Wednesday, May 12, 2004


From Powell:

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Tuesday that he and other top officials kept the president “fully informed in general terms,” about complaints made by the Red Cross and others of ill-treatment of detainees in American custody.

Powell’s statement suggests Bush may have known earlier than the White House has previously acknowledged about complaints raised by the International Committee of the Red Cross and human rights groups about abuse of detainees in Iraq.

“We kept the president informed of the concerns that were raised by the ICRC and other international organizations as part of my regular briefings of the president, and advised him that we had to follow these issues, and when we got notes sent to us or reports sent to us ... we had to respond to them, and the president certainly made it clear that that’s what he expected us to do,” Powell said.

Powell said that he, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld kept Bush “fully informed of the concerns that were being expressed, not in specific details, but in general terms.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said last week the president was first informed about the abuse of detainees in Iraq by Rumsfeld, who “let the president know that there were allegations of prisoner abuse in Iraq and that the military was taking action to address it.”

Someone in this administration has to go. While the war between State and the Pentagon probably makes for oh-so-wonderful Beltway cocktail chatter, it also means that we have a completely dysfunctional government at a time when we can ill-afford to have that.

I'm no fan of Powell, who has never deserved the reputation the boot-licking media has allowed him to maintain, but Rumsfeld is the one responsible for everything in Iraq.

...Robert Jeffers sums up the story so far:

The story changes so fast you can't keep up with it.

They first learned about this when the "courageous" soldier took the pictures to his superiors. And the pictures were all "personal."

But then stories came out that the pictures were ordered by MI for "intimidation" purposes.

And the ICRC reported it had told the Admin. about these problems months ago.

And it was limited to a handful of "bad apples." Except the same thing happened in Afghanistan.

And the photos were staged, not "snapshots."

And they knew something was up in November, but they fixed it. But they were surprised by the allegations in January.

But no one knew about it. But everyone knew about it, because there was a breakdown in command.

But there was no breakdown. And the Geneva Convention has always applied.

Except when it hasn't.

And we've always followed it. Except when we didn't.

And we don't abuse prisoners. Except when we do. It's not "American." Except it is expressly sanctioned by military regulations. Except it can only be sanctioned by the DoD, because Rumsfeld keeps tight rein on everything.

Except he doesn't. Because this was authorized in Iraq, not in Washington. Except it couldn't have been, because Rummy runs a tight ship.

Except he didn't know. But don't call it "plausible deniability." Because there's a chain of command.

Except Rumsfeld doesn't know what it is. He only knows about the PR campaign he's been conducting since these photos went public.

But he isn't lying. He just doesn't know anything.

But it's okay. Because he's doing a great job.

Even though everything is a shambles.