In a rare public comment today, Major General Antonio Taguba told the Honolulu  Advertiser:

I hope the media will (go) after those who were intimately responsible for creating this situation while disregarding the rules of law.

Honolulu Advertiser columnist William Cole placed Major General Taguba’s widely quoted Preface to Broken Laws, Broken Lives in the context of the integrity and rigor with which he purusued the investigation of abuse at Abu Ghraib in 2004.

When Taguba testified before the Senate in May 2004, he outlined the standard according to which he conducted his investigation:

As I assembled the investigation team, my specific instructions to my teammates were clear: maintain our objectivity and integrity throughout the course of our mission in what I considered to be a very grave, highly sensitive and serious situation; to be mindful of our personal values and the moral values of our nation; and to maintain the Army values in all of our dealings; and to be complete, thorough and fair in the course of the investigation. Bottom line: We will follow our conscience and do what is morally right.

Taguba concluded that the brutality that shocked the world when it was revealed in the infamous Abu Ghraib photographs was, in fact, “systematic and illegal abuse.”

Thus Major General Taguba’s words in the Preface to Broken Laws, Broken Lives are consistent with the courage, integrity and commitment to the rule of law, which he has now exemplified for years.

In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. And the healing professions, including physicians and psychologists, became complicit in the willful infliction of harm against those the Hippocratic Oath demands they protect.

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

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Comment by pmorlan
2008-06-26 17:57:48

There have been some excellent media articles and editorials discussing torture since the Taguba statement like the McClatchey series on torture and the ones listed below.

Commentary: Gen. Tagubs Knew Scandal Went to The Top

Torturegate: Truth, But No Consequences

Unfortunately there have also been some media outlets like the Washington Post and others who sometimes downplay news about torture (the Post did do an excellent series by Dana Priest on the black sites).

The day after Gen. Taguba accused the Bush administration of war crimes I tried to find an article about it on the Washington Post website. You would think when a former Maj. Gen. like
General Taguba accuses the Bush administration of war crimes that it would be front page news. But evidently the Washington Post thought it was only newsworthy enough to place on A7 of their newspaper. What’s more they didn’t even include Gen. Taguba’s name in their headline.

Exams Back Up Reports of Detainee Abuse, Group Says

They finally got around to talking about Gen. Taguba at the very end of the story but they never quote him. Instead they say this when referencing Gen. Taguba:

“In a statement accompanying the report, retired Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, who led the Army’s first official investigation on Abu Ghraib, said the new evidence SUGGESTED a “systematic regime of torture” inside U.S.-run detention camps.”

I asked the Post the following questions on three separate occasions but I never got a reply:

Why did the Post bury the headline on this story?

Does the Post believe it is not newsworthy that a former General accuses the administration of war crimes?

Do Warrick and the Post really think that Taguba only SUGGESTED torture when he said:

“There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

Why did Warrick and the Post go out of their way to downplay this story?

I hope everyone will challenge our media outlets whenever they either refuse to cover this issue or downplay it to make it seem less important.

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