The General's Report (How Antonio Taguba, who investigated Abu Ghraib, became one of its victims.)
This is a sequel to the Abu Ghraib story, which has served for mighty heavy food-for-thought about the war in Iraq and its conduct while Donald Rumsfeld was in the Pentagon. But it was riveting as much for that aspect of it as the personal story of one Filipino-American's journey to the top ranks of the US Military.
It's a heart-breaking story in some respects, as well as an inspiring one. I will take only a very short excerpt from the end of Seymour Hersh's story:
“They always shoot the messenger,” Taguba told me. “To be accused of being overzealous and disloyal—that cuts deep into me. I was being ostracized for doing what I was asked to do.”Amen to that and I can only agree with the official statement of the US Army Vice Chief of Staff Richard Cody upon being asked about General Taguba's retirement last January, 2007, calling Taguba, "an officer, a leader and an American patriot."
Taguba went on, “There was no doubt in my mind that this stuff”—the explicit images—“was gravitating upward. It was standard operating procedure to assume that this had to go higher. The President had to be aware of this.” He said that Rumsfeld, his senior aides, and the high-ranking generals and admirals who stood with him as he misrepresented what he knew about Abu Ghraib had failed the nation.“From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service,” Taguba said. “And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.”
One thing for sure. This Filipino-American has done his duty and served his country well. Filipinos and Americans can and will be proud of him even if he now seems to have gotten the cold shoulder from the other Top Brass of the armed forces he has faithfully served throughout his life. America can only get stronger with men like him in the armed services. He is part of America's cardinal virtue of corrigibility. Saludo, Heneral!
Read it all!