Rumsfeld's Abu Ghraib Cover-Up Revealed
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Thank God for Seymour Hersh.
In his most recent New Yorker exposÃ©, he reveals the true story of what Rumsfeld knew and when he knew it with regards to the Abu Ghraib scandal, and his source is no partisan pundit with an ax to grind, it's the author of the report which opened up the whole torture can of worms: General Antonio Taguba.
According to Taguba, when first confronted with the extensive, documented evidence of torture at Abu Ghraib (including the story of a father and son forced to perform lewd acts on one another), all Rumsfeld and his lackeys appeared to be concerned with was how the story had been leaked to the press.
Taguba has told Hersh his story because, like many Americans, he was appalled by Donald Rumsfeld and the entire Bush Administration's early stubborn refusal to address torture in their military's midsts and then their pathetic attempt to plead ignorance and cover up their involvement in said torture when it became public.
Also, on a personal level, Taguba became something like a Serpico figure amongst his fellow soldiers, a pariah because he gave an honest, thorough accounting of military misdeeds. At one point, Taguba was cryptically warned by General John Abizaid. "You and your report will be investigated," he said. When Rumsfeld first met Taguba in May of '04 he made no attempt to disguise his contempt:
"Here . . . comes . . . that famous General Taguba--of the Taguba report!" Rumsfeld declared, in a mocking voice. The meeting was attended by Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's deputy; Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J.C.S.); and General Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, along with Craddock and other officials. Taguba, describing the moment nearly three years later, said, sadly, "I thought they wanted to know. I assumed they wanted to know. I was ignorant of the setting."
Taguba was discouraged every step of the way during his investigation. He knew no one in their right mind could really, truly believe that this was all the work of a few sadistic grunts. The leashes and other instruments of torture were provided by someone, most likely military intelligence, who got their torture mandate from guess who. Yet the White House took the stand that this was a small problem and the majority of the media eventually fell in line.
Only seven soldiers were convicted on charges relating to the torture, while one of its ringleaders, Specialist Charles Graner, got ten years in prison. Gen. Taguba was pushed into retirement earlier this year after over thirty years of dedicated, unassailable military service. The man put in charge of cleaning up the Abu Ghraib mess, Major General Geoffrey Miller (who has his own torture legacy back in Guantanamo), never even met with Taguba. In Hersh's article, Taguba's rage about all this jumps of the page and it's contagious:
"The whole idea that Rumsfeld projects--'We're here to protect the nation from terrorism'--is an oxymoron," Taguba said. "He and his aides have abused their offices and have no idea of the values and high standards that are expected of them. And they've dragged a lot of officers with them."
Adam Howard is the editor of PEEK.