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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

 
Group puts final blame on top Defense officials, but its chairman says 'America's enemies' would benefit if Rumsfeld resigned.

The panel said the failures generally were caused by officers' deciding to adopt interrogation practices used at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and taking them much further than they should have, especially at overcrowded Abu Ghraib, where the Army was never fully in control.

"There was chaos at Abu Ghraib," Schlesinger said at a news conference at the Pentagon that was called to release the report, one of several investigations launched after photographs of prisoner abuse surfaced last spring, stunning the world.

Though Schlesinger said the interrogators and prison guards were "directly responsible" for the abuse, the report, for the first time, directly blames senior Defense Department management for problems at Abu Ghraib.

The panel faulted top generals, including Sanchez, for misinterpreting higher orders and issuing a series of contradictory and confusing interrogation policies. And it criticized Rumsfeld for failing to adequately assemble legal and military experts to set interrogation parameters early in the Iraq occupation.

It also traced confusion over interrogation policies to a 2002 memo issued by President Bush that said Geneva Convention protections did not apply to Taliban and Al Qaeda suspects in custody. The panel said the memo led Sanchez to believe that "additional, tougher measures were warranted" in Iraq.

In addition, the investigators criticized senior military leaders for failing to anticipate the insurgency in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was toppled. When the resistance accelerated in the summer of 2003 and the prison population soared, commanders did little to adequately train or beef up security and intelligence operations at Abu Ghraib.

Rather, Schlesinger said, senior civilian and military leaders based their planning on what happened after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Kuwait was liberated from Iraq and no prolonged resistance followed.

"They did look at history books," Schlesinger said. "Unfortunately, it was the wrong history."

The abuse scandal, Schlesinger noted, has had a "chilling effect on interrogation operations." U.S. agencies are getting far less intelligence because interrogators are fearful about the consequences of pushing detainees to talk, he said.

But he stopped well short of calling for Rumsfeld's removal, saying it "would be a boon to all of America's enemies, and consequently I think it would be a misfortune if it were to take place." Schlesinger said that although commanders were not "focused" on detention operations, "we do not think it was a sufficient error to call for senior resignations."


That's an interesting interpretation of the old "we don't give in to terrorists" trope. In this case we can't fire an obviously incompetent official because our enemies would supposedly be pleased.

Meanwhile all this blather is seen by a billion Muslims as total crap:

Bush said the United States will move forward as other democracies have when mistakes are made. "Those mistakes will be investigated, and people will be brought to justice," he said. "We're an open society. We're a society that is willing to investigate, fully investigate, in this case, what took place in that prison."

The president said that the United States will punish those found guilty of abuse. "That stands in stark contrast to life under Saddam Hussein," he said. "His trained torturers were never brought to justice under his regime. There were no investigations about mistreatment of people. There will be investigations. People will be brought to justice."


All crap.





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