Monday, May 03, 2004

The fallout continues from the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq. The news media is going to beat this story to death, especially the Arab media. Al Jazeera has covered the story extensively. The Daily Mirror has run a story that implicates British soldiers in the abuse of prisoners as well. The former commander of the British unit that has been implicated denies that the pictures are real. This controversy will set the war effort back, but it is not yet clear by how much.

In my discussions with service members here in Qatar, there is universal agreement that the troops who committed these acts were clearly in the wrong and that failures on the part of the chain of command (and there were some serious failures) do not excuse the actions of the soldiers involved.

The spin machine has already started trying to pass the buck. The MP's blame their commanders, the commanders blame intelligence personnel, the intelligence personnel put it back on the MP's. In the end, there is probably enough blame to go around. Still, I see images like this and wonder how even the most inexperienced soldier could mistake this for professional behavior.

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