Iraq prisoner abuse : Climbing up the food chain
“We need to take this up as far as it goes, and we need to do it quickly,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. RumsfeldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s prospects in the war on terror.
The May 24 edition of Newsweek says that a memo written by White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales after the Sept. 11 attacks may have established the legal foundation that allowed for abusive treatment.
The arrogance and reclusive secrecy of the Bushies has alienated even their supposed allies in the Senate.
As the White House struggles to get beyond the prisoner abuse scandal, it faces an unsettling fact: The Senate Armed Services Committee Ã¢â‚¬” controlled by Republicans Ã¢â‚¬” plans to keep the issue alive for weeks to come.
The Armed Services Committee, led by 77-year-old Senate veteran John W. Warner of Virginia, has served noticed that it would not pull back, as the House Armed Services Committee has done. Instead, Warner plans extended hearings to call on the carpet such high-profile officials as Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, and L. Paul Bremer III, head of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority.
Warner and his committee believe they have been treated cavalierly by Rumsfeld and his senior aides, which they find personally and institutionally offensive.
Joe Garecht, a GOP political strategist commented
“Lawmakers like John Warner, Lindsey Graham, John McCain and others are truly angry that this situation existed, and believe that it is the Congress’ duty to reestablish America’s moral credibility abroad,” he said.
Two months before pictures of Iraqi prisoner abuse became public, the family of one accused soldier wrote to 14 members of Congress that “something went wrong” involving “mistreatment of POWs” at Abu Ghraib prison.