Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hold Officals Accountable For Abu Ghraib

I'll be discussing this a bit more tomorrow or this weekend, as I'm still gathering my thoughts on this issue, of the extent we should expect and demand accountability, but here's James Ross of Human Rights Watch taking on the USA Today's editorial board:
The two recent reports on U.S. military abuses of prisoners show the limits of Pentagon-appointed investigations for such a controversial issue. Both the Schlesinger commission and the internal Army review contain important and disturbing information on the torture and mistreatment of prisoners in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Yet both reports shy away from the logical conclusion: High-level military and civilian officials must be fully investigated for their role in the crimes committed at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

Actually, from the looks of it Ross is just going where the USA editors dare not suggest (but seem to hint at indecisively):

Around the world, Abu Ghraib has become a symbol of an arrogant America that doesn't practice the respect for human rights that it preaches. The negative impression not only falsely portrays the U.S. as a nation that disregards international norms of behavior, but — more worrisome — it also helps al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups recruit.

Correcting that impression is essential. The task begins with establishing a clear chain of accountability. The case for firing the top brass or the civilian leadership is less clear but certainly a possibility.