Army Times Blames “Top Leaders” for Prisoner Abuse

by on May 10th, 2004

I don’t have very much to add to that headline. The editorial is here. I can’t think of anything more distressing than the obvious pain that comes from this particular sentence published today, “But while responsibility begins with the six soldiers facing criminal charges, it extends all the way up the chain of command to the highest reaches of the military hierarchy and its civilian leadership.”

The publication in question isn’t The Nation or Mother Jones. It’s a publication by the Army for the Army. One section of the website is dedicated to “Faces of Valor.” Another asks “Did you deploy without your shots?” A feature story talks about how the Idaho National Guard is making “the most of an old war horse,” the C-130 Hercules. The Army is a small town, and this is the local paper.

The writer(s) of the piece are very careful not to specifically point out which civilian leaders are responsible for the prisoner abuse mess, but after the Secretary of the Army, there is only the Secretary of Defense and the Commander-in-Chief.

There are a lot of pundits who want to make political points out of this kind of thing. However, I think it would be best if we could think like patriots for a moment and ask why a significant portion of opinion in the Army thinks this way. If supporting the troops means more than putting a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree, what do we civilians do now?

Jeff Myhre