Iraqi Prisoner Abuse

Timeline: Iraq Prison Abuse Scandal

Thursday, May 06, 2004

The following is a list of important dates in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal:


• June 30: Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski named commander of all military prisons in Iraq.

• Aug. 31-Sept. 9: A team of counter-terrorism experts investigating prisoner interrogations in Iraq concludes that although the prisons should provide a "safe, secure and humane environment that supports the expeditious collection of intelligence, … it is essential that the guard force be actively engaged in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of the internees."

• October: The 372nd Military Police Company ordered to guard Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

• Oct. 13-Nov. 6: A team of military police and legal and medical experts reviews the prison system in Iraq; it concludes that there are possible manpower, training and human rights problems that should be addressed immediately.


• Jan. 13: A Member of the 800th Military Police Brigade tells superiors about prison abuses, and Pentagon officials are informed. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is told a day or so later. Shortly afterward, Rumsfeld tells Bush.

• Jan. 14: U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, opens criminal investigation of abuses.

• Jan. 16: U.S. Central Command announces that an investigation of prison abuses is underway.

• Jan. 17: Sanchez formally advises Karpinski that there are serious deficiencies in her command and that the performance reflects a lack of leadership. Karpinski is later suspended from duty.

• Jan. 19: Sanchez asks for a high-level review of prison procedures.

• Jan. 24: Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, U.S. ground forces commander in Iraq, is directed to conduct the review.

• Jan. 31: Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba is named chief investigator on the review.

• Feb. 2: Taguba and his team visit Abu Ghraib.

• March 3: Taguba's preliminary findings are presented to McKiernan; they point to members of the 372nd Military Police Company and intelligence operatives as the abusers.

• March 13: The Army's Criminal Investigation Division charges six soldiers with counts ranging from conspiracy to indecent acts.

• April 6: McKiernan approves some report recommendations, including letters of reprimand for six MPs and noncommissioned officers; two are relieved of duties.

• April 28: "60 Minutes II" shows photographs of prisoners forced to engage in simulated sex acts.

• May 3: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) asks Pentagon officials to testify before his committee the next day.

• May 4: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld says those responsible will be brought to justice and widens investigations of prisons outside Iraq and Afghanistan. National security advisor Condoleezza Rice tells the Arab world that the abuses will be investigated and the perpetrators punished. Army officials give Senate committee a private briefing.

• May 5: President Bush appears on two Arab television channels, saying those responsible for the abuses will be brought to justice. Rumsfeld agrees to testify before the Senate committee on May 7.


After reading this report it would seem that the Army was on top of the abuse charges since January, has investigated the charges, and taken appropriate action against those involved in the abuse. The situation has been under control and disciplinary action has been taken as the investigation continues.

Do we really know what the truth is from the photos? The media has played it as "torture" but there is no evidence of torture here. There is only humiliation and softening of prisoners prior to interrogation. It would seem that some prison guards got carried away and started enjoying themselves too much by what we see in the pics. How do we know that the Iraqis in the photos are not the same ones who were inflicting torture on innocent citizens under Saddam and were simply getting some of what they dished out? How do we know that these prisoners weren’t in prison for attempting or succeeding in killing American soldiers and civilians? How do we really know that these prisoners were not, in fact, partying and having a sex orgy with the guards?

The point is, we don't know what were the conditions of these photos and just assume the worst. Should we be coddling these prisoners, make them comfortable, and apologizing to them? Maybe we should be apologizing to Saddam Hussein as well. These prisoners had information that needed to be extracted from them to protect the lives of American soldiers and they were in the prison for a reason. What happened in these photos was nothing that doesn't happen all over the world and certainly nothing that people living in Islamic countries haven't seen many times before and engaged in under their dictators. The difference is, we do not condone it and are taking disciplinary action against those responsible for it. This was being done long before the photos were published.

Today on the Rush Limbaugh program, Rush asked his listeners if they were upset about this issue and asked them to call into the show to express exactly what part of the issue they were upset about. Was it the abuse itself, was it the propaganda factor, was it the embarrassment for our country, etc? I didn't hear the whole show but in all the coverage of this issue that I have heard, there seems to be one thing missing.

The one thing that upsets me the most about this is; how did CBS get a hold of these pictures and why did they release them to the public knowing the damage it would do to our country and the troops in Iraq? This is not a new news story, it has been in the media since January. Did CBS irresponsibly release these photos to enhance their story and boost their failing ratings or is it something more?

This would seem to fall right into the pattern that CBS has been showing with their Reagan movie, their promotion of anti-Bush books on 60 Minutes, their Super Bowl half time show, and their overall liberal views expressed in their programming and news coverage. The world didn't need to see these photos. The American people and the rest of the world doesn't have to know and see everything that our intelligence and defense departments are doing as is being demanded by the Democrats with their persistent investigations of everything that happens under the Bush Administration. We didn’t see any of this during the Clinton Administration with the excepting of Clintons affair with Monica Lewenski. Maybe if we had known what was going on with the intelligence agencies then, we could have prevented 911 from ever happening. As I see it, the release of these damaging photos was done for no other reason than to undermine a Republican President and the War On Terror.

Apologies by Bush, General Kimmett, Sanchez, or anyone else isn't going to do any good. The Islamic nation hates us for who and what we are and since the liberals have already made pornography a part of our culture, these photos only reinforce that view and the Islamic media is portraying us as sexual predators praying on their people. CBS has provided them with the proof and the propaganda to support that belief.

Of course CBS will defend their right to publish the photos sighting the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Does the First Amendment also protect acts of treason? CBS has given aid and comfort to the enemy during a war by releasing these photos and done irreparable damage to our country. This is not "responsible journalism", it is anti-American propaganda and CBS should be held accountable. CBS owes the American people an apology and that's the only apology that really counts or matters.