6 May 2004

reading the Taguba report

Let's start with the isolated abuses issue. Major-General Taguba writes under the heading Assessment of DoD Counter-Terrorism Interrogation and Detention Operations Iraq (MG Miller's Assessment)

2.With respect to interrogation, MG Miller's Team recommended that CJTF-7 dedicate and train a detention guard force subordinate to the Joint Interrogation Debriefing Center (JIDC) Commander that 'sets the conditions for the successful interrogation and exploitation of internees/detainees.' Regarding Detention Operations, MG Miller's team stated that the function of Detention Operations is to provide a safe, secure, and humane environment that supports the expeditious collection of intelligence. However, it also stated
'it is essential that the guard force be actively engaged in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of the internees.' (ANNEX 20)

According to US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Myers:

MYERS: Well, it's like I say, it's working its way up the chain to me. I have not seen the report. Although, I take a very direct � I'm very directly involved in making sure that there is not a systemic issue here. That is something that we try to push. And Secretary Wolfowitz, Secretary Rumsfeld, we've all pushed this to make sure we don't have a systemic problem.

In Myers' defence, he had not read Taguba at the time of the interview.

According to US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld:

It's, I guess the way to put it is that the department has been aware of it since it was first noticed, and up the chain of command we're told that there were investigations into alleged abuses as long ago as last Jan. 16. It takes time for reports to be finished -- correction: to be gathered. This is a very comprehensive report. I mean, the fact of the matter is that this is a serious problem. And it's something that the department is addressing.

The system works. The system works. There were some allegations of abuse in a detention facility in Iraq. It was reported in the chain of command. Immediately it was announced to the public. Immediately an investigation was initiated. Six separate investigations have been undertaken over a period of months since January.

In Rumsfeld's defence he had only read Taguba's executive summary at the time of the interview.

But why had neither of them read the report? How slow can a decisional loop be?

So, we had a US Army recommendation to encourage guards to soften up prisoners. Prisoners were softened up. Some died. One was raped. But of course the Miller recommendation was never put into action.

There's a bridge in Sydney I want to sell these people. Plus Tasmania. But I digress. The real question is what action, part from waiting for the memo, did Myers and Rumsfeld take to ensure the abuse stopped on 16 January when they learnt of it? More later.

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