Thursday, June 24, 2004

Disgraceful Conduct, Indeed

On May 24, 2004, the Deserter characterized the conduct alleged in the burgeoning Abu Ghraib scandal as "disgraceful conduct by a few American troops." He made this statement in the midst of ongoing military investigations into the extent of the misconduct. As commander in chief, his comments threatened to prejudice these investigations, and were therefore manifestly inappropriate. It is now painfully apparent that the Deserter's comments were not only inappropriate but wrong as well.

According to the Washington Post, Company Commander Donald Reese, commander of the 372nd Military Police Company, is testifying that Col. Thomas Pappas, head of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib, was present when the coverup of the murder of a detainee was arranged. Reese testified that he heard Pappas say "I'm not going down for this alone."

Indeed, Col. Pappas is not going down for this alone. The administration that devoted a substantial part of its legal resources to justifying, rationalizing and ultimately authorizing the illegal abuse of Iraqi detainees is going down with him.

The Deserter's rash and false attribution of the Abu Ghraib misconduct to a "few troops", even as military investigations were ongoing, was plainly intended to scapegoat seven MPs and thereby limit the political damage to his administration. It was a disgrace.

How many more times will we permit this man to shame our nation?


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