Army Specialist Charles Graner Jr. was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Jan. 15 for his involvement in abuse at Abu Ghraib prison – accusations included punching and arranging prisoners in humiliating positions. Graner is one of seven Army Reservists from the 372nd Military Police Company who will eventually face trial. Media coverage sparked widespread shock in the American public on the actions of American troops.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld twice offered his resignation to President George W. Bush amidst the outbreak of the Abu Ghraib accusations.
The U.S. Government labeled the abuse as isolated incidents of a few out-of-control soldiers. But those accused MPs are being punished for methods stemming from intelligence demands in the Pentagon.
The Iraqi war has been a gross display of war management, and the United States struggles to control insurgent attacks. Failed military operations, due to delayed responses from legal barriers within the political system, posed a frustrating obstacle to Rumsfeld. The inefficient methods pressured him to apply a Special Access Program to the Iraqi war-effort. The highly secure program allowed for quicker responses to time-sensitive operations using code words.
“Copper Green,” the SAP applied in Iraq encouraged coercion through physical means – including sexual humiliation – to retrieve more intelligence information from Iraqi prisoners. The Taguba Report, an internal Army investigation, documents evidence that “Copper Green” was followed by our troops. The MPs present at Abu Ghraib were not trained for internee operations or prisoner interrogation. Yet, according to the Taguba Report, MPs were instructed, “It is essential that the guard force be actively engaged in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of the internees.”
“The wing belonged to Miltary Intelligence and it appeared MI personnel approved of the abuse,” Sergeant Javal S. Davis of the 372nd MP Company said, after witnessing morally questionable treatment of prisoners by MI officers. The MPs were inadequately trained and unaware of the special agenda of MI.
MPs are the daily exposed targets of the Iraqi insurgents’ attacks. War is brutally emotional, and controlling urges to hurt the enemy are difficult – particularly when those urges coincide with the actions of superiors. Military intelligence is given the privilege of dishing out that brutality and are somehow considered more worthy of the government’s protection than the MPs.
In focusing on prisoner abuse, we have ignored the abuse of our own troops. Rumsfeld sacrificed those MPs to the media hounds, and should resign. If this war is based on principles, then we should punish the abandonment of our troops by Rumsfeld.
McLean can be reachd at email@example.com.