Investigating the obvious

It seems that the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army have been quietly and professionally taking the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse investigation to its logical conclusion.  Reuters reports  that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commanding general of Multi—national Force, Iraq, has asked to be removed from reviewing officer responsibilities in the continuing investigation.  The Pentagon appears ready to appoint a four—star general officer, who would be able to question officers of three and four—star rank, unlike the current two—star investigating officer, Maj. Gen. George Fay.

Lawrence Di Rita, the chief Pentagon spokesman stated that

It's Sanchez saying, 'I want to be investigated. I want to make sure that I'm not missed," Di Rita said, but stopped short of saying Sanchez wanted to clear his own name. To clear his own name suggests that he's concerned his name needs to be cleared.  Di Rita said that it appears that Sanchez followed this thing carefully and did all the right things.

In reality, Sanchez may have done the right things, but he did them three times over before appropriate action was taken against the perpetrators and their leadership.  American Thinker readers may remember the detailed examination of the prison scandal, and the media's and the political left's amazing jump from the lower enlisted soldiers at the prison all the way up to the SecDef.  One could almost believe Secretary Rumsfeld had covertly appointed himself as an MP Platoon Leader, given the logic displayed in last month's witch hunt.

What was glossed—over in the media frenzy was that, according to the Taguba Report, there were no less than three investigations of potential prisoner abuse: Army CID, Maj. Gen. Ryder's investigation, and finally, Maj. Gen. Taguba's detailed investigation. 

In fact, the original batch of abuse photos was obtained during the CID investigation, which was conducted from October through December of 2003.  In addition to remaining in CID custody, the photos were also given to the Multi—national Force, Iraq's (formerly CJTF—7) Staff Judge Advocate.  Two more investigations followed, which resulted only in a letter of admonishment for the hapless BG Karpinski, commander of the 800th MP Brigade, and whose MPs were manning Abu Ghraib Prison.

Therefore, a reasonable person may ask, why did Lt. Gen. Sanchez require three investigations spanning the October 2003 to the March 2004 timeframe, in order to take action and fix the problems at the prison?

Another problem for Lt. Gen Sanchez was his Fragmentary Order (FRAGO) placing the Commander of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade in charge of the prison.  The Reuters article says

Sanchez last year ordered military intelligence to take control of Abu Ghraib, but has denied knowledge of the abuse before the chain of command was notified in January.

Lt. Gen. Sanchez issued the FRAGO on November 19, 2003, while the CID was well into the second month of its three month investigation.  Presumably, the documentation and photographic evidence of the CID investigation was secured in the Staff Judge Advocate's office sometime in December.  That Sanchez was not notified of the abuse until January of 2004 is certainly possible, but once aware of this serious situation, he could have rescinded the FRAGO and taken further action to restore order in the prison.  Yet, it would take two more investigations, and 'leaked' photos and classified reports before Sanchez was spurred to action.

The Abu Ghraib prison voyage will continue, with a four—star more than likely at the helm.  Ultimately, this appointment should pay dividends getting to the heart of this mess. The internal battles between our own agencies must be part of any such inquiry.

But don't count on hearing about the results anytime soon.

Douglas Hanson is our military affairs corresponent

It seems that the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army have been quietly and professionally taking the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse investigation to its logical conclusion.  Reuters reports  that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commanding general of Multi—national Force, Iraq, has asked to be removed from reviewing officer responsibilities in the continuing investigation.  The Pentagon appears ready to appoint a four—star general officer, who would be able to question officers of three and four—star rank, unlike the current two—star investigating officer, Maj. Gen. George Fay.

Lawrence Di Rita, the chief Pentagon spokesman stated that

It's Sanchez saying, 'I want to be investigated. I want to make sure that I'm not missed," Di Rita said, but stopped short of saying Sanchez wanted to clear his own name. To clear his own name suggests that he's concerned his name needs to be cleared.  Di Rita said that it appears that Sanchez followed this thing carefully and did all the right things.

In reality, Sanchez may have done the right things, but he did them three times over before appropriate action was taken against the perpetrators and their leadership.  American Thinker readers may remember the detailed examination of the prison scandal, and the media's and the political left's amazing jump from the lower enlisted soldiers at the prison all the way up to the SecDef.  One could almost believe Secretary Rumsfeld had covertly appointed himself as an MP Platoon Leader, given the logic displayed in last month's witch hunt.

What was glossed—over in the media frenzy was that, according to the Taguba Report, there were no less than three investigations of potential prisoner abuse: Army CID, Maj. Gen. Ryder's investigation, and finally, Maj. Gen. Taguba's detailed investigation. 

In fact, the original batch of abuse photos was obtained during the CID investigation, which was conducted from October through December of 2003.  In addition to remaining in CID custody, the photos were also given to the Multi—national Force, Iraq's (formerly CJTF—7) Staff Judge Advocate.  Two more investigations followed, which resulted only in a letter of admonishment for the hapless BG Karpinski, commander of the 800th MP Brigade, and whose MPs were manning Abu Ghraib Prison.

Therefore, a reasonable person may ask, why did Lt. Gen. Sanchez require three investigations spanning the October 2003 to the March 2004 timeframe, in order to take action and fix the problems at the prison?

Another problem for Lt. Gen Sanchez was his Fragmentary Order (FRAGO) placing the Commander of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade in charge of the prison.  The Reuters article says

Sanchez last year ordered military intelligence to take control of Abu Ghraib, but has denied knowledge of the abuse before the chain of command was notified in January.

Lt. Gen. Sanchez issued the FRAGO on November 19, 2003, while the CID was well into the second month of its three month investigation.  Presumably, the documentation and photographic evidence of the CID investigation was secured in the Staff Judge Advocate's office sometime in December.  That Sanchez was not notified of the abuse until January of 2004 is certainly possible, but once aware of this serious situation, he could have rescinded the FRAGO and taken further action to restore order in the prison.  Yet, it would take two more investigations, and 'leaked' photos and classified reports before Sanchez was spurred to action.

The Abu Ghraib prison voyage will continue, with a four—star more than likely at the helm.  Ultimately, this appointment should pay dividends getting to the heart of this mess. The internal battles between our own agencies must be part of any such inquiry.

But don't count on hearing about the results anytime soon.

Douglas Hanson is our military affairs corresponent