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.”
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.