Sunday, October 02, 2005

Leadership Failure

Before diving into the story of Captain Fishback any further, let's also take note of the Human Rights Watch report that broke Fishback's allegations: Leadership Failure, Firsthand Accounts of Torture of Iraqi Detainees by the U.S. ArmyƂ’s 82nd Airborne Division. HWR's press release accompanying the report can be found here: New Accounts of Torture by U.S. Troops, Soldiers Say Failures by Command Led to Abuse.

I wont pretend to have read the full report. But I did cut to the conclusion to find this stinger:

... As we have reported elsewhere, there is increasing evidence that high-ranking U.S. civilian and military leaders made decisions and issued policies that facilitated serious and widespread violations of the law. The circumstances strongly suggest that they either knew or should have known that such violations took place as a result of their actions. There is also mounting information that, when presented with evidence that abuse was in fact occurring, they failed to act to stop it.

Human Rights Watch reiterates its call for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate any U.S. officials — no matter their rank or position — who participated in, ordered, or had command responsibility for war crimes or torture, or other prohibited ill-treatment against detainees in U.S. custody.

Hell will freeze over (or maybe Antarctica will melt away?) before Bush endures a single independent prosecutor or special counsel. So you can bet that someone will walk the plank over this — just as soon as Fishback is broken and the two sergeants weeded out. Short of a public outrage, there will be no serious examination of the chain of command here. But really, as with Katrina, how hard can it be to accept the need for an independent,unfetteredd, thorough investigation?

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