Friday, May 07, 2004

Rumsfeld on Capitol Hill

I watched several hours of the hearing on CNN.
A few of Donald Rumsfeld's top generals saw pictures of the Iraqi detainee abuse on a CD disk back in January.
Rumsfeld claimed not to have seen any of the photos on the CD until last night at 7:30 p.m.
Clearly, his generals knew the scandal was going to be a serious problem, yet they did not inform the Secretary of Defense? He had to hear about it on "60 Minutes"?
What kind of chain of command does the Rumsfeld-led military possess?

Rumsfeld continually made two statements:
1. There are more than 18,000 DoD cases currently being investigated for possible courts martial so it's virtually impossible for him to know the details of each of them.
2. Things have to change now that digital and video cameras exist.

As to #1:
When cases like the sexual abuse, sadistic torture and probable murder of Iraqi detainees are under investigation, they should move up the chain of command for adjudication immediately. Rumsfeld's statement made it seem like all cases get processed in order, regardless of the severity of the accusation, and that he should hear about them only after they are processed and adjudicated. If that's not what he meant, he should have communicated more clearly.
As to #2:
The presence of digital & video cameras available to document criminal activity perpetrated by members of the military shouldn't matter. Seems like Rumsfeld was complaining that the cameras are causing a problem because they make it too easy for the public to learn of the military's dirty little secrets. If that's not what he meant, he shouldn't have mentioned the cameras at all.

The commander who oversaw the detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad also allowed for officers including colonels on up to be called by their first names. Uniforms were not required. Saluting officers was not required.
The Brigade General who commanded the unit that allowed this lapse of protocol and discipline was relieved of duty, as well she should have been.
She blames Army Intelligence (AI) for mismanagement of the prison.
Why was AI tasked with performing Army MP duties? That is blatantly against Army regulations.
Her superior officer is responsible for her lapse in performing her duties and for allowing AI to run things, if they were. He should be relieved of that command.
His superior officer allowed him to be negligent in supervising that command. He should be relieved of his command.
And up, up and up until changes are made, because a snake rots from the head.

Today, Rumsfeld said, "These events occurred on my watch. As secretary of defense, I am accountable for them and I take full responsibility."

If he truly means it, he is admitting that he is responsible for human rights violations that caused America international disgrace and will cause untold new peril for soldiers stationed all over the Middle East- particularly GI prisoners.
He also admitted there are more photos and more videos out there yet to surface in the media- showing rape, torture, sodomy and quite possibly even murder done by Americans to these Iraqi detainees.

When asked, he arrogantly said calls for him to resign are political.

Not this time.
He admitted he was responsible for a scandal that will take decades for America to live down.
He failed to create an environment that would not allow for atrocities like these to occur. He failed to tell his generals the consequences of such a scandal, so they didn't watch their underlings like, uhh, hawks.
He has failed to perform his duty.

He needs to resign, or be fired.

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