|Seymour Hersh has a new report out about our debacle in Iraq, including a chilling interview with Major General Antonio Taguba, author of the now famous "Taguba Report" on the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Herse did an interview with Wolf Blitzer as well as one on "Hardball" tonight, in which he detailed three key points:
- The abuses at Abu Ghraib weren't initiated by the West Virginia grunts, they came from much higher up...
- President Bush and then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld knew about the abuses, no matter what they told Congress or their handlers told the press, months before the pictures came out, and as Hersh told Chris Matthews tonight, "what did the president do about it? Nothing."
- The abuses were much, much worse than you think.
RawStory has part of the story, and it's bad enough:
Blitzer asks Hersh about a quote given by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba said in a May 6, 2004 meeting with Rumsfeld, then-Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and top brass at the Pentagon.
"I described the naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum and said, 'That's not abuse, that's torture,'" Taguba said. "There was quiet."
The following day, May 7, Rumsfeld testified before the House Armed Services Committee.
"It breaks our hearts that in fact someone didn't say wait, look, this is terrible," Rumsfeld said. "We need to do something to manage -- the legal part of these proceeding along fine. What wasn't proceeding along fine was that the president didn't know, and you didn't know and I didn't know and as a result, somebody leaked a secret report to the press and there they are."
Hersh scoffs at Rumsfeld's response.
"It's sort of ridiculous. Everybody at the top, by the middle of January, knew," Hersh said. "The only question I raise at the end of the article, is what the president know, when?"
... "It's not when they saw the photographs," Hersh stresses. "It's when they learned how serious it was. They were told in memos what the photographs showed... They showed other, more sexual abuse than we knew, sodomy of women prisons by American soldiers, a father and his son forced to do acts together. There was more stuff [than] was made public. You didn't need a photograph if you had a verbal description of it.
Read the rest on the New Yorker website, here.
Last week, ThinkProgress detailed
more of Taguba's story, including the threats he says he faced from above him on the chain of command for even looking into the abuses at Abu Ghraib.
Labels: Abu Ghraib, Bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld, Iraq, Iraq war, Taguba report