26 July 2004

More systemic deception

According to The Washington Post (7/23), the Army's IG claims denies that there were systemic abuses in US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time, we are told that there were 20 deaths considered to be due to confirmed or possible abuse (The Washington Post, July 23rd). I figure that if there were 20 cases that we know about, there must be numerous cases that were off the books. Military personnel, after all, aren't idiots: they know enough to keep things off the records whenever they decide to take the law into their own hands. Clearly, the abuse is systemic and therefore requires more than tossing a few enlisted scapegoats in the pokey.

The Sun (7/26) quotes the following from pp. 38-39 of the IG report:

"In a high-stress, high-pressure combat environment, soldiers and subordinate leaders require clear, unabmiguous guidance well within established parameters that they did not have in the policies we reviewed."

And in another passage:

"Tolerance of behavior by any level of the chain of command, even if minor, led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of abuse."

Perhaps the IG needs to read its own report!

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