Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Use of Dogs

In the fallout from yesterday's revelation that two charges were dropped against Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan for his role in the nightmare that has come to be known as Abu Ghraib, it was also revealed that another officer, Col. Thomas Pappas, was chastised and fined for allowing the use of dogs, during an interrogation, without first obtaining "higher approval." (AP) But, it must be asked, by whose authority can it ever be justifiable to use dogs as a method of interrogation.

Given that Pappas is acknowledged to have been the highest ranking officer at Abu Ghraib, and Jordan answered to him, investigators have every right to find out who it was, back in 2003 when these heinous acts of cruelty occurred, who gave the order to turn dogs on captives as part of an interrogation process. And, what a statement about the U.S., and the mainstream media, that we care more about the alleged execution of dogs by a football giant, Michael Vick, than we do about the exploitation of canines, as vehicles of torture, against mostly innocent Iraqi citizens, by our military.

We also want to know why it is that it took an investigator, Maj. Gen. George Fay, three years to wake up, and realize that he "misspoke" when he said he read Army Lt. Col Jordan his rights during their 2004 interview. Fay's epiphany has resulted in a military judge's decision yesterday to drop combined charges against Jordan which would result in his having to spend eight years in jail. While other counts, which mostly deal with the mistreatment of prisoners, still stand, the judge's decision effectively wipes out more than half of what would have been his sentence were the charges of obstruction of justice and making a false statement allowed to stand.

But, more importantly, how is it that some U.S. citizens are incarcerated without charge, and held in military brigs, labelled "enemy combatants," while this former director of Abu Ghraib's interrogation center is relieved of a substantial part of his sentence because the military court that tried him has decided to honor Miranda. Were the Miranda law and habeas corpus intended to apply only to those in the military?

Indeed, Lt. Col. Jordan is right to suggest he is a "scapegoat." Those who were the masterminds of that circle of horror, the photos of which will bear witness in infamy until the ends of time to the unassailable fact that the true arbiters of terror will get to live out their retirement years in plush anonymity, and at taxpayers' expense.