ABU GHRAIB UPDATE….Is the Abu Ghraib scandal about to break wide open? John Abizaid, the CENTCOM commander, is planning to appoint a 4-star general to head up the Army’s investigation:
General Abizaid’s request, which defense officials said Mr. Rumsfeld would most likely approve, was set in motion in the last week when the current investigating officer, Maj. Gen. George R. Fay, told his superiors that he could not complete his inquiry without interviewing more senior-ranking officers, including Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the ground commander in Iraq.
But Army regulations prevent General Fay, a two-star general, from interviewing higher-ranking officers. So General Sanchez took the unusual step of asking to be removed as the reviewing authority for General Fay’s report, and requesting that higher-ranking officers be appointed to conduct and review the investigation.
So Fay needs to be replaced because the investigation has gone higher than a 2-star can conduct. And there’s more: a new witness ? possibly a high ranking one? ? has recently decided to cooperate with the investigation:
Within the last several days, an important figure in the inquiry who had previously refused to cooperate with Army investigators suddenly reversed his position and agreed to work much more closely with investigators, a senior Senate aide and a senior Pentagon official said.
That important development prompted General Fay to send some of his 29-person team back into the field to conduct more interviews, the officials said. “A key witness, a key person who’d pled the military equivalent of the Fifth has changed his attitude, and Fay is reopening the investigation,” the Senate official said.
This is potentially devastating for Bush. First, you have the possibility of high-ranking culpability, which is bad enough. But second, you have the recent leak of memos showing that even if Bush didn’t personally approve the torture, he certainly presided over a culture that was doing its best to justify it as a routine exigency of war.
That combination is deadly. And as Mark Kleiman says, if there’s also video of “horrible things done to children” at Abu Ghraib, that would be the final straw. George Bush set the tone, and he’s responsible for what happened.
Or, since he’s fond of Bible verses, let’s put it this way: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7.