Monday, November 06, 2006

More about Alyssa Peterson

Her story is not going away. According to my Sitemeter stats, my Alyssa Peterson post about seventy-two hours ago has received more hits than the next twelve most popular posts combined, including my home page. Nearly all have resulted from search inquiries. My little blog is not a high traffic site, but little birds in coal mines aren't too big either.

Saturday's post by Scott Horton at Balkinization is much better than mine. Anyone digging into the details of the story should read what he wrote. He makes a strong argument that the circumstances of Alyssa Peterson's tragic death beg more forthcoming details from behind the secrecy curtain. He doesn't use the word conspiracy, but he does say "not everybody is happy with the characterization of suicide that the Pentagon is so adamant about applying to this case." He also recalled the case of Col Ted Westhusing, about whom he had composed an excellent background piece last December.

Take a minute or two to read these two posts by Scott Horton.

Last Saturday, regarding Alyssa Peterson...

Alyssa's fate in Iraq was driven by events on the other side of the world, in a conference room in the Pentagon. In the summer of 2003, Donald Rumsfeld, at an intel briefing in the Pentagon, expressed his anger that he was not getting "good humint" out of Iraq. He banged his fist on the table and demanded that they "get Geoffrey Miller out to Iraq and gitmoize the situation." By the phrase "gitmoize," Rumsfeld meant the introduction of a palette of highly coercive interrogation techniques developed for use on detainees in Guantánamo. These techniques included cold cell, long-time standing, sound and light deprivation, and on several documented occasions, waterboarding. In implementation of this vocal command, which was entrusted to Dr Stephen Cambone and his deputy LTG William ("My God Can Beat Your God") Boykin, MG Miller traveled to Iraq at the end of the summer, visiting with LTG Ricardo Sanchez in Baghdad and traveling out to Abu Ghraib itself to speak with senior military intelligence personnel. Throughout this process, Miller advocated the introduction into Iraq of Guantánamo techniques – techniques which are plainly seen in the photographs that emerged in April 2004 when 60 Minutes and The New Yorker broke the Abu Ghraib story. Miller also advocated the use of military police forces to "prepare" detainees for interrogation – in breach of military doctrine concerning the training and deployment of military police personnel. He specifically discussed and advocated the use of military dogs for purposes of terrorizing detainees. Contemporaneously with Miller's visit, and in the weeks before, instructions went out throughout the military intelligence network in Iraq, to "take the gloves off." Physical assault on detainees was authorized and occurred in hundreds of documented cases.

And from last December...
Col. Ted S. Westhusing, the highest ranking US soldier to die in Iraq, was also the US Army’s premier ethicist. His Ph.D. dissertation was written on the classical definition of ‘honor’ and its application in the law of armed conflict. I didn’t know Col. Westhusing, but I knew and admired his work. In his last reports from Iraq, he expressed real anguish about the collapse of the discipline and values for which the US military has been known historically. According to the Los Angeles Times account, his last message included these lines: ‘I cannot support a mission that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.’ In Ted Westhusing’s life and death lies an unmistakable and profound bond with the past – with Seneca, Addison’s Cato, and George Washington. This loss diminished our military service, for who can doubt but that Westhusing was an important moral leader. America’s leadership desperately needs to hear Col. Westhusing’s call.

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