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It's Not a Game: Blame Rumsfeld

by TChris

When the military plays the blame game, the blame rolls downhill. Capt. Ian Fishback, the primary source of information about detainee abuse in a recent Human Rights Watch report, fears that military investigators are making no serious effort to trace knowledge of or participation in the abuse up the chain of command.

"I'm convinced this is going in a direction that's not consistent with why we came forward," Captain Fishback said in a telephone interview from Fort Bragg, N.C., where he is going through Army Special Forces training. "We came forward because of the larger issue that prisoner abuse is systemic in the Army. I'm concerned this will take a new twist, and they'll try to scapegoat some of the younger soldiers. This is a leadership problem."

Speaking of leadership problems, Donald Rumsfeld assures us that somebody's head will roll. We can be sure it won't be the Donald's.

The Army stalled its investigation of Fishback's complaints until Fishback got the attention of Sen. McCain. Rumsfeld doesn't know anything about it, he says, but bravely asserts that the military is taking the abuse reports seriously. Translation: we're out of stall mode and into blame-a-few-rogue-soldiers mode.

Fishback was interrogated soon after the military learned that he was speaking to Senate aides, and he was interrogated repeatedly after it learned that HRW was going public with his complaints. The investigators want to know the names of the individuals who corroborated his reports, but Fishback has honored his promise not to divulge their identities.

"They're asking the same questions over and over again," he said. "They want the names of the sergeants, and they keep asking about my relationship with Human Rights Watch."

Investigators have threatened Fishback with criminal prosecution if he doesn't nark on the soldiers he persuaded to talk to HRW.

Captain Fishback said the investigators who have questioned him in the past 10 days seemed to be less interested in individuals he identified in his chain of command who allegedly committed the abuses.

One might hope that investigators would be less obsessed with outing HRW's sources and more interested in the details of Fishback's observations. Fishback is right about the failure of leadership. Has Sen. McCain heard enough? Is he ready to investigate Rumsfeld's military mismanagement?

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  • Re: It's Not a Game: Blame Rumsfeld (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:23 PM EST
    FWIW, Rumsfield claims to have submitted his resignation to the President twice and had his efforts rebuffed.

    Re: It's Not a Game: Blame Rumsfeld (none / 0) (#2)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:23 PM EST
    If Rumsfeld claims that then it must be false.

    Re: It's Not a Game: Blame Rumsfeld (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:23 PM EST
    Bush tried to hand in HIS resignation, and Rumsfeld clocked him (the famous 'pretzel' incident).

    Re: It's Not a Game: Blame Rumsfeld (none / 0) (#4)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:23 PM EST
    Why does Capt. Ian Fishback hate america? And how on Earth can Shrub deny Rummy his out? Handcuffs? Forced sychoactive drug addiction? I mean, I have left a few jobs in my time, and I was never told my the existing power structure "too bad, you cannot quit." Even Nixon could quit! (BTW ohwilleke, don't apologize for Rummy, that is in poor taste)

    Re: It's Not a Game: Blame Rumsfeld (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:26 PM EST
    Just wondering how long before the Army decides to crucify Capt. Fishback. It's just a matter of months.