Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

It's Time for an Apology from Bush to the World

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

It's Time for an Apology from Bush to the World

Article excerpt

Harry Truman left a famous legacy to the presidents who succeeded him: "The buck stops here." It is an honored tradition in the best of our fighting forces that a commander be praised for the success of his troops and held accountable for their failures.

In the unfolding story of the torture and humiliation of detainees in Iraq, it has become clear that the conduct of the so-called "bad apples" at Abu Ghraib can be traced directly to decisions made at the highest levels of government. The buck stops directly at the desks of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, if not that of the president himself.

Gonzales' now famous memo removed any strictures of the long-standing Geneva Conventions. Rumsfeld's order to "take off the gloves" with respect to the Guantanamo detainees was followed by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller's transfer from Guantanamo to Iraq to "improve" interrogation techniques there.

It was inevitable that some subordinate commanders, intelligence officers, civilian contractors and prison guards would assume they were expected to ignore the Geneva Conventions as well as the long-standing treaties and U.S. law forbidding the mistreatment of military and civilian prisoners. That once-proud pronouncement of their commander-in-chief, "Let's kick ass," cannot help now being viewed around the world as countenancing the torture of human beings in U.S. custody.

The resulting damage to U.S. honor and influence around the world is incalculable. Americans traveling abroad will have to fear murder, kidnapping and worse, even in friendly and neutral countries. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.