Sy Hersh Reveals The Author of the Third Report into Abu Ghraib

May 6, 2004

[Or: What’s hopefully not the model of a modern major general… sorry, couldn’t resist.]

In my first post transcribing the May 3rd Charlie Rose show about abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, I was curious about a potential slip of the tongue by Seymour Hersh as he was emphasizing that the now-famous Major General Taguba was but one of three major (i.e., 2-star) generals asked to investigate prison conditions in Iraq since late summer 2003:

…if you keep on reading [in the 53 page report by Major General Antonio Taguba that he was leaked and writes about here in the New Yorker], you discover that there have been 2 other Army—secret Army—investigations into the prison conditions beginning in late summer [of 2003]. So we have a situation where 3 two-star generals—6 stars in all—were involved in investigating the prison conditions. And the only conclusion you could bring, as the general* did, was that you really had an institutional issue: that the abuses began early, and they stayed.

[* Just Major General Taguba? Or was it a slip of the tongue, misusing the singular when the plural was meant? I’m curious what the other 2 secret reports concluded.]

As I explained in this clarification post, Mr. Hersh’s article in The New Yorker on General Taguba’s report makes it clear that one of these other major generals was Major General Donald Ryder, Provost Marshall (i.e., chief law enforcement officer) of the US Army. While General Ryder reported abuses and recommended action to stop them, Mr. Hersh characterizes General Ryder as being highly euphemistic and hence extremely mild in his criticisms, concluding that his report was “at best a failure and at worst a coverup.”

The third general wasn’t mentioned in the article. I ended the clarification post mentioned above with the line:

I imagine though that we’ll all soon be hearing more than we ever wanted to know about this third report.

I meant that line mostly as a perfunctory bit of closing rhetoric. Unfortunately, it was prescient. Last night on The O’Reilly Factor, Mr. Hersh revealed who the third major general was, and it was definitely more than I wanted to know:

O’REILLY: All right. Well, the damage to the country obviously is just immeasurable. But reading your article in “The New Yorker.” I just get the feeling that the Army, when they heard about it, started action almost immediately. It wasn’t a cover-up situation. Or did I read your article wrong?

HERSH: This guy Taguba is brilliant. He could have made a living doing — it’s a credit to the Army that somebody with that kind of integrity would write this kind of — it’s 53-page report.

O’REILLY: OK, but Sanchez the commander put him in charge fairly quickly. They mobilized fairly quickly.

HERSH: No, look, I don’t want to ruin your evening, but the fact of the matter is it was the third investigation. There had been two other investigations.

One of them was done by a major general who was involved in Guantanamo, General Miller. And it’s very classified, but I can tell you that he was recommending exactly doing the kind of things that happened in that prison, basically. He wanted to cut the lines. He wanted to put the military intelligence in control of the prison.

[thanks to Kevin Drum for highlighting this exchange]

So, in conclusion, it was not a slip of the tongue on Mr. Hersh’s part (silly me: Lord, oh Lord, this guy is sharp!). Of the three Major Generals–Taguba, Ryder, and Miller—ordered to write reports about Abu Ghraib, only Taguba was fully condemnatory.

4 Responses to “Sy Hersh Reveals The Author of the Third Report into Abu Ghraib”

  1. CSTAR Says:

    I don’t know how much more I want to know about this.
    It’s too depressing. I was hoping to find something else here.

    Maybe we should all recite the Rumsfeld poem “On Epistemolgy”, which I’m sure you do know.

  2. RangerMensa Says:

    Sorry, but it just gets worse.

    Major General (MG) Miller, formerly in charge of the detention facility in Guantanamo and who recommended use of Military Police to “set the conditions” for interrogation, is now in charge of all detention facilities in Iraq. Makes one wonder what has gone on (is going on?) in Guantanamo.

