Friday, April 14, 2006

The dance continues

First, let me say that it is wonderful to have thoughtful and cogent readers. Someone -- who commented anonymously but nonetheless wrote a well thought out response -- posted on my latest Rumsfeld post. I find it interesting I even have readers; I find it interesting I have intelligent readers; I find it interesting we can agree and disagree and still respect each other. Of course, I'm always interested in who is reading & commenting, and anonymous posts don't help satisfy my curiousity... however... Still, nice to know I haven't drawn too many flamers... ;-)

If you haven't read the Rumsfeld piece & the comment, do. The commenter seeks to start a dialogue, I think. He concludes by writing, "I welcome your thoughts and commentary."

As to my thoughts... I think the Secretary has done some great things for the Department. His vision for transforming the military is on-the-mark. By the same token, my own belief is he dropped the ball on the whole Iraqi "thing," perhaps being too caught up in his (& Wolfowitz's) plans for taking out the competition. On the one hand, I agree; Rumsfeld is brilliant; a visionary. On the other hand, well, is there any chance we could have him focus twenty years out and let somebody else handle the here-and-present thru to the next, say, five years?

And, as to the dance continuing, there's this beauty (from Salon) making the rounds:
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was personally involved in the late 2002 interrogation of a high-value al-Qaida detainee known in intelligence circles as "the 20th hijacker." He also communicated weekly with the man in charge of the interrogation, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the controversial commander of the Guantánamo Bay detention center.

During the same period, detainee Mohammed al-Kahtani suffered from what Army investigators have called "degrading and abusive" treatment by soldiers who were following the interrogation plan Rumsfeld had approved. Kahtani was forced to stand naked in front of a female interrogator, was accused of being a homosexual, and was forced to wear women's underwear and to perform "dog tricks" on a leash. He received 18-to-20-hour interrogations during 48 of 54 days...

These disclosures are contained in a Dec. 20, 2005, Army inspector general's report on Miller's conduct, which was obtained this week by Salon through the Freedom of Information Act. The 391-page document -- which has long passages blacked out by the government -- concludes that Miller should not be punished for his oversight role in detainee operations, a fact that was reported last month by Time magazine. But the never-before-released full report also includes the transcripts of interviews with high-ranking military officials that shed new light on the role that Rumsfeld and Miller played in the harsh treatment of Kahtani, who had met with Osama bin Laden on several occasions and received terrorist training in al-Qaida camps.
From Reuters, this in reply:
Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, dismissed the report's allegation that Rumsfeld or the defense department condoned abuse.
Reuters also quotes a Pentagon spokesman as saying Salon's reporting is "fiction."

Can we try for a little transparency, please?

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