Thursday, September 27, 2007

General who investigated Abu Ghraib suffers career dead-end

Antonio Taguba was the general who investigated the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq. A New Yorker article stated that Taguba himself became a casualty of Abu Ghraib, because he brought things out in the open - in short, because he simply did his job.

The report said, "A few weeks after his report became public, Taguba, who was still in Kuwait, was in the back seat of a Mercedes sedan with Abizaid [John Abizaid was then head of Centcom]. Abizaid’s driver and his interpreter, who also served as a bodyguard, were in front. Abizaid turned to Taguba and issued a quiet warning: “You and your report will be investigated.”

The report quoted Taguba as saying, “I’d been in the Army thirty-two years by then, and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia.”

The article states that Taguba's career suffered after that. In short, Taguba suffered from the usual dictatorship system response to an unwanted truth - shoot the messenger.

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US army officer asks for for future generals to be evaluated by subordinates

In a stinging article titled "A failure in generalship", Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, an active duty commander in Iraq, says, "Different military and civilian leaders in the two conflicts [Vietnam and Iraq] produced similar results. To understand how the U.S. could face defeat at the hands of a weaker insurgent enemy for the second time in a generation, we must look at the structural influences that produce our general officer corps."

In other words, Yingling is saying the system was the same in both cases, and that something needs to be done to fix the system. Yingling calls for a 360 degree evaluation before promotions are made:

"Congress should require the armed services to implement 360-degree evaluations for field-grade and flag officers. Junior officers and noncommissioned officers are often the first to adapt because they bear the brunt of failed tactics most directly. Junior leaders have valuable insights regarding the effectiveness of their leaders, but the current promotion system excludes these judgments. Incorporating subordinate and peer reviews into promotion decisions for senior leaders would produce officers more willing to adapt to changing circumstances, and less likely to conform to outmoded practices."

I encourage you to read the full article.

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