11 July 2004

U.S. News obtains all classified annexes to the Taguba report on Abu Ghraib

Among the more shocking exchanges revealed in the Taguba classified annexes are a series of E-mails sent by Major David Dinenna of the 320th MP Battalion. The E-mails, sent in October and November to Major William Green of the 800th MP Brigade, and copied to the higher chain of command, show a quixotic attempt to simply get the detainees at Abu Graib edible food. Dinenna pressed repeatedly for food that wouldnt make prisoners vomit. He criticized the private food contractor for shorting the facility on hundreds of meals a day, and for providing food containing bugs, rats, and dirt.

"As each day goes by tension within the prison population increases," Dinenna wrote. "...Simple fixes, food, would help tremendously." Instead of getting help, Major Green scolded him. "Who is making the charges that there is dirt, bugs or what ever in the food?," Major Green replied in an E-mail. "If it is the prisoners I would take it with a grain of salt." Dinenna shot back: "Our MPs, Medics and field surgeon can easily identify bugs, rats, and dirt, and they did." Ultimately, the food contract was not renewed, an Army spokeswoman says, although the contractor holds other contracts with the military.

Interesting that the upper reaches of the US military command were just not interested in anything more than making a problem go away by ignoring it. It's also interesting that, for all the scare stories about the need for intelligence justifying anything and everything, Taguba found so many prisoners were simply never interrogated and political pressure from Washington for actionable intelligence was driving the chaos and violence at Abu Ghraib.

It's almost as though this one prison served as a metaphor for the whole of Iraq.

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