May 11, 2004

Pride of service

You've probably heard about the editorial from the Army Times by now. Here it is:

There is no excuse for the behavior displayed by soldiers in the now-infamous pictures and an even more damning report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba. Every soldier involved should be ashamed.

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 entire affair is a failure of leadership from start to finish. From the moment they are captured, prisoners are hooded, shackled and isolated. The message to the troops: Anything goes.

In addition to the scores of prisoners who were humiliated and demeaned, at least 14 have died in custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army has ruled at least two of those homicides. This is not the way a free people keeps its captives or wins the hearts and minds of a suspicious world.


This was not just a failure of leadership at the local command level. This was a failure that ran straight to the top. Accountability here is essential — even if that means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of war.

The Army Times and its sister publications (Navy, Marine and Air Force) are not what I'd call crusading newspapers (I used to read Navy Times when I was in that service), so when an editorial of that nature is judged necessary, I'd say you've lost the confidence of a key constituency.

Posted by Linkmeister at May 11, 2004 12:01 AM


Posted by: Scott at May 11, 2004 03:38 AM

So, no one censures these publications? (I have to admit that my only experience with the Military Press comes from watching Full Metal Jacket.) The editorial gives away no military secrets, of course, but I thought that an article this... scathing would be watered down, as it is, essentially an internal publication first.

Posted by: MightyHunter at May 11, 2004 06:27 AM

They're independent, as is Stars and Stripes. In fact, I think Gannett publishes them.

Posted by: Linkmeister at May 11, 2004 08:43 AM

I have no words. (Scott took mine.)

Posted by: shelley (not so cynical) at May 11, 2004 10:01 AM