Return of Convicted Abu Ghraib Abuser Halted

Bump and Update: 10:00 am. The deployment of Santos Cardona has been stopped. But, it was not because of concern of what he might do to others. It was because of concern others might try to harm him.

Original Post:

If this weren't so totally disgusting, it would be comical. Time Magazine reports Sgt. Santos Cardona (holding the dog in the picture) is headed back to Iraq for another tour of duty -- this time to train Iraqi police:

Sgt. Santos Cardona, 32, a military policeman from Fullerton, Calif., served in 2003 and 2004 at Abu Ghraib as a military dog handler. After pictures of Cardona using the animal to threaten Iraqis were made public, he was convicted in May of dereliction of duty and aggravated assault, the equivalent of a felony in the U.S. civilian justice system. The prosecution demanded prison time, but a military judge instead imposed a fine and reduction in rank. Though Cardona was not put behind bars, he was also required to serve 90 days of hard labor at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

According to former senior U.S. military officers and others interviewed by TIME, sending a convicted abuser back to Iraq to train local police sends the wrong signal at a time when the U.S. is trying to bolster the beleagured government in Baghdad, where the horrors of Abu Ghraib are far from forgotten. "If news of this deployment is accurate, it represents appallingly bad judgment," says retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who commanded a division in the first Gulf War. "The symbolic message perceived in Iraq will likely be that the U.S. is simply insensitive to the abuse of their prisoners."

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  • Display: Sort:
    So it goes with PNACism (none / 0) (#1)
    by chemoelectric on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 01:24:37 AM EST
    The perceived message will be the intended message. You might call it 'Boykin Symbolism'.

    or (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jen M on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 07:16:11 AM EST
    the higher ups want him gone

    It's not a ploy; it's to deploy (none / 0) (#4)
    by David at Kmareka on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 07:39:16 AM EST
    Sending this soldier back to Iraq likely speaks to how hard up the military is for troops they can put on the ground in Iraq.  That's another reason to begin a phased withdrawal.  A great many of the troops presently on the ground are overtaxed and ought to have been sent home long ago.  They seem to be falling faster than they can be replaced, and there has never really been adequate numbers of them to do the job they were ostensibly sent to do.  What a debacle!

    Let me get this straight. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Skyho on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 08:18:57 AM EST

    The military punishes some dude for being a "bad apple" and treating the indigents like, uh, fertilizer.

    After punishing him, they send him back in?  But, but,

    wouldn't that be like the Catholic Church, on hearing a priest diddled with boys, punished him, then put him in charge of the boys choir?

    Are we okay with this?

    xx (1.00 / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 08:20:47 AM EST
    Don't you folks believe in rehab? Done his time, etc.

    And no skyho, it isn't the same.


    but (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jen M on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 08:25:50 AM EST
    he doesn't WANT to go back

    Falling faster... (none / 0) (#13)
    by desertswine on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:16:16 PM EST
    They seem to be falling faster than they can be replaced, and there has never really been adequate numbers of them to do the job they were ostensibly sent to do.  What a debacle!

    There are eleven dead already this month. And it's only the third.

    So, (none / 0) (#14)
    by scribe on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 12:18:18 PM EST
    he's in Kuwait with his unit, and they're going forward without him.

    Yet another perversity, on multiple levels.

    Troops who don't want to go back to Iraq will get the message that the way to stay out of country is to commit some infraction - minor enough to get some sentence and notoriety, but not so major as to result in hard prison time.

    He'll be resented wherever he goes, because he won't have to carry the same load as other soldiers.  Committing crimes is a guarantee of easier duty.

    What the Army will do?  Wait until after the election and the furor dies down, then send him into Iraq to rejoin his unit.  They'll just put him on some "ash and trash" for a week or two.

    And, now, the Torture Act will help the Army deal with personnel problems such as the ones he's created (by being convicted) because, going forward, those acts aren't crimes anymore....  So future soldiers looking for an easy out will have to be more extreme than he was.  

    And, he can (or the Army can force him to) apply for a vacation of the conviction, because, after all the Torture Act immunized all those war crimes retroactively.  Particularly where, as in his case, he built some semblance of a factual record that he was "following orders".

    No conviction, no problem.