Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Yeah, I said it.

There's an excellent, must-read article on torture in today's Daily Standard. A snippet:
Reviewing even the most cursory history of these incidents, it's apparent that confusion and lack of training--more than premeditated malice or moral failing--have been the determining factors in the misconduct of American soldiers. "They asked many, many times," says one former Bagram interrogator. "The lack of guidance was a source of frustration for them. My own feeling is that it was never given because nobody wanted to put themselves on the line."

NOT SO, says the Pentagon, which in its prosecution of the soldiers, argues that they should have been aware of the methods codified in the Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation (FM 34-52) and used these standards to guide their treatment of detainees.

This line of reasoning, however, is more than a little ironic, given that the Pentagon is itself currently in the midst of a drag-out fight on Capitol Hill to stop Congress from enshrining the same Army Field Manual as the uniform standard for its interrogations. The relevant legislation--proposed by Senator John McCain and supported by a who's who of retired military and intelligence officers--would go a long way toward ending the climate of confusion and uncertainty that has contributed to abuses at Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere.

In opposing the legislation, the Pentagon argues that it is not Congress's place to be arbiter of the rules for treatment of detainees, insisting that it alone should wield that power.
Go read it.


Blogger Bryan said...

The Constitution of the United States
Article. I.
Section. 8. The Congress shall have Power:
...To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

I guess the Pentagon missed that part.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Jim said...


There is another part they missed as well. Thanks to Article VI, Section 2, "[A]ll Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land", all Americans are bound by the Geneva Conventions as well.

Or, perhaps "supreme Law of the Land" translates into "Except for me!" in Rumsfeld-ese.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Jeff Huber said...

I couldnt' find the link, but if the Pentagon's really saying that, we have big, big trouble.


7:02 AM  
Blogger Jeff Huber said...

Okay, I found the article on the WS site.

Funny, how they quote Larry ("Curly Joe" to his friends) Dirita. He's Rummy's head echo chamberlain.

7:34 AM  

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