Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Abu Ghraib

A US Army dog handler has just been convicted of abusing prisoners. This is especially disappointing to me, because I used to be a dog handler and K-9 training NCO in the Air Force. What is disturbing is the fact that all of the convicted people have been enlisted and relatively low on the chain of command.

I find this suspicious at best, and unbelievable at worst. How is it possible that this behavior went on and nobody higher up knew about it? I suspect they didn't want to know about it. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. But they had to know. If they were as ignorant and in-the-dark stupid as is claimed, they ought to be court martialed for dereliction of duty. OK, I forget if that charge would exactly fit in these cases, but it is surely evidence of incompetence.

I realize that I am not there and all I have are the usual unreliable, most likely half true, exaggerated or outright false stories from the news media---the same type I was intimately familiar with when I was in---but the court martial convictions were from fellow military members, not by people who have no clue about military life or duties and risks.

One of the things that I heard early one that aroused my suspicions was a report that when the some of the worst abuses were being committed by the most notorious bunch of MPs (now ex-MPs and current convicted felons) an NCO saw some of the abuse happening. According to the report, the NCO simply told them to "knock it off." That is something I cannot imagine, unless the abuse was condoned, winked at, or actively ignored by ranking personnel. An NCO cannot legally observe an illegal action and simply tell someone to "knock it off." There should have been an aggressive follow-up and a report of the incident. But, if that report was true, nothing happened. The NCO would have been derelict in his duties at the very least. That is, unless things have turned upside down since I got out and the UCMJ rewritten. Who knows, perhaps Bush et al have done exactly that.

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