The torture puzzle
Another piece falls into place, reported by Salon. Read the whole article. (And, if you haven’t yet, take in Jane Mayer’s New Yorker piece on former general counsel to the Navy, Alberto Mora, and his admirable attempts to stem the tide of torture.) Army Reserve Capt. Christopher R. Brinson was in charge of several military police who were brought up on charges for prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. Apparently, in 2005 the Army reprimanded Brinson for his role in the debacle (his lawyer won’t say why, exactly, he was reprimanded). Brinson claims that it’s his commanders who deserve reprimanding, not him.
Of course, it’s complicated. Brinson is, after all, the same man who sent a memo to MP Corporal Charles Graner (featured in so many of those horrific photos) saying Graner was doing a “fine job.” And it’s not an unexpected defense to kick responsibility up the chain of command. But one of the many fascinating bits in the Salon piece is this:
According to a handwritten log kept by the military police at the
prison, obtained by Salon, Brinson may have dialed back abuse ordered
in one instance by interrogators. A Nov. 14, 2003, entry notes an order
to “strip out” and exercise six detainees. But those orders “were
changed by Capt. Brinson,” Graner wrote. Instead, Brinson ordered that
the detainees remain in their cells “in jumpsuits.”
The question, then, is who gave that order, and how many others like it were given to other interrogators? Just nine soldiers have been prosecuted for prisoner abuse. How long will it be before those who devised this policy accept or are made to accept responsibility for these atrocities?
(Hat tip: Josh Marshall.)