Taguba Congressional Testimony
The Army general who first investigated prisoner abuse in an Iraqi prison told Congress on Tuesday the mistreatment resulted from faulty leadership, a “lack of discipline, no training whatsoever and no supervision.”
Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba also left open the possibility that members of the Central Intelligence Agency as well as armed forces personnel and civilian contractors were culpable in the abusive treatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison.
“A few soldiers and civilians conspired to abuse and conduct egregious acts of violence against detainees and other civilians outside the bounds of international laws and the Geneva Convention,” Taguba told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
At the same time, questions about ultimate responsibility for control of the Abu Ghraib prison produced a disagreement between Taguba and Stephen Cambone, the undersecretary oif defense for intelligence.
Taguba said that control had been turned over to military intelligence officials.
Cambone said that was incorrect, and it resided with the military police.
In a further disagreement, Taguba said it was against Army rules for intelligence troops to involve MPs in setting conditions for interrogations. Cambone said he believed it was appropriate for the two groups to collaborate.
Taguba also told the committee his investigation had not found “any order whatsoever, written or otherwise,” that directed the military police to cooperate with intelligence forces at the prison.
Regardless of any disagreements, Cambone and others told the panel that troops in Iraq were under orders to abide by the Geneva Conventions, which dictate terms for humane treatment of prisoners.
At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, questioning Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, said the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison was not just about guards and interrogators lacking in personal values, but “about policies and planning” from a higher level.
Byrd asked Taguba, “Who gave the order to soften up these prisoners, to ‘give them the treatment?’ Was this policy? Who approved it?”
“I did not find any evidence of a policy or a direct order given to these soldiers to conduct what they did,” Taguba replied.
“I believe that they did it on their own volition. I believe that they collaborated with several MI (military intelligence) interrogators at the lower level, based on the conveyance of that information through interviews and written statements,” Taguba said.
Rob Tagorda has some interesting thoughts on Taguba as well.