Everybody read the New Yorker article? Good...
I wanted to believe that the incidents at Abu Ghraib were isolated ones - that perhaps they were simply the result of misguided and inexperienced military personnel playing to their own personal sadistic tendencies. Now I'm thinking that this is what was expected of them by the chain of command, which leads directly to Donald Rumsfeld. Here are two paragraphs from the New Yorker article that were red flags for me:
The solution, endorsed by Rumsfeld and carried out by Stephen Cambone, was to get tough with those Iraqis in the Army prison system who were suspected of being insurgents. A key player was Major General Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the detention and interrogation center at GuantÃ¡namo, who had been summoned to Baghdad in late August to review prison interrogation procedures. The internal Army report on the abuse charges, written by Major General Antonio Taguba in February, revealed that Miller urged that the commanders in Baghdad change policy and place military intelligence in charge of the prison. The report quoted Miller as recommending that â€œdetention operations must act as an enabler for interrogation.â€
Millerâ€™s concept, as it emerged in recent Senate hearings, was to â€œGitmoizeâ€ the prison system in Iraqâ€”to make it more focussed on interrogation. He also briefed military commanders in Iraq on the interrogation methods used in Cubaâ€”methods that could, with special approval, include sleep deprivation, exposure to extremes of cold and heat, and placing prisoners in â€œstress positionsâ€ for agonizing lengths of time.
My last post about this situation drew parallels between Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. I simply couldn't believe that the administration would want to set two separate standards for detainees at these two distinct facilities. When the administration can essentially deal with the Gitmo detainees in a lawless fashion and use torture as a tactic to gain information, why wouldn't they want the same thing for Abu Ghraib, where any intelligence gleaned would be immediately actionable?
So maybe what we're looking at here is a concerted effort on the part of Rumsfeld and the Department of Defense to extend the lawlessness and state of legal limbo of the prisoners at Guantanamo to other places where we're embroiled in conflict. Can someone please tell me why we bother to even make mention of the Geneva Conventions if the administration can continue to set up these concentration camps wherever they want, whenever they want?
Rumsfeld knew. This whole thing has been designed to create an environment in which the administration can have concentration camps where anyone who appears remotely suspicious can be detained indefinitely and be tortured to obtain information, regardless of guilt or innocence.
How far does this administration need to go before we make it known, as a nation, that we won't stand for concentration camps and lawlessness?