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  • Army Times - Failure of Leadership

    Editorial: A failure of leadership at the highest levels

    Around the halls of the Pentagon, a term of caustic derision has emerged for the enlisted soldiers at the heart of the furor over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal: the six morons who lost the war.

    Indeed, the damage done to the U.S. military and the nation as a whole by the horrifying photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees at the notorious prison is incalculable.

    But the folks in the Pentagon are talking about the wrong morons.

    There is no excuse for the behavior displayed by soldiers in the now-infamous pictures and an even more damning report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba. Every soldier involved should be ashamed.

    But while responsibility begins with the six soldiers facing criminal charges, it extends all the way up the chain of command to the highest reaches of the military hierarchy and its civilian leadership.

    The entire affair is a failure of leadership from start to finish. From the moment they are captured, prisoners are hooded, shackled and isolated. The message to the troops: Anything goes.

    In addition to the scores of prisoners who were humiliated and demeaned, at least 14 have died in custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army has ruled at least two of those homicides. This is not the way a free people keeps its captives or wins the hearts and minds of a suspicious world.

    How tragically ironic that the American military, which was welcomed to Baghdad by the euphoric Iraqi people a year ago as a liberating force that ended 30 years of tyranny, would today stand guilty of dehumanizing torture in the same Abu Ghraib prison used by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen.

    One can only wonder why the prison wasn’t razed in the wake of the invasion as a symbolic stake through the heart of the Baathist regime.

    Army commanders in Iraq bear responsibility for running a prison where there was no legal adviser to the commander, and no ultimate responsibility taken for the care and treatment of the prisoners.

    Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, also shares in the shame. Myers asked “60 Minutes II” to hold off reporting news of the scandal because it could put U.S. troops at risk. But when the report was aired, a week later, Myers still hadn’t read Taguba’s report, which had been completed in March. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also failed to read the report until after the scandal broke in the media.

    By then, of course, it was too late.

    Myers, Rumsfeld and their staffs failed to recognize the impact the scandal would have not only in the United States, but around the world.

    If their staffs failed to alert Myers and Rumsfeld, shame on them. But shame, too, on the chairman and secretary, who failed to inform even President Bush.

    He was left to learn of the explosive scandal from media reports instead of from his own military leaders.

    On the battlefield, Myers’ and Rumsfeld’s errors would be called a lack of situational awareness — a failure that amounts to professional negligence.

    To date, the Army has moved to court-martial the six soldiers suspected of abusing Iraqi detainees and has reprimanded six others.

    Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who commanded the MP brigade that ran Abu Ghraib, has received a letter of admonishment and also faces possible disciplinary action.

    That’s good, but not good enough.

    This was not just a failure of leadership at the local command level. This was a failure that ran straight to the top. Accountability here is essential — even if that means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of war.

    The Army Times

    I have nothing to add. Nothing more can be said clearly than this. :thumb:

    _______
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the fine line between sanity and madness gotten finer?
    -George Price
    I hate it when I see one of those road signs that says "Draw Bridge Ahead" and I don't have a pencil.
    -Lou Chiafullo

  • #2
    Re: Army Times - Failure of Leadership


    The entire affair is a failure of leadership from start to finish. From the moment they are captured, prisoners are hooded, shackled and isolated. The message to the troops: Anything goes.
    Leadership... Hell yes. This was a failure from the Soldier level on up.

    As for hooding, shackling, and isolating... Called the 5's Search, Seperate, Silence, Speed To The Rear, and Safeguard. I spent years teaching that to infantry, aviators, MI people, and tankers. There ain't no such thing as 'Anything goes.'


    In addition to the scores of prisoners who were humiliated and demeaned, at least 14 have died in custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army has ruled at least two of those homicides. This is not the way a free people keeps its captives or wins the hearts and minds of a suspicious world.
    One soldier took a plea bargain to take a bad paper out and other one is still under investigation I believe.


    Army commanders in Iraq bear responsibility for running a prison where there was no legal adviser to the commander, and no ultimate responsibility taken for the care and treatment of the prisoners.
    If you read the 15-6 Report it indicates that the 800th MP Brigade had a Staff Judge Advocate. Where the hell was he? (Recommended for GOMOR.) BG Karpanski basically lied to MG Tagebu during the 15-6 by misleading how often she went to the prison. This was validated through her Aides calendar and interviews of soldeirs at AGP. There was a FRAGO that place the 205th MI Bde Cdr in charge of the prison, but there was such a conflict between the Colonel and General (WTF?) that it was not even known to BG Karpanski till the 15-6?


