Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 28, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

PRISONER ABUSE IN THE 82nd....Captain Ian Fishback, the man who has made allegations of routine prisoner abuse in the 82nd Airborne Division, says the Army is more interested in the names of his informers than they are in investigating whether higher-ranking officers knew of the abuses:

Captain Fishback, speaking publicly on the matter for first time, said the investigators who have questioned him in the past 10 days seemed to be less interested in individuals he identified in his chain of command who allegedly committed the abuses.

"I'm convinced this is going in a direction that's not consistent with why we came forward," Captain Fishback said in a telephone interview from Fort Bragg, N.C.

....Last Thursday, a day after Human Rights Watch notified the 82nd Airborne that it would be releasing a copy of its report outlining the allegations, Captain Fishback said he was summoned back to Fort Bragg from field training for six hours of questioning by investigators.

The report was made public last Friday, and Captain Fishback said investigators had questioned him for about an hour on Monday and again on Tuesday. "They're asking the same questions over and over again," he said. "They want the names of the sergeants, and they keep asking about my relationship with Human Rights Watch."

Andrew Sullivan takes this story rather further:

My sources tell me that he has been subjected to a series of long, arduous interrogations by CID investigators....The investigators imply that he failed to report abuses, so he may be charged, or that he is peddling falsehoods and will be charged for that. They tell him his career in the Army is over.

....Another source informs that the word is around that Rumsfeld has taken a strong interest in this. He is quoted as saying "Either break him or destroy him, and do it quickly." And no doubt about it, that is just what they are doing. Expect some trumped up charges against Fishback soon, similar to what they did to Muslim Chaplain Captain James Yee, whom they accused of treason with no solid evidence and then, when those charges evaporated, went on to accuse him of adultery.

I have to say that an hour on Monday and again on Tuesday doesn't sound especially "arduous," and I rather doubt that Donald Rumsfeld said anything quite as melodramatic as "break him or destroy him" certainly not within earshot of anyone likely to speak to Andrew, anyway.

Still, quibbles aside, if you read both the NYT story and Andrew's post you get a pretty good picture of a military that's distinctly uninterested in investigating Fishback's allegations and is rather obviously looking for a way to discredit him. It's a disgrace. The Iraq War is destroying the U.S. military in more ways than one.

Kevin Drum 12:43 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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