How General Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties. Whether the President was told about Abu Ghraib in January (when e-mails informed the Pentagon of the seriousness of the abuses and of the existence of photographs) or in March (when Taguba filed his report), Bush made no known effort to forcefully address the treatment of prisoners before the scandal became public, or to reëvaluate the training of military police and interrogators, or the practices of the task forces that he had authorized. Instead, Bush acquiesced in the prosecution of a few lower-level soldiers. The President’s failure to act decisively resonated through the military chain of command: aggressive prosecution of crimes against detainees was not conducive to a successful career.
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.”
posted by caddis
on Jun 16, 2007 -
"The Blessings-of-Civilization Trust,
wisely and cautiously administered, is a Daisy
. There is more money
in it, more territory
, more sovereignty
, and other kinds of emolument, than there is in any other game that is played. But Christendom has been playing it badly of late years, and must certainly suffer by it, in my opinion. She has been so eager to get every stake that appeared on the green cloth, that the People who Sit in Darkness
have noticed it – they have noticed it, and have begun to show alarm
. They have become suspicious of the Blessings of Civilization."
posted by homunculus
on Jun 13, 2007 -
Memorial Day orators
will say that a G.I.'s life is priceless. Don't believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier's life: I've been handed the check. It's roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.
posted by geos
on May 28, 2007 -
This opinion piece
in Prospect magazine argues that perhaps the importance of the problems in the Middle East are overblown. Interesting read.
posted by zeoslap
on May 17, 2007 -
...In March 1991, a few days after the end of the gulf war, American soldiers exploded two large caches of ammunition and missiles in Khamisiyah, Iraq. Some of the missiles contained the dangerous nerve gases sarin and cyclosarin. Based on wind patterns and the size of the plume, the Department of Defense has estimated that more than 100,000 American troops may have been exposed to at least small amounts of the gases. When the roughly 700,000 deployed troops returned home, about one in seven began experiencing a mysterious set of ailments, often called gulf war illnesses, with problems including persistent fatigue, chronic headaches, joint pain and nausea. Those symptoms persist today for more than 150,000 of them, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than the number of troops exposed to the gases.Gas May Have Harmed Troops, Scientists Say
posted by y2karl
on May 17, 2007 -
[news filter]Iraq veteran wins blog prize
"The timing of the award is almost as striking as the writing which it honours. A former American machine gunner's memoir of a year's tour of duty in Iraq based on his blog has just won a major accolade at precisely the moment when the US military high command is clamping down on blogs among the rank and file."
posted by Postroad
on May 15, 2007 -
It began with
an innocent-looking Valentine's Day card in 2005.
Inside the card were several slips of paper, a hastily cut-up printout of names of 550 secret detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The human rights lawyer who received "this weird valentine" handed it over to authorities, and this week the court martial begins for JAG LtCmdr Matthew Diaz, facing 36 years for divulging state secrets.
Whither goest thou, American Jurisprudence
posted by planetkyoto
on May 15, 2007 -
"On May 10th, 2007, this video was banned in Congress" - Filmmaker, Robert Greenwald, wanted to show a four minute clip of his film when testifying to Congress, but Republicans disallowed it. This is the clip
from his excellent movie now available on Google Video, Iraq for Sale
posted by nickyskye
on May 13, 2007 -
War vs. Democracy: Untold Stories from the Lynch / Tillman Hearing
-- ...U.S. soldiers whose injuries or deaths remain mired in secrecy. Pat Tillman's brother and fellow Army Ranger Kevin Tillman advocated strongly for other families still waiting for answers. ... "The family was told, it was -- quote -- 'an ambush by insurgents.' Two years later, they found out that those -- quote -- 'insurgents' happened to be the same Iraqi troops that he was training. Before his death, he told his chain of command that these same troops that he was training were trying to kill him and his team. He was told to keep his mouth shut." ...
Thorough and eye-opening examination of the many ways the military spun, lied, withheld information on soldier deaths and injuries for propaganda purposes (and even delayed action until cameras were present in the Jessica Lynch
posted by amberglow
on May 12, 2007 -
"The story of how high officials misled the country has been told. But they couldn't have done it on their own; they needed a compliant press, to pass on their propaganda as news and cheer them on."
Bill Moyers returned to PBS last night with this documentary
) examining the mainstream media's role in the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq.
posted by ibmcginty
on Apr 26, 2007 -
analyzes the current confrontation between the White House and Congress over continued funding for the Iraq war. Under Nancy Pelosi's leadership, Congress has reached an agreement
to pass a bill which approves $124 billion in funding for the war, but sets a timetable for withdrawal. Following the passage of the Senate bill in March, Bush gave a more-than-normally petulant speech against the Democratic proposals—prompting Pelosi, like a mother scolding a teenager, to urge Bush to "calm down with the threats" and to "take a deep breath." This was the first public suggestion by a prominent elected figure that the President lacks maturity—a widely held view in Washington.
posted by russilwvong
on Apr 24, 2007 -
- a flipbook style video of thousands of pictures taken in Kurdish dominated northern Iraq by photojournalist Ed Kashi.
posted by Burhanistan
on Apr 19, 2007 -
You'll go by the phone kiosk and you'll hear young men having these very strange, almost surreal arguments or discussions with their wives over something like, "Hey the garage is leaking, how do we fix that?" And what she maybe doesn't understand is, maybe that guy just got ambushed, like half an hour ago, and he's shaking from the adrenaline, and he's just calling her just to hear a familiar voice, and she's like, "We gotta get the sprinklers fixed." And he's like, "Oh, OK ... . I love you." He just wants to get back to the ground. And that's what makes me angry, is what all of this is doing to these very young families. It just makes me mad. It makes anybody mad.
, interviewed in TNR (reg required, free)
on his frequent USO visits to Afghanistan and Iraq.
posted by Ethereal Bligh
on Apr 13, 2007 -
Iranian envoy wounds 'confirmed':
The head of the International Red Cross in Tehran, Peter Stoeker, says he saw wounds on an Iranian diplomat who has alleged that US forces in Iraq tortured him. There were marks on Jalal Sharafi's feet, legs, back and nose. [photos
On 4 February soldiers from the Iraqi army 36th Commando battalion in Baghdad, considered to be under American control, had seized Jalal Sharafi, while he was carrying a videogame
, a gift for his daughter. Read more about the US secret operations against Iranians in Iraq in an exclusive report
by The Independent.
posted by hoder
on Apr 11, 2007 -
Detainees are confined for 22 hours a day to individual, enclosed, steel cells where they are almost completely cut off from human contact. The cells have no windows to the outside or access to natural light or fresh air. No activities are provided, and detainees are subjected to 24 hour lighting and constant observation by guards through the narrow windows in the cell doors. They exercise alone in a high-walled yard where little sunlight filters through; detainees are often only offered exercise at night and may not see daylight for days at a time... It appears that around 80 per cent of the approximately 385 men currently held at Guantánamo are in isolation – a reversal of earlier moves to ease conditions and allow more socialising among detainees. Cruel and Inhuman: Conditions of isolation for detainees at Guantánamo Bay Red Cross chief raises Guantánamo issue in D.C.Guantánamo follies
posted by y2karl
on Apr 8, 2007 -
How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits:
His deafness, memory problems and depression caused were not caused by a rocket attack he survived in Ramadi, but by a pre-existing personality disorder. Well, according to the Army medical staff, that is. (via
posted by knave
on Apr 4, 2007 -