From CNN Politics:

Images of detainee abuse at the hands of U.S. troops, which President Obama has barred from public view, so "infuriated" the nation's highest-ranking military officer he demanded leaders ensure continued training of troops to prevent abuse, according to a senior Pentagon official.

Adm. Mike Mullen said in a memo that mistreatment of detainees would have a lasting negative effect.

In a July 10 memo, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote the service chiefs and the U.S. combatant commanders around the world that mistreatment of detainees would have a continued and lasting negative effect on the image of U.S. forces.

(emphasis mine)

"A lasting negative effect."  Ya think?

To the naysayers who have protested loudly that this "mistreatment" was done only by outside contractors (emphasis mine):

A senior official with direct knowledge of Mullen's intent for the memo said it was not to highlight the fact the photos exist, but rather highlight that U.S. troops were involved in such actions.

Mullen made that point with a single sentence.

"We haven't all absorbed or applied all the lessons of Abu Ghraib," he wrote, referring to the compilation of photos taken in the U.S.-run prison in Iraq, where detainees were exposed to physical abuse at the hands of U.S. troops.

It's good that Adm. Mullen wants to make sure that soldiers are re-trained not to abuse detainees.  It's not so good that Mr. Rumsfeld is not even mentioned in this story as being part and parcel of the kind of training the soldiers did NOT get, the kind of so-called "leadership" that fostered the very environment where such abuses could happen.

From the radical DFH Senate Armed Services Committee

The Senate Armed Services Committee report accuses Rumsfeld and his deputies of being the principal architects of the plan to use harsh interrogation techniques on captured fighters and terrorism suspects, rejecting the Bush administration's contention that the policies originated lower down the command chain.

"The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own," the panel concludes. "The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees."

(emphasis mine)

Yet Admiral Mullen repeats the same old canard:

"Despite our best efforts, a misguided and misled few have managed to tarnish that reputation and breach the very trust we have worked so hard to earn. I am appalled by even the suggestion that someone in an American uniform would behave in such a way," he wrote in the memo. CNN obtained the memo, which was classified as "sensitive."

(emphasis mine)

Sorry, Admiral Mullen.  Your outrage is appreciated and your determination to change the terrible environment that caused such behavior is also appreciated.  But until we see the accountability taken to the very top, and real acknowledgment of that accountability rather than face-saving lies, your outrage rings hollow.

These soldiers were not a "misguided and misled few."  They were deliberately guided and led and authorized to do what they did.  The rulebook was thrown out and this is the result.

We need those pictures released.  And we need to see those responsible for this heinous behavior held to account for their actions, not have that behavior papered over by excuses and lies.

Originally posted to Nightprowlkitty on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 06:42 AM PDT.

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