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February 14, 2005

Abu Ghraib.

The wheels of justice grind slowly on.

I've still not seen enough on the damage taken by more senior people, and, because it will most likely be handled as 'personnel matters,' protected from FOIA requests, we'll only be able to infer it from the *lack* of subsequent careers.

Of course, scantily-clad female interrogators are a far more interesting story - I'm guessing now-Private Davis will miss being rubbed up against by scantily clad women for the next six months, and now-Private Krol for ten.

I'm still looking for officer hides. The following info is from he article linked above, which is on the Army's public website - just thought you should know that. Added emphasis is mine.

Compared with former Spc. Charles Graner Jr.'s defense during his court-martial at Fort Hood in January (that military intelligence was in charge and responsible), Davis' contention was the environment and atmosphere at the prison contributed to his actions.

Former Army Sgt. Kenneth Davis described Abu Ghraib to Bergrin and the panel, saying, "It was hell on earth."

One defense witness, Maj. David DiNenna, operations officer, 11th MP Brigade, who was stationed at Abu Ghraib from July 2003 to February 2004 said, "The conditions there (Abu Ghraib) were deplorable. It was always challenging."

Bergrin also had two expert witnesses, one an expert on the various forces and influences leading to violence, testify about what transpired at Abu Ghraib after reviewing official reports.

"Iraqis showed ingratitude while American Soldiers were sacrificing their lives, this devalued the lives of the Iraqi prisoners," Dr. Ervin Staub, professor of Psychology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said.

Both experts cited a famous Stanford study from the 1970s and drew parallels between that study and how the lawlessness and horrendous conditions at Abu Ghraib set up the potential for prisoner abuse by Soldiers as the atmosphere deteriorated sociologically and psychologically.

"The environment was a kind of anything goes attitude,"

Staub said. "Supervision is crucial in this environment. Rules don't mean very much if you don't enforce them.

"There was tremendous social disorganization at Abu Ghraib," Dr. Stjepan Mestrovic, functional sociologist, professor of Sociology, Texas A&M University. "According to the reports, MI was not sure what MPs could do and vice versa."

Davis made an un-sworn statement before the panel. He described Abu Ghraib as something akin to the "Mad Max" movie come to life.

"There were more detainees than MPs," Davis said. "We were trying to help people and they're trying to kill us.

All the above still leaves me asking the question - when is the *leadership* of the 11th MP Brigade (and higher, if need be) going to be called to public account - not just as witnesses... but sitting in the dock, to defend their actions (more importantly, their lack thereof?)

Of course, we have to recognize that what seems obvious in reportage is not the same thing as sufficient to prosecute. And that a prosecution that ended in acquittal would possibly be more damaging in the battle of opinion than seemingly doing nothing.

But it's frustrating to not see any rank above Sergeant going through this process.