Saturday, July 24, 2004

If You Blinked, You Missed It

This past Thursday marked the release of the 9/11 Commission report, to much fanfare and predictable spin. But were you aware that a second report whitewash was issued on Thursday, very clearly timed simply to fly under the radar screen of the 9/11 report?

I'll be honest, I did know the other report had been issued, but like a good little distracted 'murican, I paid it no heed and went about my day. What report, you ask?

A 300 page report on the Abu Ghraib nightmare was issued by the Army's inspector general, Lt. Gen. Paul T. Mikolashek. And in Sunday's editorial sections, both the New York Times and Washington Post have condemned the report as a stone cold whitewash that defies credulity. After downloading the report earlier today and skimming it quickly, I have to agree. As the NY Times fumes:

The authors of this 300-page whitewash say they found no "systemic" problem - even though there were 94 documented cases of prisoner abuse, including some 40 deaths, 20 of them homicides; even though only four prisons of the 16 they visited had copies of the Geneva Conventions; even though Abu Ghraib was a cesspool with one shower for every 50 inmates; even though the military police were improperly involved in interrogations; even though young people plucked from civilian life were sent to guard prisoners - 50,000 of them in all - with no training.

Never mind any of that. The report pins most of the blame on those depressingly familiar culprits, a few soldiers who behaved badly.
So, the "few bad apples" myth continues to be perpetuated.

Let me ask you this: how in the sam fucking hell can 94 cases of prisoner abuse, including 40 deaths (20 of those deaths being ruled homifuckingcides) not be the result of systemic breakdowns in oversight at the highest level? It's beyond straining credulity.

Like the Times, I held out some hope that Republican Senator John Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was an honorable guy who truly wanted to get to the bottom of the issue. But I guess, at the end of the day, the operative word in the preceding sentence is "Republican".

As a result, unlike the Times, I hold out absolutely no hope that a Republican controlled congress will ever initiate a Congressional inquiry with subpoena power. Ever. Ever. Ever.

All the more reason to insure that when John Kerry takes office, he also has at least one chamber of congress on his side. It's the only way that justice in this matter will ever be served.