Wednesday, June 29, 2005

NYT: "Army Moves to Advance 2 Linked to Abu Ghraib" (Eric Schmitt)

The Pentagon has promoted or nominated for promotion two senior Army officers who oversaw or advised detention and interrogation operations in Iraq during the height of the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal.
The Army promoted Maj. Gen. Walter Wodjakowski, the former deputy commander of American forces in Iraq, earlier this month to be the head the Army's infantry training school at Fort Benning, Ga. It has also nominated Col. Marc Warren, the top military lawyer for the American command in Baghdad at the time, to be a one-star, or brigadier, general.
A third officer, Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, the former top intelligence officer in Iraq, took command earlier this year of the Army's intelligence center at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

The above is from Eric Schmitt's "Army Moves to Advance 2 Linked to Abu Ghraib" in this morning's New York Times. A tale of failing upward, apparently (reference to the response by the the government or, more to the point, the lack of response). Or maybe the administration, out of kindness which we're sure they have a plethora of, has just been sitting on the real story -- how Lyndie England secretly orchestrated every abuse in every prison, how unbeknownst to anyone she ran her own shadow training organization, The Lyndie England Torture and Abuse Center, training a series of "bad apples" (a series, but remember only "a few") on how to conduct themselves?

Accountability stops with England & the few bad apples, the rogue agents who acted independently. Even for those who are comfortable swallowing that simplistic notion, wasn't it the responsibility of those higher up to know what was going on down the chain of command?
Even if you can delude yourself that somehow England's actions echoed in other prisons, even predating her own actions in fact, how do you come to the conclusion that higher ups are no longer responsible for the actions of all under their command?

The three facing promotions have certainly demonstrated a lack of awareness while at their current posts. So the answer is to give them more authority when they couldn't handle the responsibilities they'd already been given?

Maybe they can fall back on Condi logic? "No one could have . . ." What? "Predicted?" "Known?" Well it was their job to provided supervision. Even those comfortable in the fantasy land of "it was a few bad apples" should have serious questions about the lack of accountability for those entrusted with supervision. Are they that divorced from reality? Or it just that we haven't seen any accountability in so long that we've forgotten what the concept?

As Ava and I noted in a TV review at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

A lot of talk is wasted on the "irony" of the show. Apparently the term didn't, in fact, die post-Sept. 11th; only the meaning did.

It appears the notion of accountability was another casuality of Sept. 11th.

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