No Excuse

Today’s Guardian gives some details about the investigative reporting done by Seymour Hersh on the prisoner abuse crimes in Iraq and Guantanamo. He appears to have evidence that Rice, Rumsfeld, and senior members of the CIA had personal knowledge of the crimes that US soldiers were perpetrating against suspects.

Bush team ‘knew of abuse’ at Guantánamo

Evidence of prisoner abuse and possible war crimes at Guantánamo Bay reached the highest levels of the Bush administration as early as autumn 2002, but Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, chose to do nothing about it, according to a new investigation published exclusively in the Guardian today.

…A CIA analyst visited Guantánamo in summer 2002 and returned “convinced that we were committing war crimes” and that “more than half the people there didn’t belong there. He found people lying in their own faeces,” a CIA source told Hersh.

The analyst submitted a report to General John Gordon, an aide to Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush’s national security adviser. Gen Gordon was troubled, and, one former administration official told Hersh “that if the actions at Guantánamo ever became public, it’d be damaging to the president”.

Ms Rice saw the document by autumn of the same year, and called a high-level meeting at which she asked Mr Rumsfeld, to deal with the problem.

But after he vowed to act, “the Pentagon went into a full-court stall”, a former White House official is quoted as saying. “Why didn’t Condi do more? She made the same mistake I made. She got the secretary of defence to say he’s going to take care of it.”

Part of being a grownup is accepting responsibility for your actions, yet the Bush administration insists on behaving like blame-shifting children. Failure after failure happens in this administration, and there is never, never any acceptance of responsibility. Not a single person in the Bush administration has lost their job over acknowledged failures in preventing 9/11, providing WMD intelligence on Iraq, planning for and running post-war Iraq, or overseeing the care of the prisoners of the US government. Throughout it all, the mantra in the Bush administration has remained unchanged: “it’s not our fault.” Even when it clearly is.