Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Torture, And General Sanchez

There was an interesting headline that I read in yesterday's news. Did you see it? Likely not. Which is the other interesting thing about this headline...

On Sunday night, Gen. Ricardo Sanchez - the general who ran Iraq and was a bit skewered for being in charge during Abu Graib atrocities - was on a panel and called for a "truth commission" on the policies and practices of the Bush Administration when it comes to torture. The General described failures at all levels of civilian and military command that led to abuses in Iraq and said that is why he supports a truth commission. "This was an insitutional failure, a personal failure on the part of many," he said. "If we do not find out what happened, then we are doomed to repeat it." He also stated that, during his time in Iraq, "there was not one instance of actionable intelligence that came out of these interrogation techniqes."

Personally, I am on the fence about a truth commission. I'm not against it, but I'm not vocally for it either. I've been on my own one-person truth commission bandwagon, at least with regard to the Spokane-psychologist connection (like here, here and here), so it might be surprising that I am neutral about an official version. The bottom line, for me, is what Gen. Sanchez says: that we have to know what happened so that we do not repeat our mistakes. The question for me is whether a truth commission is the best, or only, way to get to that information.

Truth commission or no, Gen. Sanchez's words here are powerful. This is the man who was forced to retire because of the atrocities at Abu Graib. He was the fall guy. And now we find out that Abu Graib was not due to the actions of an isolated few, but was the offspring of a methodical plan by the Bush administration - either a caricature of it or (I shudder to think) a perfect model of it. That never worked. Never worked, people. Gen. Sanchez's own words: "There was not one instance of actionable intelligence that came out of these interrogation techniques."

So why have you (probably) not read this headline anywhere? Because the MSM (mainstream media) has not reported on it. I saw it here, on the Huffington Post, with all the above quotes. I searched this a.m. for news items on it... All news items are from the blogosphere. The only MSM outlet - and some would argue that it's not so MSM - appears to be Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" show on MSNBC. I love Keith, and that's great that it's on his show (Obermann clip is on the Huffington Post link) - he even interviewed the General - but this is a startling headline to me, with great quotes and one more authentic challenge to Dick Cheney's assertion that torture saved lives. Why has the MSM ignored it?

So, two headlines: Gen. Sanchez supports the call for a Truth Commission, saying that no actionable intelligence ever came from these torture techniques; and the MSM chooses to ignore him.

FYI: Sen. Patrick Leahy also calls for a Truth Commission, and encourages the signing of a petition if you support it too. Here's his website: www.bushtruthcommission.com. He has over 100,000 signatures so far.

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