Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cutting the heart out

Seymour Hersh (Sy to his friends) has another piece in The New Yorker exposing the essential corruption of the administration, particularly in its handling of the war and related issues. This time, Hersh focuses on Gen. Antonio Taguba's investigation of the horrors at abu Ghraib.

The thing is, Taguba played it straight and told the truth. We might say that he upheld the honor of the US Army in the way he conducted himself--something to retrieve the shame visited upon the institution and the nation by what went on at abu Ghraib.

So, what happened to Gen. Taguba? Rumsfeld and company made sure that his military career ended abruptly, of course, and stuffed his report in a drawer.

We can talk about the cover-up, the scapegoating of a few enlisted personnel, the way that the events at the prison outside Kabul caused incalculable damage to America's position in the world. But at least as important is the example of Gen. Taguba, sacrificed for doing his duty. What does that say to everyone else in the United States Army, and the other military forces as well? What does it say about honor and professionalism?

When this administration is but a sad memory, when the prosecutions are finally over, the nation will still depend on our military to protect us from the very real threats that will continue for decades. The damage done to the military establishment by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et als, will be felt--very likely in the form of dead Americans--long after the malefactors are gone.

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