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Army Rejected Sending Lawyer to Supervise Prison Camp

by TChris

Nobody should need to hear a legal opinion in order to understand that it's wrong to degrade and humiliate prisoners, but some are asking whether Pentagon officials blew it by rejecting a plan to send Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) to help supervise the unit responsible for prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. Buyer, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves, volunteered for the assignment.

In a telephone interview Friday with The Associated Press, Buyer said military officials all the way up to the Joint Chiefs of Staff had approved his assignment to the 800th Military Police Brigade, which has handled Iraqi prisoners of war since the beginning of the conflict.

Buyer had experience, having served as a lawyer at a POW camp during the first Gulf War. Nonetheless, the Army decided that Buyer's "high-profile status could bring danger to the troops around him." In retrospect, the decision not to take advantage of Buyer's experience brought danger to prisoners who were at the mercy of poorly supervised troops.

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