The Key Quotes from the May 3rd Charlie Rose on the Abuses at Abu Ghraib Prison (Part 3)

May 5, 2004

[Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here]

And now for the one that really keeps me awake at night, the one that emphasizes to me that even if every single bystander in the world woke up tomorrow and thought “Well, those Americans… yeah, some of ’em really screw up, but they’re basically good people” and honestly meant it, we’d still have a mess that’s going to take years to clean up… and then I remember Hell’s going to freeze over before there’s any chance of such forgiveness:

CHARLIE ROSE: Sy [Hersh] and Bob [Baer], tell me about what impact you think this will have in terms of prosecuting the war, and of what you’re hearing, and—I think there’s a powerful line at the end of your piece in terms of—of where this might take us.

SEYMOUR HERSH: Well you can’t believe how bad things are. Walking away from the prison issue, I’ve never seen the—I’ve never seen the high command as upset as—as it is. We got the Marine Corps really in a rage at the Army. There’s a lot of very, very bitter, nasty internecine warfare going on about what’s happening, who’s doing what. I’ve never seen a structure—it’s sort of self-destructing, and I know it’s an extreme statement, but I can tell you there’s a very—more bad feelings between the services as I’ve ever felt. The Marines feel the Army did a terrible job in Fallujah. And the Marines feel the Army has done a terrible job in the prisons—that this is an Army Reserve issue, and the Army can’t run anything. And I have to tell you: the major general’s report that I mentioned—Taguba’s report—he was scathing about the incompetence of General Karpanski [sic]—Karpinski—and her, the, brigade that ran the—you know, she was responsible for 3,400 Army reservists and, who knows, 8, 9, 10,000 prisoners and 3 large prisons and a half-dozen, or a dozen, smaller detention centers. And when we use the word “prison,” we’re not talking about thieves, and we’re not talking about a defeated army. We’re talking about civilians that have been picked up in sweeps, many of them randomly. Really they’re detainees under the law. And in his [Taguba’s]—in his study, he said more than 60% of the people in that—in those prisons—had nothing to do with wrongdoing. They weren’t anti-American. They weren’t part of the insurgency. They weren’t al Qaeda. He just said the inability of the system, the Army system, to process the good from the bad is unspeakable. It’s also a war—it’s a war crime. So you have all these people streaming out of the prisons. You know, one of the things that’s amazing to me about the secrecy of this is that all of the Iraqis knew how bad things were. I’m sure, Bob [turns to look at Bob Baer] you know that from earlier years, from the—from the time of Saddam, everybody knew what was going on, and it hasn’t changed much.

CHARLIE ROSE: And how complicit—[brief crosstalk from Mr. Hersh] let me go to Bob now—how complicit was the CIA—I mean, they were—Bob—at all in terms of liason on all this?

ROBERT BAER: Well, apparently the CIA was in this prison. And additionally, there are e-mails existing—I’ve seen some of these e-mails—from [Military Policeman, Staff Sergeant Ivan] “Chip” Frederick—saying in effect that the CIA was there, and it brought in a prisoner who later died of his beating. [NB: Some of these e-mails were printed in the British newspaper, The Guardian, see this link.] And as you know, the CIA is in the middle of an investigation—they haven’t denied that they were involved in the beating death of this prisoner. So we’re going to hear more about this, about what went on in that prison. This is just the tip of the iceberg, I’m sure.

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One Response to “The Key Quotes from the May 3rd Charlie Rose on the Abuses at Abu Ghraib Prison (Part 3)”

  1. A Hermit Says:

    I only have two things to say;

    1) Thanks for the hard work of transcribing this for us William…it’s much appreciated.

    and

    2)…oh fuck…


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