    To date, the Army has moved to court-martial the six soldiers suspected of abusing Iraqi detainees and has reprimanded six others.

    Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who commanded the MP brigade that ran Abu Ghraib, has received a letter of admonishment and also faces possible disciplinary action.

    That’s good, but not good enough.

    This was not just a failure of leadership at the local command level. This was a failure that ran straight to the top. Accountability here is essential — even if that means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of war.
    The chain of command is very possibly criminally culpable in this. I don't have the UCMJ backgroud to really say (but have asked friends that do). At a minimum there should be a pea pot full of Art 15's for the NCO's and Officers that allowed this crap to go on.

    There is no such thing, except at GITMO, as MP's helping with interrogations. Army doctrine keeps the security and interrogation function seperate for this reason.

    The responsibility for the event lies within the 800th MP Bde, 205th MI Bde, and CJTF7.

    I'm no Rumsfeld fan, but other than not serving the President by letting him get blind sided... his responsibility is minimal.

    Comment


    • #3
      You know, what about our POW's?

      I believe these soldiers showed considerable restraint in thier actions on the Iraqi's.

      They didn't dip thier bodies in acid, use power powerdrills on them, didn't execute thier families before thier eyes, and they didn't burn the bodies, drag them around the city on a rope, hold up the charred limbs, then hang the corpses from a bridge.

      If the Iraqi people get so angry over a few photos of some naked soldiers/terrorists, why isn't the American population so angry over the dead US soldier's bodies getting dismembered and waved around like a trophy? Why isn't CNN showing the population what the other side does to those it captures, civilian and military alike?

      We are playing too nice. Those photos should never have been aired on Arab TV, not until we were out of Iraq. Now the mothers/doughters/fathers/sons of soldiers in IRaq will have to fear that thier son/daughter could be killed in retaliation for something this nation should not have show on TV.

      Were the acts dispicable? Yes. Should the soldiers get the full force of military law? Yes. But WHY in the world would you go and show these photos to the people WE ARE TRYING TO HELP!

      It's lunacy! I believe in free speech, and already the US has a bit too much of a censorship power over (mainly) School textbooks. But when something can dramatically affect the fighting soldier, we should not allow such info to run! It would be like 'USA Today' running a daily map showing what operations the US soldier will do tomorrow in Baghdad.

      Also, the failure of the higher ups is bad, real bad. We should have been prepared for this. Somebody needs to get a severe reprimand if not fired for this, but I ain't saying who.

      I just think it's sad how the media risks the US soldier like that. You know how they (the Iraqis) will react, so don't show it to them. Quite simple. Show 'em afterwords, if ever. SOmetimes things don't need to be said.

      *End of rant *

      Comment


      • #4
        The sad thing is that one photo of the guy on the dog leash will do more to recruit terrorist that anything the radical Islamist could have come up with. Many perhaps even hundreds if not thousands will die over the next ten years because of that one photo.

        Aside from the obvious moral issues there is a basic operational reason we don't do this. It is always counterproductive in the long run. The people who did this are the best friends the terrorist have in the world. They have done more to support and promote and support terrorism that all the money the Saudis have poured into the terrorist organizations.

        I wonder if the Army will have a public courts martial of the officer who failed the American people in allowing this to happen.
        Boston Strong!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Army Times - Failure of Leadership

          Originally posted by Geeky Nerd
          Editorial: A failure of leadership at the highest levels

          Around the halls of the Pentagon, a term of caustic derision has emerged for the enlisted soldiers at the heart of the furor over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal: the six morons who lost the war.

          Indeed, the damage done to the U.S. military and the nation as a whole by the horrifying photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees at the notorious prison is incalculable.

          But the folks in the Pentagon are talking about the wrong morons.
          Beyond this, the writer of this editorial descends to a point not worthy of notice or regard. Regardless of the manner in which Iraqi prisoners were delivered, the MPs responsible for their custody have at least a basic knowledge of what is to be done.

