Murder by Rumsfeld

The brutal murders of some innocent Aghan prisoners in Bagram, Afghanistan, are a horrifying reminder that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were not exceptions, but typical of much detainee-handling in the war on terror; that those committing them believed they were authorized to do so; that inquiries trying to determine who in the command structure was really responsible have been stymied; and that the perpetrators, because they were indeed trying to follow confused or liberalized strictures on prisoner abuse, have largely gotten away with murder. Money quote:

"[N]or did [prosecutors] mention a secret memorandum showing that around the time of the two deaths, interrogators at Bagram were using new, aggressive methods that were not authorized for use in Afghanistan. The 10-page memorandum, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, was written by the military's acting chief lawyer at Bagram, Lt. Col. Robert J. Cotell Jr., on Jan. 24, 2003. It indicates that interrogators there adopted some of the more extreme interrogation methods that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld approved on Dec. 2, 2002, exclusively for use at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba."

And so you have a direct line from Rumsfeld's approval of abuse to the murder of two completely innocent men, by having them hung from their wrists and their legs pummeled by a series of American soldiers until the legs were reduced to pulp. The harshest sentence in the Bush military for murdering innocents by this kind of method is five months. The vast majority have received no punishment at all. One soldier who confessed to beating the hanging man was given an honorable discharge. You can judge how seriously this administration takes the abuse of detainees by what they do about it. We just found out - in the clearest possible case.