Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Retired General Antonio Taguba, was responsible for investigating the physical and mental abuse of the alleged accomplices of national terrorism in Iraq. Upon retirement, this distinguished American military commander accuses the United States of committing war crimes in its handling of said detainees.

One quote in his final report states: “There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes, the only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

Taguba, has said as much in a powerful new report on American torture from Physicians for Human Rights which he has injected a plethora of experiences from his tour of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Taguba has asked that we need a national Truth Commission to lead a process of soul searching and national cleansing. (we’ve heard this for years)

When I looked up the term Truth Commission on Google, I discovered: That was what South Africa did after apartheid, with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and it is what the United States did with the Kerner Commission on race and the 1980s commission that examined the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

So, I would ad my voice to the list saying, we need a similar Truth Commission, with subpoena power to better investigate the internal abuses following the attacks on 9/11. What our government got away with in the name of national security went beyond the pale when it comes to our personal civil rights.

According to the AP: more than 100 inmates have died in American custody in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo and many of the people we tortured were innocent .

In a recent editorial in the NY Times by Nick Kristof, (pictured right)he points out that the McClatchy newspaper group has just published a devastating series on torture and other abuses, and it quotes Thomas White, the former Army secretary, as saying that it was clear from the moment Guantánamo opened that one-third of the inmates didn’t belong there. Oops!

Kristof goes on to say: “These abuses happened partly because, for several years after 9/11, many of our national institutions didn’t do their jobs. The Democratic Party rolled over rather than serving as loyal opposition. We in the press were often lap dogs rather than watchdogs, and we let the public down.”

The Truth Commission investigating these issues ideally would be a non-partisan group heavily weighted with respected military and security officials, including generals, admirals and top intelligence figures. Such backgrounds would give their findings credibility across the political spectrum.

Kristof continues: Both Barack Obama and John McCain should commit to impaneling a Truth Commission early in the next administration. This commission would issue a report to help us absorb the lessons of our failings, the better to avoid them during the next crisis.

I would have to agree. What has been done to the civilians and the accused in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in our name, by Blackwater and KBR, will diminish whatever efforts we’ve made across the middle-east in the way of aid.

The Truth Commission would offer the world a glimmer of hope that America could once again rise to her image of justice and glory world wide.

Nicholas D. Kristof Go to Columnist Page »


Anonymous said...

Many of the quality reports and opinions coming from the NY Times arent followed by the media.
As the reporter said, everyone posing as a journalist is partially responsible for rolling over when they were needed most.

Bush will get out of office without penalty and the next President will have to clean up his mess.
The Truth Commission may work, but there has to be a willing audience. Most of the world has tuned us out already.

Anonymous said...

Where are the truth commissions on the Ulster County Jail, Board of Public Works scandala and the uptown garage bid scandal?

Anonymous said...

Will Kingston Public Access be kept off the air thru election day to stop criticism of Hein's appointment of Mayor Sottile to his office?