Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller a Casualty of Guanatamo

Major General Geoffrey Miller, former commander of Guantanamo, has resigned. You can read his letter here. (pdf.)

Miller chose to retire without seeking promotion and a third star, in large part because his legacy has been tarnished by allegations of abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, according to military officials and congressional sources. Miller had hoped to retire in February, but his departure was delayed because members of the Senate Armed Services Committee wanted to question him while he was still in uniform about his role in implementing harsh interrogation techniques at the two prisons.

Miller was allowed to retire only after he assured members of the Senate panel in writing that he would make himself available to testify if called. Congressional sources from both political parties said yesterday that they were not satisfied with several investigations into Miller's actions while he was commander at Guantanamo Bay and are still skeptical of his truthfulness in Senate testimony after the Abu Ghraib abuse surfaced in spring 2004.

I have no sympathy for Maj. Gen. Miller.

While the top officer at Guantanamo Bay in 2002 and 2003, Miller implemented and oversaw a number of harsh interrogation tactics that included the use of dogs to frighten Arab detainees, and stripping captives naked and shackling them in stress positions to force them to talk. Such tactics later were used in Iraq, shortly after Miller and a team of experts visited in 2003 to help obtain more information during interrogations.

Miller has said he did not authorize interrogation techniques in Iraq. But according to slides he presented to Pentagon officials upon his return, he used his Guantanamo Bay experience as a baseline for suggestions such as having military police who guarded the detainees set the conditions for more fruitful interrogations. Weeks later, military police soldiers at Abu Ghraib took pictures of themselves using harsh and demeaning tactics similar to those at Guantanamo Bay.

If only Rumsfeld would have had the decency to resign next.

All he gave up was his hope of a third star. He keeps his pension. What about these prisoners who were abused at Abu Ghraib? What do they get?

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    He probably retired early because he felt the heat coming on. Better to retire while you can at two stars, rather than wait around for one! Of course, he probably knows better than I, they can always call you back to active duty for a court martial, but he is just playing the odds against that happening.

    Re: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller a Casualty of Guanat (none / 0) (#2)
    by john horse on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 04:08:36 AM EST
    Miller was allowed to retire only after he assured members of the Senate panel in writing that he would make himself available to testify if called.
    When, pray tell, will Congress start holding hearings on Iraq. For example, per the Washington Post (from David Corn) we know that Republican Senator Roberts keeps dragging his feet on conducting an investigation on Iraqi prewar intelligence. The lack of investigations has nothing to do with doing whats right but everything to do with keeping hold of political power.

    Re: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller a Casualty of Guanat (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 07:05:48 AM EST
    Frankly, I think there is no excuse for any of Miller's conduct. He deserves neither sympathy, pardon, nor mitigation. Likewise, until he admits everything, he deserves no forgiveness, either. He's a general officer - having been confirmed to that rank by the Senate BTW (and that's not just as a pro forma sign-off on a promotion list; it's officer by officer to become a general) - and he should have known better. Any allegation that he let his vigor to get back at the AQ for 9/11 or similar is just so much hooey. Part of his job is to exercise prudent judgment in directing operations. He didn't. Rather, he suspended humanity and any reference to the rule of law, in favor of rule by Unitary whim. Frankly, IMHO he understood exactly what Rummy and the Unit wanted. I think there is little room for contradicting that they wanted to make the US military feared and try to overcome the terrists by scaring them so badly they'd wet their pants and go home. That and, being deprived of the opportunity for show trials of the 19 9/11 hijackers, they wanted to shed some blood and to do that in the most painful way. One does not get to be a general by not understanding and becoming, in a throughgoingly deep manner, the hierarchical system which is the military. Part and parcel of that is understanding what the boss wants, before he says it and even when the boss does not verbalize it, even before the boss thinks it. Miller was the tool to that end. Moreover, Miller was specifically chosen for that job. It beggars belief to say that, for the project guaranteed to become one of the most controversial, and to hold those whom the Unit calls the "worst of the worst", just any old guy (or even any old general) would be selected for that spot. Rather, using the twenty-plus years of records on the personnel available to be in that job, IMHO the folks doing the selecting picked Miller, the guy they thought was right, appropriate guy for the purpose the Unit and Rummy wanted to accomplish. After years of sieving out those deemed unsuitable for the job at hand, Miller was the residue they sought. Miller's about as innocent in all this as are Yoo, Rummy, Haynes, Deadeye, Addington, and the Unit. Which is to say, "not at all".

    Re: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller a Casualty of Guanat (none / 0) (#4)
    by John Mann on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 07:28:33 AM EST
    John Horse wondered:
    When, pray tell, will Congress start holding hearings on Iraq.
    Why would they? Virtually all of them are in favor of the war.

    Re: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller a Casualty of Guanat (none / 0) (#5)
    by theologicus on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 12:12:20 PM EST
    I think it's more the other way around. Guantanamo was a casualty of Gen. Miller. From the article in today's NYT:
    At his retirement ceremony Monday, General Miller received the Distinguished Service Medal, which is awarded for exceptionally commendable service in a position of great responsibility, Army officials said. John Sifton, a lawyer who is a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said giving the medal to General Miller "is not just a disappointment, it's an outrage."

    I 100% agree with Scribe. Whatever negative effects accrue to General Miller b/c he has to retire early are not commensurate with his actions. I feel especially sorry for the dog handlers who were criminally prosecuted and suffered way more penalties than General Miller. The dog handlers were executing his recommendations. I've bred and trained GSD for protection. I shipped a dog to Saudi Arabia for a military guy pre 9/11. It has always been common knowledge in the dog world forever that Arabs have a particular fear of dogs. General Miller knew that and instructed his underlings to take advantage of that fear. When you look at the pictures of the dogs 'menancing ' the prisoners (if you are knowledgeable) you can see that the dogs were not truly aggitated by their body posture. The handlers got a raw deal and General Miller, Rumsfeld etc are skating.

    Re: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller a Casualty of Guanat (none / 0) (#7)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 02:38:05 PM EST
    There's a CEO position in the defense industry with his name on it. Do generals have to wait a WHOLE YEAR too to become a lobbyist? He should be arrested.

    torturing innocent civilians=exceptionally commendable service CongRATulations gen. "human" miller!