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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 3,040
Loc: there
Rummy Feeling the Heat
    #2650711 - 05/07/04 05:58 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

You're Fired!
by Peter Beinart

The New Republic


Americans remain divided about the war in Iraq. And they remain divided about President Bush. But surely people of goodwill from both sides of the great red-blue, hawk-dove divide can put aside their differences and agree on at least one thing: Donald Rumsfeld needs a new job.

Start with his response to last week's torture revelations at Abu Ghraib prison. President Bush, mindful of the p.r. catastrophe unfolding around him, quickly denounced the abuses. To illustrate Bush's outrage, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan noted on Monday that the president had called Rumsfeld to demand action against the soldiers responsible for "these shameful and appalling acts." And how did Rumsfeld show his indignation? When asked the same day about Army Major General Antonio Taguba's now-famous report on Abu Ghraib, Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita said Rumsfeld hadn't read it. An accusation against a few troops, DiRita explained, "isn't necessarily something" Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon brass "would get involved with." When Rumsfeld himself took the podium the following day, he said the guards' behavior at Abu Ghraib went "against everything that they're taught." That only proved he hadn't read the Taguba report, which says the military police (MPs) at Abu Ghraib were doing just what the intelligence officers running the prison told them to. As Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the woman ostensibly in charge of Iraq's prisons, told "Good Morning America," "the MPs were given instructions [by military intelligence] on what they needed to do, and those instructions started to be very effective."

But Rumsfeld's reaction to Abu Ghraib pales next to his responsibility for it. Consider the conditions at the prison: It didn't have enough guards, the guards it did have were poorly trained, and they were demoralized by repeated extensions of their tours of duty. Sound familiar? America's failure at Abu Ghraib--like its failure to secure Iraq's borders, stop post-war looting, and provide the security necessary for reconstruction--all stemmed, in part, from too few troops on the ground. And the United States had too few troops on the ground, in large part, because of Rumsfeld's determination to use Iraq as a showcase for the lean, high-tech U.S. military of tomorrow. In particular, the United States was woefully short of the specialized, noncombat troops you need to occupy and rebuild a country after a war--like prison guards. Yet, Rumsfeld never made training such troops a priority--in part, because he believed a grateful, compliant Iraq wouldn't need much nation-building. And, in part, because he considered such work unmanly and morale-sapping--better left to the wimpy pseudo-armies of Western Europe. (The ones that have largely stayed out of Iraq.) So Rumsfeld famously dismissed General Eric Shinseki's suggestion that the occupation might require "several hundred thousand" troops, and tried to shut down the Army War College's peacekeeping institute in the run-up to the largest peacekeeping operation in U.S. history. Of the many disasters that followed, one was Abu Ghraib.

The soldiers assigned to Abu Ghraib hailed from the 372nd Military Police Company, based in Cumberland, Maryland. Arriving in Iraq in May 2003, they performed routine police functions, including directing traffic. They expected to return home quickly, which wasn't surprising given that the Pentagon's initial, wildly na?ve deployment plans called for U.S. troop levels to drop from 130,000 to roughly 30,000 by the fall. Instead, as The New Yorker's Seymour M. Hersh has reported, in October they were sent to guard the prisoners at Abu Ghraib. In December, they learned their tour had been extended, and, in April, they learned it had been extended again.

As Taguba would later detail, Abu Ghraib and another prison, Camp Bucca, were "significantly over their intended maximum capacity." The guard unit, by contrast, was "undermanned." By the end of his time at Abu Ghraib, Army Reserve Staff Sergeant Chip Frederick told "60 Minutes II," "There was only five soldiers, plus two noncommissioned officers, in charge for those 900--over 900 inmates."

And the few troops who did guard Abu Ghraib were, in Taguba's words, "poorly prepared and untrained." Most were reservists and had never received the prisoner-of-war training given to active-duty troops. Two members of the 372nd were prison guards in civilian life and were therefore put in charge. But most had no experience guarding prisoners at all. According to his father, Specialist Jeremy Sivits "never had any military police training"; the Army had trained him as a mechanic. Specialist Sabrina Harman's father said she was sent to Iraq straight from boot camp. Before that, she was an assistant manager at a pizza place.

Abu Ghraib was a dangerous place. According to Taguba, "There were numerous mortar attacks, random rifle and [rocket-propelled grenade] attacks, and a serious threat to soldiers and detainees in the facility." But, despite that, according to Frederick, "we had no support, no training whatsoever. And I kept asking my chain of command for certain things ... like rules and regulations. And it just wasn't happening." According to Taguba, "Few, if any, copies of the Geneva Conventions were ever made available to MP personnel."

Up Frederick's chain of command was Karpinski. According to Hersh, she had never run a prison system before. And it showed. Under pressure to learn about the Iraqi insurgency, intelligence personnel essentially took over Abu Ghraib's Cellblock 1A. They told guards to "soften up" (i.e., terrify) inmates so they would be easier to interrogate. And they told Karpinski--the nominal head of Iraq's prison system--not to visit the cellblock. Cellblock 1A, she told "Good Morning America," was "not run by my command."

Obviously, Rumsfeld disapproves of torture. He also disapproves of the street-level anarchy that has empowered fundamentalist militias, stopped reconstruction in its tracks, and turned Iraqis against the United States. But both are the result of his refusal either to send the American troops necessary to win the peace in Iraq or to get those troops from somewhere else. This, despite the loud prewar warnings from nation-building experts--both inside and outside the military--that he was placing ideology above experience. Some might ask whether America can afford to change defense secretaries in a time of war. But there's a more important question: Can America win this war with the defense secretary it has now?

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Two inch dick..but it spins!?

Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 34,239
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Rummy Feeling the Heat [Re: infidelGOD]
    #2650758 - 05/07/04 06:12 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers

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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 3,040
Loc: there
Re: Rummy Feeling the Heat [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #2650773 - 05/07/04 06:16 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

did you reply to the right thread?

how do those polls dispute anything in that New Republic article?

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