          Seven year old have a basic knowledge of right and wrong, of what should be and should not be done. Should we expect any less of these MPs? That there is some command responsibilty is certain. However, any claim of "I didn't know" is disingenuous at best. During my military service, when I received a prisoner into my custody, for interrogation or otherwise, I knew what was expected of me, and generally what was alloed. Does the fact that a prisoner arrived shackled and hooded mean that anything goes? Can I beat, strip, humiliate and otherwise mistreat him? No, the brightest beam of this inquiry must shine on those directly responsible. As was noted by General Taguba today, these MP were not ordered to commit the excesses which they inflicted on those prisoners, they did it of their own accord. Accountability may well extend outside Iraq, but indeed the most egregious abuses, and therefore the most severe penalties, must fall upon those MPs.

          For the writer of the editorial, I must add that they are either a provocateur or the most colossally misguided soul I have ever noted.
          Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
          (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Army Times - Failure of Leadership

            Originally posted by Geeky Nerd
            Editorial: A failure of leadership at the highest levels

            The Army Times

            I have nothing to add. Nothing more can be said clearly than this. :thumb:

            About the only thing clear in this editorial is the writer's personal agenda. Beyond that there is nothing worthy of regard.
            Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
            (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

            Comment


            • #7
              More bad news

              More bad news for Bush and Rumsfeld...

              CBS to Air U.S. Soldier's Video Diary of Iraq Abuse
              By REUTERS

              Published: May 11, 2004


              Filed at 8:20 p.m. ET

              WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An American soldier's video diary showing her disdain for Iraqi detainees who died in her charge is to be broadcast by a U.S. network on Wednesday in a further escalation of the prisoner abuse scandal that has shaken the Bush administration and provoked world outrage.

              CBS, which two weeks ago broadcast the first pictures of Iraqi prisoners being abused in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, said on Tuesday its ``60 Minutes II'' program would show video footage depicting conditions there and at another U.S.-run prison in southern Iraq called Camp Bucca.

              Photographs of Iraqi prisoners being sexually humiliated, threatened by dogs and piled into pyramids as grinning American soldiers look on have been published round the world, dealing a major setback to U.S. attempts to stabilize Iraq.

              The Pentagon has said that it has more pictures and video of abuse that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has warned may be even more shocking.

              An Islamic Web site said on Tuesday that an American civilian, Nick Berg from Philadelphia, had been beheaded by an al Qaeda leader in Iraq in revenge for the ``Satanic degradation'' of Iraqi prisoners.

              CBS said the home video did not show scenes of abuse but included comments by the soldier, whose name was not revealed to protect her identity, that make clear her dislike for the camp and the prisoners under her control.

              ``I hate it here,'' she said on the tape. ``I want to come home. I want to be a civilian again. We actually shot two prisoners today. One got shot in the chest for swinging a pole against our people on the feed team. One got shot in the arm. We don't know if the one we shot in the chest is dead yet.''

              In her video, the soldier described the hazards of Camp Bucca. ``This is a sand viper,'' she said. ``One bite will kill you in six hours. We've already had two prisoners die of it, but who cares? That's two less for me to worry about.''

              Full Story The NY Times

              This happened in Camp Bucca. The incidents of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib were not isolated cases after all. More accounts of detainee maltreatment, some far more serious and disturbing than at Abu Ghraib are emerging from smaller and secret detention camps throughout Iraq.

              _______
              Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
              --Thomas Jones
              I hate it when I see one of those road signs that says "Draw Bridge Ahead" and I don't have a pencil.
              -Lou Chiafullo

              Comment


              • #8
                For what it’s worth, Stanford did a guards/prisoners experiment in the 1970’s and found that about a third of “average” folks that are placed in the position of prison guard behaved pretty much the same way these folks in Iraq did. What does that mean? Well, it’s essentially saying that there’s nothing special about what happened in Iraq (other than the fact that they were dumb enough to take pictures)… one out of three of us would’ve probably done the same thing if placed in that type of environment.

                You can read about the study here and here, among other places.
                Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated... again...

                Comment


                • #9
                  'The Army Times' (according to National Public Radio---I have not double-checked this info due to being at work), is NOT run by the U.S. Army, but is instead a privately held company owned by the same group who runs USA TODAY.

                  I point that out to show that: No, the U.S. Army does not usually practice the art of throwing Rumsfeld, or any other Sec. Def., under the bus.

                  Has the Pope demanded that the 'religious' leaders fomenting much of the uprising against the coalition's attempts to bring democracy to Iraq--need to apologize for the atrocities being committed on a daily basis by their underlings? Has France?

