02 August 2006

Torture is rewarded

A U.S. Army general who had been in charge of Guantanamo has just retired with honors. Capitol Hill Blue reports that Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller was lauded at his retirement ceremony on Monday as "an innovator and an exceptional leader." [Read story.]

In all fairness, the article also points out that "[an] Army Inspector general's investigation cleared Miller of wrongdoing in connection with his role at Abu Ghraib."

However, Human Rights Watch has "singled out Miller as one of the senior Army commanders who should be held accountable for the abuses."

And Human Rights Watch doesn't make such accusations lightly.

But even in giving him the benefit of the doubt, one must ask: Was he so inept an officer that he had no idea what his people were doing? If so, then that's a whole other reason why he shouldn't be lavished with honors.

Military apologists insist that justice was served with the prosecution of low-ranking personnel who carried out the abuse, as if it were all their idea.

Sure, Lynndie England and Charles Graner were having way too much fun as they tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib, and they deserve the punishment they've received. But evidence from Guantanamo suggests that the prisoners there face the same kinds of torture that we saw at Abu Ghraib. There is a clear, consistent pattern of torture in multiple prisons. You can't blame the torture at Gitmo on little Lynndie. She was at Abu Ghraib. And, because of the similarities, you can't blame the torture at Gitmo solely on Lynndie's Cuba-based counterparts.

While they continue to blame the problem in "a few bad apples", the problem clearly reaches much farther up the tree.

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