A fish rots from the head down …

… until it’s just a big, stinking, oozing pile of offal:

The experts also point out that the man who directed the reopening of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq last year and trained the guards there resigned under pressure as director of the Utah Department of Corrections in 1997 after an inmate died while shackled to a restraining chair for 16 hours. The inmate, who suffered from schizophrenia, was kept naked the whole time.

The Utah official, Lane McCotter, later became an executive of a private prison company, one of whose jails was under investigation by the Justice Department when he was sent to Iraq as part of a team of prison officials, judges, prosecutors and police chiefs picked by Attorney General John Ashcroft to rebuild the country’s criminal justice system.

From the NYT, by way of Josh Marshall. Doesn’t The Pentagon check backgrounds on people before they hire them for jobs like running prisons in Iraq? Yes, I’m sure such checks are routine, but the question is what they are checking for.


P.S. Speaking of Abu Ghraib, be sure to read this post by Ogged of Unfogged.

UPDATE: If you want to read just one heart-tugging story this weekend, I recommend this one on Pat Tillman’s funeral (Max is definitely right about Ted Rall.) It is, of course, not a happy story, but it does show the human side of the Americans fighting and dying in Iraq and around the world.