                  What happened to those Iraqi prisoners was indeed a failure of leadership, and was also a significant failure in the morals department of those who participated. They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the UCMJ. They do not represent American ideals, practices, or norms of behavior. It should be noted, however, that while America is not hesitating to prosecute those who participated in these heinous acts, we do so knowing very well that there will be no reciprocation on the part of those anti-American Iraqis who are doing their level-best to ensure that their chance at liberty is wasted via terror attacks, abductions of civilian non-combatants, in addition to torturing and/or killing of same civilian non-combatants.

                  It's a mess in Iraq, to be sure, but the coalition of the willing didn't cause these problems. They were caused by decades of Iraq being held hostage by a tyrannical regime. All we can honestly be blamed for is for taking longer to fix things than originally-planned.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 11bgod
                    'The Army Times' (according to National Public Radio---I have not double-checked this info due to being at work), is NOT run by the U.S. Army, but is instead a privately held company owned by the same group who runs USA TODAY.

                    I point that out to show that: No, the U.S. Army does not usually practice the art of throwing Rumsfeld, or any other Sec. Def., under the bus.

                    Has the Pope demanded that the 'religious' leaders fomenting much of the uprising against the coalition's attempts to bring democracy to Iraq--need to apologize for the atrocities being committed on a daily basis by their underlings? Has France?

                    What happened to those Iraqi prisoners was indeed a failure of leadership, and was also a significant failure in the morals department of those who participated. They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the UCMJ. They do not represent American ideals, practices, or norms of behavior. It should be noted, however, that while America is not hesitating to prosecute those who participated in these heinous acts, we do so knowing very well that there will be no reciprocation on the part of those anti-American Iraqis who are doing their level-best to ensure that their chance at liberty is wasted via terror attacks, abductions of civilian non-combatants, in addition to torturing and/or killing of same civilian non-combatants.

                    It's a mess in Iraq, to be sure, but the coalition of the willing didn't cause these problems. They were caused by decades of Iraq being held hostage by a tyrannical regime. All we can honestly be blamed for is for taking longer to fix things than originally-planned.
                    Yes, each of the four papers are privately owned and not at all accountable to the DoD or the requisite service. Certainly they wish to remain on as good terms as possible, in order to have as free an access as they may, but this does not preclude exposes or other negative reporting, if they decide it is something they wish to report
                    Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                    (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, if the American news media showed things as they are, the American public might (might, but probably not) get a bit more outraged over mutilated bodies in the streets, but they don't want (and the FCC and DoD don't want) pictures shown that might lessen morale overall, so we get sanitized quick-pics of nothing pre-empted with a warning 'it may be graphic for some viewers'. Add that to the fact most Americans don't really care what goes on once you cross an Ocean, stir in a little apathy for the war in general, high gas prices, inching interest rates, job losses, soccer practice for Johnny, piano lessons for Susie, getting dinner ready... and who cares what happens on the opposite side of the world... hmmm... looks like something burning or blown up in Iraq... nothing new... I've got a headache, the report is due tomorrow, why is the dog digging in the trash can...
                      If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by chrisvalla
                        Well, if the American news media showed things as they are, the American public might (might, but probably not) get a bit more outraged over mutilated bodies in the streets, but they don't want (and the FCC and DoD don't want) pictures shown that might lessen morale overall, so we get sanitized quick-pics of nothing pre-empted with a warning 'it may be graphic for some viewers'. Add that to the fact most Americans don't really care what goes on once you cross an Ocean, stir in a little apathy for the war in general, high gas prices, inching interest rates, job losses, soccer practice for Johnny, piano lessons for Susie, getting dinner ready... and who cares what happens on the opposite side of the world... hmmm... looks like something burning or blown up in Iraq... nothing new... I've got a headache, the report is due tomorrow, why is the dog digging in the trash can...
                        This is so . . . it is well known that the media, worldwide, tend to have a fixed agenda, and tend to follow it rather narrowly. Military valor, military integrity, military integrity - all foreign to the average TV or newspaper "journalist" are just words, and worth nothing to them. In their opinion, the military exists only to provide them with lost of blood, gore, violence, and destruction for their news story. Why the fighting is occurring is irrelevan, after all, they are only pursuing some journalistic award, or hoping to be able to demand more money, get details for a blockbuster expose of a book. Maybe even get their own daily news program, or even a talk show. This the garden variety "journalist". If the had to do a simple regular new story, with no possible benefit to them, I doubt their ability to do so..
                        Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                        (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

                        Comment

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