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5/17/2004

Yahoo! News - Wiliam F. Buckley FINDING HONOR IN ABU GHRAIB

Yahoo! News - FINDING HONOR IN ABU GHRAIB:

"But there are no reforms indicated in the treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib. What was done was against (1) regulations, (2) Army convention, and (3) civilized tradition. What do the reformers want? Pre-induction courses for U.S. soldiers in which they are told not to strip and torture captives and photograph them naked? Should there be, also, a course on how they should not fire guns at their own officers? Is there nothing that can be taken for granted?"


Bill Buckley believes that Democrats have launched an "offensive" pushing for reforms in the military's treatment of prisoners. His evidence for this alleged offensive: that critics say Democratic attacks on Rumsfeld will "[blow] opportunities to effect true reforms." The only evidence adduced proves its opposite.

Nonetheless, Buckley claims no reforms are needed. The activities were so heinous, everyone should have known they were illegal, and current procedures should have been adequate to prevent them. Actually, though, at least three reforms are necessary. First, this administration, which has so degraded our ability to detect evil that some of our troops have been blinded, needs to change. Rumsfeld should be fired by Bush in May, and Bush should be fired by the American people in November. Second, the military needs to develop sensible principles for the management of detention facilities, including for detainees that civilian leadership might want submarined. This includes clearly defining the roles of military intelligence, military police, and other troops that interact regularly with detainees, and establishing accountability for their behavior regardless of the legal status of the detainees. Third, if civilian contractors are needed (and they should be allowed only when necessary), they should be inserted into the chain of command and accountability.

 

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