Saturday, December 02, 2006

Who Knows Why Cambone Goes?

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights charged, in a lawsuit two years ago in Germany, that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld bears direct responsibility for the torture of U.S. detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S. Navy prison at Guantanamo by approving illegal interrogation techniques. His undersecretary of Defense, Stephen Cambone, who resigned yesterday, was also named in that lawsuit.

The Washington Post leads us to believe Cambone has quit because of the spying he's previously authorized on Quakers and other non-threatening American citizens who were involved in anti-war groups. That was bad enough, but I think it's something else. I think Bush is now trying to distance himself from the Defense Department people he kept on for too long while trying to shield himself and his Vice President (Cheney) from political attack about the Iraq mess - the torture, the post-war disaster, et al. If Bush had canned these people when they should have been canned (in Spring 2004 when Abu Ghraib scandal first erupted), Bush would have lost the people's confidence (the little confidence he still had in 2004 about Iraq) and my bet is that he knew he would have lost the 2004 election. So Bush kept all of his administration's "errors" close to his circle, where they could continue the string of failure and deception.

In the most current news, it's said that eleven Iraqis who were held at Abu Ghraib prison and other U.S.-run facilities in Iraq and a Saudi detainee at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would file a criminal complaint on Nov. 14, according to Michael Rattner of the Center for Constitutionals Rights.

At a May, 2004 Senate Armed Services committee hearing on Iraqi prisoner abuse, the undersceretary of Defense Stephen Cambone said:
"...with respect to the application of the Geneva Convention to detainees in Iraq, from the outset of the war in Iraq, the United States government has recognized and made clear that the Geneva Conventions apply to our activities in that country. Members of our armed forces should have been aware of that."
We know now that his statement isn't true at all. Former Army Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski has said that the case of prisoner abuses in Abu Ghraib wasn't just a case of a few bad apples and that the knowledge and responsibility clearly "goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and to the Vice President, Dick Cheney."

The Center for Constitutionals Rights' spokesman Mr. Rattner has said,
"Now that Rumsfeld has resigned he no longer has the type of immunity typically given to heads of state and high-ranking government officials."

Since the Military Commissions Act signed by Bush last month gives immunity to U.S. officials in connection with detainee interrogations, "the German courts no longer have the excuse of saying these cases are going to be prosecuted in U.S. courts," Rattner said.
A TIME magazine article has more on the German lawsuit. I don't see any way that Cambone could have remained welcome to stay in a White House that will likely want to make this entire Iraq mess look like it was always (and solely) the Defense Department heads' fault. We know better - we followed Dick Cheney's role in the "shadow-CIA" Office of Special Planning all throughout the lead-up to the biggest mistake our nation has ever made. Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may also be taking a lot of heat if this lawsuit has any legs - and perhaps a permenent vacation.