Saturday, April 30, 2005
Our esteemed colleague Newt of This Is Rumor Control, reviewing declassified documents about the war crimes committed by the members of Tiger Force, discovered a couple of threads connecting those Vietnam-era atrocities to the thoroughly modern horrors of Abu Ghraib:
In October of 2003, after two years of work, the Toledo Blade newspaper published a harrowing account of Tiger Force's merciless patrols through Vietnam's remote and deadly Central Highlands. Good soldiers of conscience blew the whistle but no one stepped in to stop the carnage. Later when the Army did investigate, even recommending murder charges, the case was dropped and forgotten until it was discovered by the Blade decades later. The Blade series won a Pulitzer Prize and the publicity prompted the Pentagon to begin anew an investigation into the old war crimes.
"This is Rumor Control" has learned that the same Judge Advocate General officer who was charged with re-investigating Tiger Force also handled the Army's review of Abu Ghraib. His report on the Tiger Force atrocities was due over a year ago. No one from the Army has offered an explanation for its delay and the story itself is in danger of receding back into history.
The current Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was also the Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford when the original queries were buried. That first investigation found that "a total 18 soldiers committed crimes, including murder and assault but no one was ever charged" according to the Blade, even though as the newspaper determined, Rumsfeld's office was sent a copy of the report.
Given the irrefutable truth of the Tiger Force and Abu Ghraib war-crimes evidence and the refusal of anyone high on the Pentagon food chain to take responsibility, a cynic might note a pattern of behavior from the Secretary. As one senior CIA source said of Rumsfeld's Abu Ghraib testimony before Congress "Some people think you can bullshit anyone."