All good questions. While not being too much in support of the Iraqis they are humans and as such have basic human rights. It appears these young soldiers decided this was a game and the prisoners were there for amusment and boredom relief. I don't for a minute buy the excuse that "I was just following orders". I can't believe any of our soldiers are that stupid. But, they did photograph this stuff and circulate it so maybe I'm wrong. As for the superiors, any one of them at the local command level who has a supervisory position should be dealt with severely. The one-star, while not blameless, bears less culpability because she hadn't been in the command for very longand, as you point out, had a multitude of commands to oversee. Now what I don't like is the posting of the names of the acused - last time I looked you were innocent until proven guilty - and the length of time between the actual events, the investigative reports and the publishing of the pictures. ANYONE who knew about this and held it close to the vest is an accessory. They were hoping it wouldn't see the light of day - pure and simple.
Anyone who has read my comments regarding the criminal abuse of Iraqi detainees by American MP's certainly know that I feel those MP's should be held legally accountable for their actions, and that instructions or encouragement from MI personnel should not stand to mitigate individual responsibilities.
I also agree that the Congress has every right to ask "What did you know, and when did you know it, and why wasn't the Congress and the President advised immediately". I can accept the premise that having been advised that there were allegations of "abuse" and that an investigation was under-way would create a particular mental image of the problem, an image that would change dramatically once the photos were viewed. As dramatically as our perception of "terrorism" on 9-10-'01 would change on 9-11-'01.
And now I''ll move to the other side of the room, and ask a few questions from that vantage point.
Is it proper for the Congress to publically investigate this situation, and demand "heads", while the criminal investigation is yet on-going? Can or will this public investigation influence/impede the outcome of the criminal investigation ?
If the MP's were as poorly trained/informed of their duties, as some have claimed, where and when did they become expert in their knowledge of the Iraqi/Arab psyche, so as to know "which buttons to push" in their "interrogation conditioning" activity ?
Were these particular detainees picked at random from the general population, or were they known or suspected quanitities, and were picked on that basis ?
If there is any way to determine, did the "conditioning" lead to the production of otherwise unobtainable "actionable intelligence" ? Had these personnel been interrogated, without positive results, earlier ?
Accepting that some sergeants and privates will stand criminal trials for the abuse they suffered upon the detainees, how high up the Chain of Command, ie Lt, Capt, Maj, LCol, Col, should the arm of justice reach ?
Should that one-star general, who had a half dozen or so sub-commands under her authority and responsibility, with some 3500 or so personnel, be personally responsible for the actions of a few on the lowest level ?
Assuming that these kinds of interrogations might well stretch beyond our normal sanitized methods of interrogation, should those MI personnel who tasked the MP's be also held criminally responsible ?
If, during the criminal investigation, individuals up the chain of command exhibited a cavalier attitude toward these abuses, or toward an expeditious advisory of the problem being sent up-stream, should they be legally dealt with ?
Are these Congress Persons sincerely concerned that these detainees were abused, or is their concern more of an indignancy for not having been informed earlier, and using the tarnished image of the USA as a cover ?
Comments anyone ?