Friday, July 29, 2005

Betrayal and Perjury

Friday's Washington Post has an editorial that is a modest step toward making the Post a responsible paper again. The Truth About Abu Ghraib lays out the case that the Abu Ghraib abuses were indeed orchestrated from the top of the Bush administration and expecially that Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller perjured himself in testimony before Congress and betrayed the soldiers that it was his duty to lead.

FOR 15 MONTHS now the Bush administration has insisted that the horrific photographs of abuse from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were the result of freelance behavior by low-level personnel and had nothing to do with its policies. In this the White House has been enthusiastically supported by the Army brass, which has conducted investigations documenting hundreds of cases of prisoner mistreatment in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but denies that any of its senior officers are culpable. For some time these implacable positions have been glaringly at odds with the known facts. In the past few days, those facts have grown harder to ignore.
The evidence has arisen from the investigations and from testimony at the trials of the low level enlistees designated to take the fall.
On Wednesday, the former warden of Abu Ghraib, Maj. David DiNenna, testified that the use of dogs for interrogation was recommended by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the former commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison who was dispatched by the Pentagon to Abu Ghraib in August 2003 to review the handling and interrogation of prisoners. On Tuesday, a military interrogator testified that he had been trained in using dogs by a team sent to Iraq by Gen. Miller.


In statements to investigators and in sworn testimony to Congress last year, Gen. Miller denied that he recommended the use of dogs for interrogation, or that they had been used at Guantanamo.
It's clear that the objectional tactics (AKA war crimes) were based on policies approved by Rumsfeld and implemented throughout the military prison camps.
The court evidence strongly suggests that Gen. Miller lied about his actions, and it merits further investigation by prosecutors and Congress. But the Guantanamo commander was not acting on his own: The interrogation of Mr. Qahtani, investigators found, was carried out under rules approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Dec. 2, 2002. After strong protests from military lawyers, the Rumsfeld standards -- which explicitly allowed nudity, the use of dogs and shackling -- were revised in April 2003. Yet the same practices were later adopted at Abu Ghraib, at least in part at the direct instigation of Gen. Miller. "We understood," Maj. DiNenna testified, "that [Gen. Miller] was sent over by the secretary of defense."
The Pentagon has conducted a series of investigations which always exonerate senior officers despite producing ever expanding evidence of high level culpability. The Republican controlled Congress has covered its eyes and held its nose to avoid seeing evil.

It's unsurprising that the military has steadfastly refused to pursue Miller's apparent perjury. After all, an officer who would sell out the men he was sworn to lead to save his own skin would hardly quail at giving up his superiors if push came to shove.