Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Phil Carter is all over the latest absolution of senior officers over Abu Ghraib. Something Carter hints at is worth expanding upon:

We trust commanders to do the right thing, and to make sure their units do the right thing. And we impose a very high legal standard on them when they fail to do so — we hold them liable for the actions of their subordinates — both for what they knew about, and what they should have known about as commanders.

Isn't this really going to do incredible long term damage to our military? Changing the culture in this way - transferring responsibility from the top to the bottom - will chip away at the willingness of soldiers to trust and obey orders. I'm sure there are plenty of bad orders out there, and they certainly shouldn't be obeying clearly illegal orders, but even I recognize that the integrity of the entire system requires soldiers to obey orders absent some clear and obvious illegality.