May 8th, 2004

the taguba report

Here's the Taguba report on the abuses at Abu Ghraib. All the content relating to specific abuses has already been reported in the press, but it's interesting to read the other findings in the report, which paint a picture of severe incompetence throughout the MP command chain. It belies the notion that the abuses were just the product of a few crazy kids.

Another interesting note is that Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who replaced the previous commander of Abu Ghraib after the incidents became publicly known, had issued an earlier report recommending that the MPs at Abu Ghraib become "actively engaged in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of internees." Taguba criticized this recommendation, saying that allowing guards to "set the conditions" for the interrogations would "clearly run counter to the smooth operation of a detention facility." But they decided to put Miller in charge anyway, and he defends his recommendation. More in this article.

on the other hand

Maybe we should just blame society:

Lynndie England, 21, a rail worker's daughter, comes from a trailer park in Fort Ashby, West Virginia, which locals proudly call "a backwoods world".

She faces a court martial, but at home she is toasted as a hero.

At the dingy Corner Club Saloon they think she has done nothing wrong.

"A lot of people here think they ought to just blow up the whole of Iraq," Colleen Kesner said.

"To the country boys here, if you're a different nationality, a different race, you're sub-human. That's the way girls like Lynndie are raised.

"Tormenting Iraqis, in her mind, would be no different from shooting a turkey. Every season here you're hunting something. Over there, they're hunting Iraqis."