Mudcat Café message #1381377 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62901   Message #1381377
Posted By: Amos
18-Jan-05 - 12:09 PM
Thread Name: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
The Bangor, Maine, News does not think the Graner trial has gone far enough:

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - Bangor Daily News

R egardless of whether Spc. Charles Graner's 10-year sentence was too harsh or too light - many Iraqis apparently think he should be executed in front of his victims - his trial should be the first of many involving military personnel who took part in or condoned the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Spc. Graner was not a scapegoat.

He abused detainees and directed others to do so. But he and his low-level colleagues who face judicial hearings are not the only ones who should

be punished. In the words of Mr. Graner's lawyer, Guy Womack, "they are going after the order-takers" not "the order-givers."

Pentagon reviews have implicated high-ranking military officials in the abuse scandal. None of them has faced disciplinary action. Instead, Spc. Graner and six of his colleagues from the 372nd Military Policy Co., based in Maryland, were court-martialed. Three pleaded guilty and testified against him and three are awaiting trial. A jury of combat veterans found Charles Graner guilty of abusing prisoners. He was sentenced Saturday to 10 years in prison.

Two reports done this summer blame the leadership failures for the situation at Abu Ghraib, a prison outside Baghdad. One report, done by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, blamed Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the top U.S. commander in Iraq, for failing to adequately supervise interrogation techniques. The report also criticized chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for inadequate supervision and for failing to acknowledge and correct the situation sooner. The report did not say these officials should be reprimanded or disciplined.

The Schlesinger report did recommend discipline against five officers. Two of them, Col. Thomas Pappas, the highest-ranking military intelligence officer at the prison, and Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, the head of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center

at Abu Ghraib, were implicated by

witnesses during Spc. Graner's trial. The witnesses said the men had either known about or encouraged some of the tactics captured in photographs that shocked the world.

Pentagon reviews are ongoing and

a spokesman said that as wrongdoers are identified, they will be "dealt with appropriately."

While, Mr. Graner should not be executed, Pentagon officials and members of Congress should be mindful of the message the United States has sent to the Middle East. Allowing the abuse to take place, belatedly acknowledging it and downplaying its severity has only fueled animosity toward America, perhaps spawning new terrorists.

That is a good reason to discipline the order-givers.