Asymmetrical Punishment

Megan McArdle argues that firing Rummy is in order.

The mission in Iraq is being compromised by the hideous revelations about Abu Ghraib; the only way to repair the damage is for responsibility to be taken at the highest levels. And not the fake “I’m accountable but I’m not going to, y’know, be called to account” responsibility of Janet Reno, but real, honest to God, “Somethine went wrong on my watch, and I will suffer the penalty” responsibility.

Her commenters, so far, disagree. Me, too.

Update: Looks like the boss is going with me on this one.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dodd says:

    I’ve been looking around for some quotation from Biden calling on Janet Reno to resign after Waco. For some strange reason, I haven’t been able to find it. Perhaps I’m not as good at using Google as I thought.

  2. alex says:

    Equating Waco with Al Ghraib is faulty.

    This is not just about Human Rights.

    Those pics singlehandedly lost the war on ideas for us. The only standing rationale for the Iraq war is gone.

    Beyond stupid. This was something that we should have planned for. The treatment of the Iraqis was clearly going to be an issue. Game over. Rummy over.

    Hopefully so will be his boss.

  3. Dodd says:

    They “single-handedly lost the war of ideas for us” in your mind (where, one suspects, it was unwinnable, or some near equivalent, all along). In reality, it already looks more like the way we handle it – which will be the way we would handle any such incident – may will do a great deal to help us win it.

  4. Thorley Winston says:

    I was also wondering where all the cries for resignation were when the Clinton administration ordered our planes to fly higher in order to avoid American casualties but as a result, they bombed some refugee caravans. I’m certain that Messirs Rangle and Harkin as well as Ms. Pelosi were demanding the resignation of the SecDef at the time as well, didn’t they?

  5. Boyd says:

    Yes, considering Cohen’s a Republican, you’d think they’d want his head.

  6. Dodd says:

    Bryan Preston’s nailed it:

    In 1995, two sailors and a Marine raped a young girl on Okinawa. The wheels of justice turned then, just as they’re turning now over the prisoner abuse cases in Iraq. Did the Democrats call for any DoD official’s resignation then? Why not?

    In 1998, President Clinton not only confessed to turning the White House into a whore house, he personally broke the law. He lied under oath and asked others to do the same, all to cover up his disgusting, sordid life. Did one single Democrat demand his resignation then?

    No. Of course they didn’t.

  7. Alan says:

    What happened at Abu Ghraib was disgusting, without a doubt, but the mere fact that there has been such an outcry, that there will be an investigation, that in all likelihood people will be imprisoned from long periods because of this, well it just reaffirms for me that America is still the bastion of freedom the world depends on it to be, blemishes notwithstanding. And I’m not even an American.