ALL the Rovian manipulations and ALL the lies to be exposed to daylight. We need to start investigations with the small cogs who point fingers to the top. (We have enough already, but nothing is being done. I guess we need more.)

I don't know if we have enough time before Bush and Cheney go scuttling off to the woodwork again in January '09 to totally purge the national discourse of the neocons and the viability of the PNAC. We have to kill the neocons' agenda DEAD, expose its ugliness and imperialism, show the horrific results, the human suffering of such arrogance.

Will we have time? Will the Democrats show the will, the spine to continue the clean up after '09? If we don't, we will be looking at these vultures popping back up again in another few years.