Donald Rumsfeld’s crimes

Here, from Salon.com newsletter, comes confirmation of something already widely suspected, and that is that Bush’s one-time Secretary of the U.S. Department of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld  (he stepped down on November 8, 2006), far from having no knowledge of how suspected terrorists were being abused, actually authorised the “aggressive interrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by senior military and civilian officers conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody. What followed was an erosion in standards dictating that detainees be treated humanely.”

As a newly released Senate Armed Services Committee report makes clear, the effects of Rumsfeld’s cavalier attitude toward what the report calls “detainee abuse” — and what international law would probably call torture — didn’t just stop at the military prison on Cuba. The techniques Rumsfeld approved for use at Guantánamo oozed into prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq, undermining decades of U.S. policy about humane treatment of detainees and leading to some of the worst outrages of the Bush administration, including the Abu Ghraib abuses, which Salon has covered extensively.

“The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply a result of a few soldiers acting on their own,” the Senate report says. “Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees of their clothes, placing them in stress positions and using military working dogs to intimidate them appeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at [Guantánamo] … Rumsfeld’s authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by senior military and civilian officers conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody. What followed was an erosion in standards dictating that detainees be treated humanely.”

 How much can that man get away with?

The Armed Services Committee report here.

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