Deja vu: "Rumsfeld should resign"


Geraldine Sealey
August 26, 2004 12:22AM (UTC)

John Kerry is again calling for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation today as the second new report on the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, this one from the Army, was made public in as many days. The Washington Post reports:

"The latest Pentagon investigation of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal found that more than two dozen military intelligence soldiers were involved in the abuses, but said that most of the errant behavior was not the result of official policies and did not occur in the course of gathering intelligence."

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"Rather, it concluded that the major cause of the abuse at the prison outside Baghdad was human failings. 'The primary causes are misconduct (ranging from inhumane to sadistic) by a small group of morally corrupt soldiers and civilians, a lack of discipline on the part of the leaders and soldiers . . . and a failure or lack of leadership' at several levels of command, states the report, which was released at 1:30 p.m. by the Army."

A report released on Tuesday by an independent panel concluded that blame for what happened at Abu Ghraib went all the way up the chain of command at the Pentagon, and that conditions for torture were set in motion by Rumsfeld's inadequate plan for the Iraq war and his slow response to the Iraqi insurgency. The calls for Rumsfeld's firing or resignation have died down since the Abu Ghraib scandal was at its height a few months back. So far, only low-level military types have been held accountable. Kerry says it's not good enough. "It's not just the little person at the bottom who ought to pay the price of responsibility," he said today. All four members of the independent panel yesterday rejected the idea that Rumsfeld should resign.

Still, the new reports and Kerry's public call for Rumsfeld to step down should resuscitate attention to this story and maybe, just maybe, get the media focused on something other than the Swift Boat veterans against Kerry.


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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