    Further, Lieutenant General (LTG) Sanchez, in charge of Coalition forces in Iraq, apparently bought into MG Miller’s recommendation since he put the Abu Ghraib facility (and the Military Police battalion guarding the detainees there) under the control (TACON) of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade in November, 2003 (around the time these abuses occurred).

    Now MG Taguba, whose report was quite candid, is not allowed to testify before the congress without being accompanied by the top Army Military Intelligence guys (sniff, sniff; smells like “handlers”). MG Taguba’s testimony is far less candid than his report in pointing out the involvement of Military Intelligence/Other Governmental Activities.

    Wonder if the Pentagon is trying to offer up some Reserve MPs (three of them female) and a Reserve General Officer (also a female) as scapegoats? Incidentally, she took command of the 800th MP Brigade only a few months before these abuses by the soldiers who were not even under her tactical control (TACON).

    It’s at least a two-star level decision to scapegoat a one-star general, and it’s at least a three-star level decision to muzzle a two-star general (MG Tagube). Not many levels left until the dots lead to General Meyer (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff) and Secretary Rumsfeld.

    Thank goodness for Specialist Joseph Darby (who dropped a dime on this stuff). As far as I can tell, he is one of the few who have acted with honor and integrity. If only America and it’s soldiers could always have military and political leaders worthy of them!

    Ron Foss
    Colonel, Infantry
    Army of the United States (Ret’d)

  3. CSTAR Says:

    I’m sure you remember the joke about person X negotatiating with person Y for sex, starting the bargaining at 10^6 dollars and attempting a lower price of $.05 — the conclusion of which was that Y was a prostitute

    Will this whole affair is like two convicted rapists arguing who is worse..should I get more explicit?

    * But he was more violent and impersonal. He did it from..

    OK enough.

    Gimme a break Inhofe.

  4. Debauchee69 Says:

    We L-O-S-T the ‘War on Terror’ (Enduring Freedom). Our military didn’t lose IT—OUR MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM DID!!!

    Shall I give you a BRIEF History in Army Report Writing? Remember that little ‘dust-up’ called Mai Lai4? LTC Barker (the Barker Report) stated ‘There WAS NO MASSACRE—20 dinks accidently wandered into a fire fight between Charley Company and elements of the 48th IN REG, NVA. COL Henderson then spewed the SAME LIE followed by that of ‘CPT(P) Colin-Rectal Powell whose ‘definitive report’ confirmed THERE WAS NO MASSACRE “OUR RELATIONS WITH THE SO. VIETNAMESE COULDN’T BE BETTER!!!”

    Fast Forward to Abu Ghrab. It now makes sense that LTG Sanchez told MG Taguba to retire NOW before something evil happens to you or why RUMMY unzipped in the urnal next to MG Taguba and snarled “You were told to ‘write a report—not to STAB America in the back’!!! There were THREE ABU GHRAB reports, not just Taguba’s. MG Miller’s report advocated the use of MP troops to soften up the detainees (Unlawful Non Combatants=no Geneva Rights). That explosive report is naturally marked classified!!! The virtually unusable MG Ryder report is too much of an embarrassment to release—“America doesn’t Waterboard; we ‘Sponge-bath’ with extreme prejudice”!!!

    So Abu Ghrab & Hadetha are behind us? Did you read the latest stunt to come out of JTF GTMO?!!! Although there is no malaria at JTF GTMO, each detainee is given 1500mg of Floriquel with is not only not used by American Troops B-U-T 1500mg is about 6 times the normal dosing. Apparently, some one noted the black box warnings that Floriquel at such high dosings causes hallucinations (truth serium) and permanent brain damages (two documented suicides have occurred over it). Also note how now the Army can’t find the name of the Army Doctor who ordered such a dosing administered!!! Yeah, Right!!!

    $14 TRILLION Dollars & counting and as a result of Abu Ghrab, Blackwater Merc Massacre and the Hadetha Massacre—Iraq is now FIRMLY PRO Iranian/Anti American!!! WTF?!!!

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