Maj. Gen. George R. Fay, who is leading the Army’s investigation into the role of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib prison and other detention facilities in Iraq, is an insurance company executive who has been on active duty for five years.
Fay, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, was still listed as a managing director of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies in its 2003 annual report. He was selected March 31 to head the sensitive investigation into intelligence practices and procedures in Iraq, and began work on April 23, said Lawrence T. DiRita, the Defense Department assistant secretary for public affairs.
Pentagon officials, lawmakers and others are looking to Fay to help answer a central question in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal: whether the military intelligence soldiers responsible for interrogating detainees directed or encouraged military police officers to commit the abuse captured in photographs that have roiled the Arab world and damaged U.S. credibility. Fay’s probe into military intelligence follows the widely reported Army investigation by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba that focused primarily on the role of military police.
Two Pentagon officials and one public affairs officer in Iraq said yesterday they could not say who chose Fay to run the inquiry, but one Army official said the orders “were cut by” Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the commanding general in Iraq.
I’ve often wondered about this phenomenon myself. How in the world can someone with the combined active duty experience of a junior Regular Army captain be a two-star general? And, if it’s possible to be a competent two-star general with that much service, why not just promote the ones on active duty that quickly? Or, for that matter, why have an active force at all, if we can generate that kind of competence in part timers?