Wednesday, September 28, 2005

NYT: "Officer Criticizes Detainee Abuse Inquiry" (Eric Schmitt)

An Army captain who reported new allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq said Tuesday that Army investigators seemed more concerned about tracking down young soldiers who reported misconduct than in following up the accusations and investigating whether higher-ranking officers knew of the abuses.
The officer, Capt. Ian Fishback, said investigators from the Criminal Investigation Command and the 18th Airborne Corps inspector general had pressed him to divulge the names of two sergeants from his former battalion who also gave accounts of abuse, which were made public in a report last Friday by the group Human Rights Watch.
Captain Fishback, speaking publicly on the matter for first time, said the investigators who have questioned him in the past 10 days seemed to be less interested in individuals he identified in his chain of command who allegedly committed the abuses.
"I'm convinced this is going in a direction that's not consistent with why we came forward," Captain Fishback said in a telephone interview from Fort Bragg, N.C., where he is going through Army Special Forces training. "We came forward because of the larger issue that prisoner abuse is systemic in the Army. I'm concerned this will take a new twist, and they'll try to scapegoat some of the younger soldiers. This is a leadership problem."

The above is our spotlight story from the Times, chosen by Brad, Kara, Rob and Erika. It's Eric Schmitt's "Officer Criticizes Detainee Abuse Inquiry" and we'll note this is the same day that the Times reveals Lynndie England was sentenced to three years. So we're supposed to rest easy.

Kara notes David S. Cloud's article on that. Before we get there, the Times is doing hyperlinks to geography and Kara's copied and pasted so we can enjoy how someone's last name has been turned into a country. This is from David S. Cloud's "Private Gets 3 Years for Iraq Prison Abuse" (Cloud isn't responsible for the hyperlink in the online version of his story -- Kara knew that but in case anyone is unaware, let's make it clear):

Pfc. Lynndie England, a 22-year-old clerk in the Army who was photographed with naked Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, was sentenced on Tuesday to three years in prison and a dishonorable discharge for her role in the scandal.
[. . .]
The defense also suggested that the harsh treatment of prisoners stemmed from the presence of military intelligence personnel, who wanted prisoners softened up. But under prosecution questioning, Private Graner admitted that no military intelligence personnel had been present on the night of Nov. 7, 2003, when prisoners were mistreated.

The hyperlink, as Kara points out, takes you to news on England, the country.
Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Cardigan Sweater Doesn’t Fit Bush" (This Just In, The Progressive):

"We're getting worse gas mileage today than we were in 1987," says Tyson Slocum, the research director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. Back then, the U.S. fleet was getting 22.1 miles a gallon. Now it’s getting 21 miles a gallon, he notes, citing EPA figures.
"Bush has done nothing to change that," Slocum says. "That's disgraceful."
But not a surprise.
If you're a crony capitalist, like oilman Bush, whose chief of staff, Andy Card, is a former lobbyist for the car companies, you don't want to do anything to offend Big Oil or Big Auto.
Instead, lay it on the American people. Drive less, says Bush. Don't go "on a trip that's not essential."
This prescription outrages Dennis Kucinich.
The oil companies "made $254 billion in profit in the last five years," Kucinich said on the House floor on September 27. "What are we doing here? Drive less? The Administration is asking every American to sacrifice mobility, but not asking the oil companies to sacrifice adime of their profit."
A new poll shows that four out of five Americans support a windfall profits tax on the oil companies, but that's not in Bush’s plans.
"The problem is not that the American people are driving too much," Kucinich added. "The problem is that the oil companies are driving our energy policies, driving up the cost of gasoline, natural gas, and home heating oil at every chance, and driving themselves toward huge profits."

e-mails to note Rita J. King's "Bunker Buster, Baby!" (Ruminations On America):

Hey, everybody. You might sleep better tonight knowing that the United States Department of Defense has written a draft revision of the "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" so that nuclear weapons can be used preemptively in case weapons of mass destruction are... what? Suspected? Found? Divined through intuition? Invented?
The good news is--we might have a chance to use that bunker buster we’ve been developing on and off despite that pesky Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that we expect the rest of the world to obey. In fact, if they don't obey it, soon we can bust their bunker good! Here’s to nuclear weapons, y'all.
An example for possible use of nuclear weapons listed in the draft is against an enemy that is using, "or intending to use, WMD," against United States (or allied) multinational military forces or civilian populations.
What? No weapons of mass destruction? Again?
Well, we're America, and we were just makin' sure! Military commanders could seek approval to use nuclear weapons against biological threats that "only effects from nuclear weapons can safely destroy," the document explained.
Safely, indeed. Better start with American beef and milk cows...toss in the pigs from the factory farms and the antibiotic and hormone-laden chickens we've been tossing down by the bucketful. If they aren't a biological threat to the American people, I don’t know what is.

We'll continue noting The Third Estate Sunday Review's "'Why Are You Here' and 'What's Changed'" all week. Here's a voice that Gina picked from that article:

15) Leon, 52, Louisianna: Why am I here? I flew on the plane. Funny thing, I don't have my own plane. I had to buy a ticket but I manged to get here with my son and his wife. George Bush got Air Force One at his disposal but how long did it take him to find his way to New Orleans? Maybe the pilot got lost? Hurricane Katrina showed that there were priorities in this country and the people ain't one of them. That's why he doesn't give a damn about the troops dying in Iraq and why he's not worried about bringing them home. They can stay over there forever for all he cares. Most he'll do is show up to have his picture taken and then disappear. The change is Hurricane Katrina and people like Cindy Sheehan. They've exposed him for what he really is.

I'm copying from Mike and Elaine, by the way. They're highlighting voices from the article as well and they included numbers last night. I think that's a good idea and glad they thought of it.
And this evening, late Mike says, he'll have an interview with Betty (Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man).

Rod e-mails to give us a heads up to today's Democracy Now!:

Wednesday, September 28: We speak to one of the Saint Patrick's Four who were just acquitted of federal conspiracy charges for their protest against the Iraq war. We also look at how Michael Brown of FEMA is being made the scapegoat in the disastrous response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. We'll talk with Alison Young of Knight Ridder.

The e-mail address for this site is