Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ex-Abu Ghraib Interrogator : Abuse Was US Policy

The "few bad apples" theory takes another hit. It came from above, and (still no excuse) GIs WERE, in fact, "just following orders."
A former US Army interrogator at Abu Ghraib prison yesterday described using dogs to terrify Iraqi inmates, and suggested that such methods were approved by top-ranking military officers.
Anthony Lagouranis, a former interrogator at Abu Ghraib, made his remarks in the New York Times in the run-up to the court-martial of two former guards at the notorious prison, Sergeant Santos Cardona and Sergeant Michael Smith, some of those supposed "bad apples" we've been hearing about.

"Cardona and Smith have been accused of sick and sadistic behaviour," he wrote. "But they almost certainly acted believing they were following legal orders."

In the military, Lagouranis said, orders are orders unless there is clear, uncluttered law transmitted from far above an immediate superior's rank and station.

"Instead of a clear message prohibiting torture, our top commanders
gave us a deliberate muddying of the waters," he said.

Who, if not bad apples, is responsible?

The article was particularly scathing about Major General Geoffrey Miller, a former prison commander in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who invoked his right not to incriminate himself in refusing to answer questions in the case of Cardona and Smith.

"He's decided to protect himself," Lagouranis said. "Apparently happy to let two dog handlers take the fall — a stunning betrayal of his subordinates and army values."

Miller advised officers at Abu Ghraib on how to "Gitmo-ize" the Iraqi prison in August and September of 2003, and harsher tactics used on prisoners at Guantanamo may have migrated to the Iraqi facility as a result.

Miller was hand-picked by Donald Rumsfeld to bring the same abusive (and unproductive) tactics already in use at Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib.

So, who is responsible? Well, the soldiers themselves. No question. You don't just "follow orders" that are objectively evil. Their commanders, up the chain to Geoffrey Miller. Donald Rumsfeld, who believes in the use of torture as a productive way to get "intelligence." Alberto Gonzales, who wrote memos, as George W. Bush's chief counsel, justifying the use of torture and heaping scorn on the Geneva Conventions. And, of course, the President himself, who will no doubt claim not to have had "situational awareness."

For that alone he should be impeached.

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