So, the Army has issued it's final word and declared that only one Army officer is culpable in the abuse at Abu Ghraib - Gen. Karpinski who was in charge of the prisons in Iraq. Another twelve officers were absolved. If you're tired of the whole detainee abuse discussion and want to accept the Army's findings, you'll have to engage in some mental gymnastics.
- Forget General Miller's declaration that it was time to "gitmo-ize" Abu Ghraib.
- Forget Gen. Sanchez's approval of carte blanche use of dogs and other extreme methods in prisoner interrogation. (Fay Report)
- Forget the failure to apply the military standard of holding commanders accountable for the actions or inaction of the units they command. (Schlesinger Report)
- Forget Gen. Sanchez's failure to make sure his staff was addressing problems at Abu Ghraib. (Schlesinger Report)
- Forget the failure of Maj. Gen. Wojdakowski to respond in a timely manner to urgent requests up the chain of command for more troops at Abu Ghraib, which was severely under-resourced. (Schlesigner Report)
- Forget the one month delay by Col. Warren in reporting to his boss the prisoner abuse that the Red Cross witnessed and reported. (Schlesinger Report)
- Forget the failure of Gen. Fast to direct Gen. Sanchez adequately on appropriate interrogation methods. (Schlesinger Report)
- Forget the possible perjury of Gen. Sanchez, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee (under oath) that there was no system for tracking ghost detainees at Abu Ghraib, a statement he later corrected.
- Forget Rumsfeld's admission that he authorized the military to hide a prisoner from the Red Cross, contravening the Geneva Conventions.
- Forget the Department of Justice memos that defined torture so narrowly as to make most torturous actions legal.
- Forget the failure of "senior American officials" to establish clear interrogation policies. (Church Report)
Forget what you learned in the reports released to date and in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings. Because despite the fact that the information in the Fay, Schlesigner, and Church reports seems to implicate higher level officers, the reports specifically absolve the officers. They draw a fine line between responsibility and accountability or culpability and say that while the officers might be responsible, that doesn't mean they're culpable or that we should make them accountable.. So, you see, you really can forget what was reported in the past.
Forget it and embrace the official position: the only Army folks responsible, er, um, I mean accountable for the abuse at Abu Ghraib are a handful of grunts. That's it. Of course, military intelligence isn't off the hook yet. Two officers may face charges. These are the officers that Gen.Sanchez, against standard military operating procedures, put in charge of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Yep, the same Gen. Sanchez who has been absolved of all culpability.