Wednesday, July 14

While Rome Burned......

In this upcoming article in the next issue of US News & World Report on the Taguba Report documenting the abuses at Abu Ghraib we discover that the place was a disaster.
The abuses took place, the files show, in a chaotic and dangerous environment made even more so by the constant pressure from Washington to squeeze intelligence from detainees. Riots, prisoner escapes, shootings, corrupt Iraqi guards, unsanitary conditions, rampant sexual misbehavior, bug-infested food, prisoner beatings and humiliations, and almost-daily mortar shellings from Iraqi insurgents--according to the annex to General Taguba's report, that pretty much sums up life at Abu Ghraib.
Now imagine for a minute that you are in charge of the country and that you have taken it to war on false pretense, well you hope that the pretense isn't false, but deep down You know. Now it is October and the insurgency that is spiriling out of control, is beginning to make this adventure-how shall we say-not so rosey. You need information and you need it now 'cause just six months ago you were astride an aircraft carrier (like a colossus) announcing to the world that your mission was accomplished. You know that your only hope is to root out all of those "dead enders" that your Secretary of War keeps talking about. Because you have taken it as an article of faith that this isn't a full blown insurgency. Just a few terrorists and Baathist thugs, and once you convince some of these folks you have locked up in prison to tell you where the bad guys are, everything will be fine. You have entered the Twilight Zone.
Weak leadership in the prison meant soldiers couldn't accomplish basic tasks, like feeding their detainees. Without a clear chain of command, especially after Sanchez informed Karpinski that military intelligence authorities would assume responsibility for running a key area of Abu Ghraib where Iraqis were detained for interrogation, some soldiers just ran wild. "One of the tower guards was shooting prisoners with lead balls and a slingshot," a company commander testified. Karpinski, in her interview with Taguba, said some soldiers likened the place to "the wild, wild West." Soldiers ran around in civilian clothes and covered latrines with so much graffiti a commander had them painted black. An Army captain photographed female subordinates showering in outside stalls while private contractors smuggled beer into the prison.
It would be difficult at best to make this stuff up. If you are so inclined theres lots more where this came from at the link above. Six pages more. Can I have my country back, pretty please.