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July 15, 2005

Gitmo, schmitmo.

[Update - welcome to visitors from Michelle Malkin's place (and any other place that's trackbacked I don't know about yet)! Feel free to click here and wander around the other rooms in the Castle. Rational discourse encouraged, even contrarian, but mindless poopflinging is ignored and summarily dumped in the toilet and flushed.]

Heh. I admit to being a little befuddled, but that's not unusual. I've been reading the report, referenced to me by Jack, who sent me to Pennywit. I freely admit, and have stated before in this space, that Abu Ghraib was bad. Now we have some indication that Graner and Co, perhaps didn't think everything up on their own... they might have been copycats, adding their own special touches of idiocy to what was going on. I also note that Abu Ghraib was manned by people a lot closer to the violence of Iraq (which can have a very desensitizing effect on people), and, as has already been noted, leadership failed there.

Directly, from the top down in terms of now-Colonel Karpinski and her officers, indirectly, for those in Karpinski's chain of command and up, in Iraq. And yes, indirectly, by the way we define command responsibility, up to the President. However, we don't hold the President, or a Commanding General, personally responsible for, say, a murder one of their soldiers commit. We *would* however, hold them responsible, as a Commander, should they have fostered a climate that implicitly suggested, or a reasonable person could conclude thereby, that the CG wouldn't mind terribly much if some people got hurt or killed.

As I said, for my money, based on what I've read, direct responsiblity (i.e., chargeable) stops with Karpinski regarding Abu Ghraib. I am disappointed that her case didn't go to the level of a trial - but we don't know what went on in negotiations over her Article 15 for shoplifting, either. Above Karpinski, there are several General Officer careers which were damaged or ruined, especially, if I read the tea leaves correctly, General Sanchez.

It is a matter of opinion, whether you think direct, culpable, chargeable blame should go higher. If the whole concept of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib makes you unhappy, then I suspect you are going to want to see Rumsfeld out of a job, and even in prison. And your attitude thereby is enhanced because of the seeming linkage between what was authorized at Gitmo vice what migrated to Abu Ghraib.

Did stuff migrate? Yes, that's what the report indicates. But I would submit that it is also the along the lines of "We authorize you to put the inmate on bread and water for one week" (Gitmo) where that authorization travels across the world to Abu Ghraib, and they report "Inmate placed on bread and water for one week," which is implemented with worm-ridden hardtack and water collected from the polluted stream behind the prison.

The two are not equivalent events, even if they have a common origin.

Don't get me wrong - I've stated in this space before we go too easy on Generals, and usually hide it when we are harsh with them, absent obvious common felony stuff, because the senior leaders are convinced that putting them on trial would be bad for morale, or, more likely, image. I disagree, and strongly, but then I never made it to General, so I obviously don't get it. That's as may be.

It doesn't bother me that we made inmates at Gitmo uncomfortable. And unhappy. And that we messed with their minds. And jerked them around a little culturally - after all, at the base of it all - there is a strong element of culture war here, whether we formally admit it or not. And I find the left's sympathy with poor detainees at Gitmo having a Koran mishandled or damaged, evoking outrage, when they pooh-pooh the Bible, mock christian believers, support aritists immersing crucifixes in urine, etc, as simply expressions of art. Yes, I do understand the difference between artists and agents of the government, thank you.

That just seems a little bit of opportunistic hypocrisy to advance a political agenda more than truly-motivated outrage.

I understand that if you find any form of interrogation more energetic than, "Please tell us what your plans are for killing more people, and would you like some coffee?" to be anathema, there *is* no justification, so frankly, I'd be surprised you are still reading this. And yes, I *do* understand that our standing abroad has been damaged by this. I'm just not moved by that - not just because I'm a redneck jingoist, but because I don't think much of the opinion we putatively need to sway would be swayed, anyway. The opprobrium would just shift to the next convenient target.

My view on this is: We had legal review of the policies and procedures (which doesn't mean all objections were sustained), and where they appear to have been violated, we have conducted investigations, and it is the fact of those investigations and the results therefrom, that the press and loyal opposition has been using to flog the administration, DoD, and the Services. Not that it wouldn't have come out anyway, but the fact is - the DoD has been self-policing on this issue - whether or not we like the outcomes of same in terms of senior leader scalps. And I don't. I'd like some more senior scalps on poles outside the White House. I wouldn't mind Rumsfeld's - but *NOT* over this.

Of course, the fact that we aren't just willy-nilly scalping senior leaders is also because they have some due-process protections... which we are apparently supposed to toss over for political considerations.

I agree with Ravenwood - Gitmo is Blutarsky of Delta House at a pledge party. I would add that Abu Ghraib is Niedermeyer of Omega House.

Update: The Army's official stance...


In June 2004, the FBI began an internal investigation to determine if any of its personnel had observed mistreatment or aggressive behavior toward detainees at Guantanamo.

The FBI’s Inspection Division emailed 493 personnel who had been assigned to GTMO, asking whether any had observed aggressive treatment. They received 434 total responses; 26 agents stated they had observed aggressive treatment. In response to allegations disclosed in December 2004 as a result of Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests, Gen. Bantz Craddock, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, ordered an investigation.

 The investigation found no evidence of torture or inhumane treatment at Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO).

 The investigation found only three interrogation acts in violation of interrogation techniques authorized by Army Field Manual 24-52 and DoD guidance.

 The investigation found the commander JTF-GTMO failed to monitor the interrogation of one high value detainee in late 2002. The interrogation of this same detainee resulted in degrading and abusive treatment, but did not rise to the level of being inhumane treatment.

 The investigation found that the communication of a threat to another high value detainee was in violation of Secretary of Defense guidance and the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.

 The investigation team determined the following acts were never authorized under any interrogation guidance: (a) two occasions where a detainee was “short shackled” to the eye-bolt on the floor in the interrogation room; (b) an instance when a duct tape was used to “quiet” a detainee; (c) and an instance when military interrogators threatened the subject of a special interrogation and his family.

 The investigation team determined some acts were initially not authorized under existing interrogation guidance, but later were authorized as an approved technique, including: adjusting air conditioners to make the detainees uncomfortable; moving detainees from cell to cell every few hours to disrupt sleep patterns and lower the ability to resist interrogation; the use of a military dog growling, barking and showing his teeth at a specific detainee; and the separation of a specific detainee in an isolation facility.

 The investigators also found no evidence of “ghost detainees.”

Detainee affairs website.

[Update - Wow! You made it all the way down here? Welcome to visitors from Michelle Malkin's place. Like I said above, feel free to click here and wander around the other rooms in the Castle. As I said above - rational discourse encouraged, even contrarian, but mindless poopflinging is ignored and summarily dumped in the toilet and flushed]