Yesterday I commented on the latest Pentagon report on detainee abuse and torture in Iraq, calling it a whitewash.
Today it looks like my opinion was not unique.
Senators expressed dismay yesterday that no senior military or civilian Pentagon officials have been held accountable for the policy and command failures that led to detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Navy admiral who wrote the most recent review of U.S. detention policies was largely unable to say where that accountability should lie.
Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, said a “major gap” in Church’s report and in nine other Pentagon reviews is the issue of senior-leadership responsibility for the creation of an environment that contributed to or condoned abusive behavior.
In a sparsely attended hearing — only 10 of the 24 panel members were there — senators from both parties, including Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), offered strong criticism of the findings.
And here’s my nominee for Atrios’ Wanker of the Day: Sen. Jim Talnet (R-MO).
Sen. James M. Talent (R-Mo.), praising the report, said he did not “need an investigation to tell me that there was no comprehensive or systematic use of inhumane tactics by the American military, because those guys and gals just wouldn’t do it.”
Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), the committee chairman, said there will be at least one more hearing to examine culpability. “There has not been a finality in terms of the assessment of accountability of either senior policy people or senior officers,” he said.
Human rights organizations also assailed the report, again calling for an investigation not subordinate to Rumsfeld. “This report strains credibility,” said Reed Brody, special counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Unfortunately, the United States continues to do what every dictatorship and banana republic does when its abuses are discovered: Cover up and shift blame downwards.”