RUMSFELD AND PACE….Via Tim Dunlop, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post reports on a recent exchange between Donald Rumsfeld and General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The subject was torture:
When UPI’s Pam Hess asked about torture by Iraqi authorities, Rumsfeld replied that “obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility” other than to voice disapproval.
But Pace had a different view. “It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it,” the general said.
Rumsfeld interjected: “I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it’s to report it.”
But Pace meant what he said. “If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it,” he said, firmly.
This is why Abu Ghraib happened: because of people like Rumsfeld, who insisted on cutting corners, using clever circumlocutions in place of plain language, and refusing to take a firm stand on doing the right thing. Pace is having none of it, and good for him.
The military may not always live up to its ideals, but at least they insist on having some. Rumsfeld should have been fired long ago for not understanding this.