12/21/2004: Very, very disturbing....
The American Civil Liberties Union has apparently released a number of documents relating to the abuse of detainees in Iraq, including evidence that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing inhumane treatment for Iraqi detainees.
A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as "torture" and a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up.By established principles of command responsibility, Bush is, of course, responsible for the detainee abuse as long as it occurred on his watch, though it wouldn't be as serious if Bush didn't authorize it and he took immediate steps to end it once discovered. But if this is true, and he actually authorized it, I'd argue that is additional justification for my oft-expressed belief that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, et alia are war criminals.
"These documents raise grave questions about where the blame for widespread detainee abuse ultimately rests," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "Top government officials can no longer hide from public scrutiny by pointing the finger at a few low-ranking soldiers."
The documents were obtained after the ACLU and other public interest organizations filed a lawsuit against the government for failing to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request.
The two-page e-mail that references an Executive Order states that the President directly authorized interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc." The ACLU is urging the White House to confirm or deny the existence of such an order and immediately to release the order if it exists. The FBI e-mail, which was sent in May 2004 from "On Scene Commander--Baghdad" to a handful of senior FBI officials, notes that the FBI has prohibited its agents from employing the techniques that the President is said to have authorized.
Wingnuts, and many not so nutty, have of course expressed the sentiment that if such drastic methods assist in obtaining information that saves even one American life, then they are justified. Unfortunately, I'm not at all sure that these methods have resulted or will result in obtaining any useful information, and regardless of whether they have, the fact remains that such incidents have done and will continue to do much to inflame our enemies and to insure that U.S. servicemembers will be treated just as badly, or worse, when they fall into the hands of our enemies.
Len on 12.21.04 @ 12:20 PM CST