Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"Guantanamo Reprimand Was Sought, an Aide Says" (David S. Cloud)

A high-level military investigation into accusations of abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, recommended a reprimand for the former commander of the prison, but his superior declined to admonish him, said a Congressional aide who has read a report on the inquiry.
Investigators found that Maj. Gen. Geoffrey C. Miller, who was in charge of Guantanamo in 2002 and 2003, failed to oversee the interrogation of a so-called high-value detainee who was subjected to abusive treatment but not tortured, the aide said. Instead of reprimanding General Miller, Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, commander of the United States Southern Command, referred the matter to the Army inspector general, according to an account by the aide, who took detailed notes on the report and spoke on condition of anonymity because it had not been released yet.
[. . .]

General Miller was deeply involved in the handling of detainees, first at Guantanamo, where he earned credit for improving interrogation techniques and for the treatment of prisoners, and later in Iraq, where he was sent in August 2003 to suggest ways to improve interrogations immediately before the worst abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. In 2004, he was appointed to oversee all detainee operations in Iraq. Multiple investigations have cleared him of wrongdoing.

The above is from David S. Cloud's "Guantanamo Reprimand Was Sought, an Aide Says" in this morning's New York Times. Another in-house investigation that clears those involved? At what point will Congress do their job and provide the oversight that they're supposed to be providing? As long as they continue to shirk their responsibilities, may history judge them harshly. Regardless of what the Bully Boy and/or Rummy (and/or others) put in place, the revelations that continue to trickle out slowly should have resulted in full scale hearings a long time ago. Congress' refusal to conduct those hearings make them complicit in the abuse that's going on. (That's an ethical judgement, not a legal one.)

Abu Ghraib resulted in a Congressional "debate" over whether or not Americans were entitled to see all the photos. That's about all. That's about as brave as our Congress has gotten. (Since the answer to that "debate" was in fact "no," it's not very brave at all.)

Possibly, some have confused the reasons for which they were elected. It was not to shield the public. It was to uphold the Constitution. The oversight role that Congress is supposed to provide has been on "holiday" for some time now. Reps and Senators facing re-election in 2006 should address whether they've been willing to pursue their oversight role or not. Those who haven't should be held accountable in the voting booths.

Too many haven't wanted to pursue tough questions. That's too bad. They weren't elected to close their eyes to reality. They were elected to represent the people. If things are being done in our name, we have a right to know about it. It's past time for Congress to provide true oversight into the allegations of prisoner abuse.

The e-mail address for this site is