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INHOFE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I regret I wasn't here on Friday. I was unable to be here but maybe it's better that I wasn't because as I watch this outrage -- this outrage everyone seems to have about the treatment of these prisoners -- I have to say, and I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment.
The idea that these prisoners -- you know, they're not there for traffic violations. If they're in cell block 1A or 1B, these prisoners -- they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands. And here we're so concerned about the treatment of those individuals.
And I hasten to say, yes, there are seven bad guys and gals that didn't do what they should have done. They were misguided. I think maybe even perverted. And the things they did have to be punished, and they're being punished. They're being tried right now and that's all taking place.
But I'm also outraged by the press and the politicians and the political agendas that are being served by this, and I say political agendas because that's actually what is happening.
I would share with my colleagues a solicitation that was made. I'm going to read the first two sentences.
"Over the past week we've all been shocked by the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, but we have also been appalled at the slow and inept response by President Bush which has further undermined America's credibility."
And it goes on to demand for George Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld. And then it goes on to a time line, a chronology.
INHOFE: And at the very last -- and they say, "a solicitation for contributions."
I don't recall this ever having happened before in history.
Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that this solicitation be made a part of the record at this point.
WARNER: Without objection.
INHOFE: Mr. Chairman, I also am -- I have to say when we talk about the treatment of these prisoners that I would guess that these prisoners wake up every morning thanking Allah that Saddam Hussein is not in charge of these prisons.
When he was in charge, they would take electric drills and drill holes through hands, they would cut their tongues out, they would cut their ears off. We've seen accounts of lowering their bodies into vats of acid. All of these things were taking place.
This was the type of treatment that they had -- and I would want everyone to get this and read it. This is a documentary of the Iraq special report. It talks about the unspeakable acts of mass murder, unspeakable acts of torture, unspeakable acts of mutilation, the murdering of kids -- lining up 312 little kids under 12 years old and executing them.
Then, of course, what they do to Americans, too. There's one story in here that was in the -- I think it was the New York Times, yes, on June 2nd. I suggest everyone get that and read it. It's about one of the prisoners who did escape as they were marched out there blindfolded and put before mass graves and they mowed them down and they buried them. This man was buried alive and he clawed his way out and was able to tell his story.
WARNER: Without objection, so ordered.
INHOFE: I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do- gooders right now crawling all over these prisons looking for human rights violations while our troops, our heroes, are fighting and dying, and I just don't think we can take seven -- seven bad people.
There are some 700 guards in Abu Ghraib. There are some 25 other prisons.
INHOFE: About 15,000 guards altogether and seven of them did things they shouldn't have done. And they're being punished for that. But what about some 300,000 have been rotating through all this time, and they have -- all the stories of valor are there?
Now, one comment about Rumsfeld: A lot of them don't like him. I'm sorry that Senator McCain isn't here because I just now said to him, "Do you remember back three years ago when Secretary Rumsfeld was up for confirmation?" I said, "These guys aren't going to like him because he doesn't kowtow to them. He is not easily intimidated." I've never seen Secretary Rumsfeld intimidated. And quite frankly, I can't think of any American today as qualified as Donald Rumsfeld is to prosecute this war.
Now -- oh one other thing: All the idea about these pictures, I would suggest to you any pictures -- and I think maybe we should get direction from this committee, Mr. Chairman, that if pictures are authorized to be disseminated among the public, that for every picture of abuse or alleged abuse of prisoners, we have pictures of mass graves, pictures of children being executed, pictures of the four Americans in Baghdad that were burned and their bodies were mutilated and dismembered in public. Let's get the whole picture.
Now, General Taguba, many, many years ago, I was in the United States Army. My job -- I was a court reporter. I know a little bit about the history. The undue command influence that is a term that you've heard -- and I'd like to make sure that we get into the record what that is.
I'm going for memory now, but it's my understanding that commanders up the line can possibly serve as appellate judges. Consequently commanders up the line are not given a lot of the graphic details, but merely said, as in the case of Rumsfeld, "Serious allegations need to be investigated," and they start an investigation. This is back in January.
Now, Rumsfeld said, and I'm quoting him now, "Anything we say publicly could have the impact on the legal proceeding against the accused. If my responses are measured, it is to assure that pending cases are not jeopardized."
INHOFE: Do I have an accurate memory as to why they have this particular undue command influence provision that we have been following now for five decades that I know of?
TAGUBA: Sir, I'm not a lawyer, and...
INHOFE: Isn't that reason you were called in? Well, I should ask General Smith.
General Smith, isn't that the reason that General Taguba was brought in the first place, to keep this from happening?
SMITH: Yes, sir. To do the investigation and do the fact- finding, so the commanders could make informed decisions on what actions should be taken thereafter.
And the difficulty in the command influence piece is that, should General Sanchez or should I or General Abizaid say something along the lines that, "We must take this action against these individuals," then that is command influence down the line that those that are making judgment on them would influence and bias their decisions.
INHOFE: And that, sir, has not changed for the last 45 years.
SMITH: That has not changed. And that has happened -- we have had a number of folks that have -- their sentences or whatever have been impacted by command influence.
INHOFE: Mr. Chairman, one last question to General Smith.
All kinds of accounts are coming out now, many of are fictitious, I would suggest. One was about a guy being dragged out of a barber shop -- it was in The Washington Post this morning. They talked about the person doing this had AK-47s, was blindfolded.
Originally posted by Piper@May 12 2004, 10:23 AM This should be required reading of every media member...
That wouldnt change a thing the in the minds of the liberal media members. I took a journalism class and my teacher happened to be very liberal. He claimed he was just trying to get everyone to see both sides of the spectrum, but it was pure anti-Bush rhetoric. It was almost as if he was teaching us to find ways to fault Bush for everything and I am not even exagerrating.
So when there are teachers like that preaching to the future journalists, it makes it very tough for them to be objective and seek the truth. In their minds (which isnt every journalists, but a decent amount) Bush is horrible and they continually need to find ways to bash him and the war.
And thats why its so tough for me to watch the news because everyone has their own agenda now. I even dont like watching Fox News for the same reason regarding certain conservatives. Very few journalists are trying to tell us the real truth, just what they believe is the truth. Until journalists learn to be fair and unbiases, and I will not give them the viewership they so crave.