PolySciFi Blog

Monday, May 23, 2005


Keeping up the pressure

In the comments to a post below, Jody writes:
On its own initiative, the military exposed these abuses. On its own initiative, the military is investigating these abuses. The NYT only has this article because of the work of the military to prosecute those responsible for the torture of Dilawar.
This would be nice, if it were true. Actually, it would be more accurate to say:

On its own initiative, the military ignored autopsy findings of homicide. On its own initiative, the Criminal Investigative Command reported that they couldn't determine who could possibly have done such a thing. On its own initiative, the military recommended closing the cases against the interrogators who murdered Dilawar. On its own initiative, the military transfered the interrogators from Baghram to Abu Ghirab.

From Tim Golden's follow-up to his piece on torture at Baghram:

While the proposal to close the case was ultimately rejected by senior officials, documents show that the inquiry was at a virtual standstill when an article in The New York Times on March 4, 2003, reported that at least one of the prisoner's deaths had been ruled a homicide, contradicting the military's earlier assertions that both had died of natural causes. Activity in the case quickly resumed.

It's the nature of institutions to protect their own. Always has been, always will be. Please don't confuse this with Glenn Reynold's favorite strong man, the one about "the larger story" being true; Newsweek got it wrong. But let's get it right; the military won't solve their problems on their own, and that hurts everyone. Keeping up the pressure for full accountability can help us win this war. And that's what this is about, isn't it?

Conservative blogger John Cole has a nice roundup of Hugh Hewitt's utterly inadequate response to media stories about torture, which you can find here. I won't conflate Hewitt and Jody, but whether or not you think Hugh is representative, he's not a straw man. Money quote:

[S]pend 1/10th of the energy you spend defending the status quo and urge the Republicans to use our majority status and the trappings of power we now enjoy with the control of Congress and the Presidency, and stop the torture and abuse. Do that, and your critics won't have anything to complain about.


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