What was the head of Central Command's response to news that torture, rape and murder had been widespread at a major detainee center under his command in Iraq? Launch a massive investigation to find out what had gone wrong? Find and punish every commander in the chain of command for some of the most appalling violations of humane warfare in U.S. history? Nah. Once a tightly controlled investigation had been issued - an investigation specifically denied the power to seek responsibility up the chain of command - president Bush's top military aide in Iraq had the following encounter with the report's author, general Taguba:
A few weeks after his report became public, Taguba, who was still in Kuwait, was in the back seat of a Mercedes sedan with Abizaid. Abizaid's driver and his interpreter, who also served as a bodyguard, were in front. Abizaid turned to Taguba and issued a quiet warning: "You and your report will be investigated."
"I wasn't angry about what he said but disappointed that he would say that to me," Taguba said. "I'd been in the Army thirty-two years by then, and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia."
That's because Taguba, tragically, was indeed working for a commander-in-chief whose illegal torture regime required the same levels of violence, lawlessness and inhmanity as the mob. More on this expose of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld war crimes tomorrow.
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty.)