Monday, August 30, 2004


There must be no whitewash at the Whitehouse

Continuing this stunning flurry of high-quality blogging, I direct you to a short but good Washington Post column (via The Washington Monthly, which will no doubt be relieved that DC here observes blogging etiquette by linking to it) on the Abu Ghraib reports:
How Torture Came Down From the Top.

As I say it's short, so read it. But I will still excerpt:

"The causal chain is all there: from Bush's February 2002 decision to Rumsfeld's December 2002 authorization of nudity, stress positions and dogs; to the adoption of those methods in Afghanistan and their sanction in Iraq by a commander looking back to Bush's decision; and finally, to their use on detainees by soldiers who reasonably believed they were executing official policy.

So why do the reports' authors deny the role of policy, or its makers? Partly because of the Army's inbred inability to indict its own; partly because of the desire of Rumsfeld's old colleagues, such as Schlesinger, to protect him. But there's another motive, too: a lingering will to defend and preserve the groundbreaking decisions -- those that set aside the Geneva Conventions and allowed harsh interrogation techniques. Schlesinger argues they are needed for the war on terrorism; he and senior Army commanders say they are worried about a "chilling effect" on interrogations and a slackening in intelligence collection"

As for DC's view? In a sense, on this question, all one needs to ask oneself is this: has there been over the last couple of years or so (is there even now?) any very serious concern at the highest levels of the Bush Administration that torture should not happen on its watch? I suggest not.

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