An Army captain who reported new allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq said Tuesday that Army investigators seemed more concerned about tracking down young soldiers who reported misconduct than in following up the accusations and investigating whether higher-ranking officers knew of the abuses.
The Army does what it does best: protect the chain of command. Take a deep breath. There is more below.
Captain Fishback, speaking publicly on the matter for first time, said the investigators who have questioned him in the past 10 days seemed to be less interested in individuals he identified in his chain of command who allegedly committed the abuses.
"I'm convinced this is going in a direction that's not consistent with why we came forward," Captain Fishback said in a telephone interview from Fort Bragg, N.C., where he is going through Army Special Forces training. "We came forward because of the larger issue that prisoner abuse is systemic in the Army. I'm concerned this will take a new twist, and they'll try to scapegoat some of the younger soldiers. This is a leadership problem."
But wait. Donny Rumsfeld said the army takes these complaints seriously. Lets see what Captain Fishback's experience has been.
After fruitlessly trying for 17 months to get his superiors to take action on his complaints, Captain Fishback said, he finally took his concerns this month to aides to two senior Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee, John W. Warner of Virginia, the committee chairman, and John McCain of Arizona. When the Army learned he was talking to Senate aides, Captain Fishback said that Army investigators suddenly intensified their interest in his complaints.
Ah, yes. It is not what you know, it is who you know. But they are taking it seriously now.
Focus, that is the important thing in an investigation:
"They're asking the same questions over and over again," he said. "They want the names of the sergeants, and they keep asking about my relationship with Human Rights Watch."