Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Putting Out Fires

The Pentagon's Lawrence DiRita has been putting out a few fires recently. The latest is the Newsweek retraction, but that got me to looking. I think this is an interesting one too:
It seems that the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First, two fringe groups in the eyes of most of the right wingnuts, have filed suit against Donald Rumsfeld concerning prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Justice Department will defend Rumsfeld. Go figure that one out. I thought the Justice Department were prosecutors, not defense attorneys. But anyway...
DiRita is quoted in this excerpt:

In response to a reporter’s question, the spokesman said the Justice Department will evaluate the claim to determine what the next steps will be. Even though Defense Department officials have concluded “there’s just no basis for any of these claims,” DiRita said the Justice Department “will determine the way forward on this.”
He went on to say none of the investigations “that have been conducted concluded that there was a policy of abuse.”
A March 1 department release stated that there have been multiple investigations into various aspects of detainee abuse. There have been eight major reviews, inspections and investigations with three more still under way.
The release said the department “has demonstrated a record that credible allegations of illegal conduct by U.S. military personnel are taken seriously and investigated.”
More than 100 service members have already undergone, or are undergoing, disciplinary proceedings for actions taken against prisoners as part of the global War on Terror.
According to the department release: “No policies or procedures approved by the Secretary of Defense were intended as, or could conceivably have been interpreted as, a policy of abuse, or as condoning abuse.”

So if I read this correctly, it could not conceivably have been understood by soldiers on the field that the Pentagon expected them to torture or abuse prisoners. Wherever there was torture, the soldiers themselves because of their cold, illegal, criminal hearts, did the dirty work. The Pentagon hands are clean.
If that is the starting point for any investigations, how would it be possible to spot dirt?
Official Pentagon policy: Punish those who get caught but don't try to catch anyone responsible.
You right wingnuts can criticize this all you want, but you know this is what is going on. You know the little guys and gals are getting shafted for doing what they were told to do by a chain of command that is unbroken from these little people all the way to the White House.


Blogger The Humanity Critic said...

Just passing through, great blog by the way. I am definitely digging it.

2:59 PM, May 17, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the purpose of the Attorney General (and hence the justice department) to defend the United States in court. That's why they are backing Rumsfeld. Did you expect the government to prosecute itself?

9:42 AM, May 20, 2005  
Blogger Bill said...

Thank you HC! Stop by any time and feel free to say anything at all.
Anonymous, the answer is yes, I do expect that if, in fact, someone within government has or appears to have abused power. If I am not mistaken, the Justice Department oversees the FBI, the US's chief crime investigation unit. It is the duty of the FBI and the Justice Department to defend the people of the United States against those who commit federal crimes.
Wasn't the Valerie Plame investigation turned over to the Justice Department for investigation?
My question is if it is the job of the Justice Department to defend government officials against accusations of the abuse of their power, whose job is it to prosecute such officials? And if it is the job of the Justice Department to both investigate and defend government officials against charges by we the people, isn't that a conflict of interest? The Justice Department has access to classified government information. We don't unless Congress appoints special investigators.
Is government so short-sighted that it has never provided any means to investigate and prosecute corruption within itself?

11:36 AM, May 20, 2005  
Blogger Casimira said...

Official Pentagon policy: Punish those who get caught but don't try to catch anyone responsible.

I would have to wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

12:06 AM, May 24, 2005  

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