Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Star of Abu Ghraib 

speakingcorpse writes:

I write the following just in case you AmCoppers haven't had a chance to follow all the details of the Iraqi prison scandal. I know it's hard to follow it closely, given that the details are so traumatic for our nation, for our sense of ourselves as participating citizens in the world's greatest democracy. (And it seems it was traumatic, too, for our Iraqi students in the ways of democracy; we still have so much to teach them.)

Anyway, this article neatly states what is at issue in the current controversy. The Brigadier General who commanded the prison explains that she was told that she had to place members of her military police unit under the command of military intelligence. This was ordered by General Miller, Gitmo impresario and now (surprise, surprise!) the man who is supposed to "clean up" the prison at Abu Ghraib. (Gen. Miller does seem to be a very clean man himself. I bet his asshole is very clean.)

Anyway, the military police Brigadier General (Karpinski) protested repeatedly that this transfer of command was a bad idea. Major General Taguba, the endearing small Asian investigator, essentially corroborates her story. He said yesterday under oath that Karpinski "challenged" Miller's command to give her MP's over to the control of intelligence. And he notes in his report that such a command was contrary to military doctrine and was the enabling condition of the abuse.

Dr. Stephen Cambone (an Italian American who holds the same advanced degree as the African-American national security adviser Condoleezza Rice) was sent to Capitol Hill yesterday to testify, along with the soft-voiced General Taguba. The Doctor was not called to testify by anyone in Congress. He was sent by the White House for one reason only: to try to undercut General Taguba's claims about who ordered that the MP's be placed under the control of military intelligence. Of course, the Doctor couldn't contradict Taguba without lying, so he was reduced to making lame claims about the MP's and the MI officers being told to "work together."

Let's just be clear about what this means. The untrained MP's, scared shitless by having to work in an overcrowded prison that had already nearly been overrun several times by rebellious prisoners, were told that they HAD to work with the interrogation "experts" from MI. They were told that the prisoners were the worst terrorists (with "American Blood" on their hands, as Senator James Inhofe put it yesterday), even though the prisoners were mostly miscellaneously detained civilians. The MI people must have said something like this to the MP's: "We've got to get information out of these terrorists to prevent them from killing more of your comrades. It's hard to get information from Arabs, but we are experts. Many of us have been trained by those expert "Arabists," veterans of the Israeli Defense Forces. So we know what we're doing. And even if what we suggest sounds strange, remember, you HAVE to work with us. That's what your commanding officer was told. So let's get down to business."

Which they did, the MI's and the MP's, some of them with great alacrity. In the case of Pfc. England, it seems as if a long-suppressed talent was suddenly made recognizable. And as the pictures make clear, she was delighted to discover that she was born to do the important work of extracting the special information that only Arabs can conceal. And the very FACT of the pictures reveals also that her talents delighted her colleagues and superiors. She was the star of Abu Ghraib.


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