Sunday, June 17, 2007

General Antonio Taguba: “They always shoot the messenger”

“From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service... And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.”

That qoute is from retired army general Antonio Taguba who was told to retire from US military service after preparing the report that shed light on the abuses at Abu Ghraib. He is American but his father was a former Filipino guerilla who fought against the Japanese. He was recently featured in the New Yorker, my favorite news magazine.

“They always shoot the messenger,” Taguba told me. “To be accused of being overzealous and disloyal—that cuts deep into me. I was being ostracized for doing what I was asked to do,” he said.

Good guys don’t always win. Many of them simply just retire and fade into the sunset, with bitterness in their hearts intact.

But I do hope that someday you write a book about your life, general, and I’ll be among the first to buy and read it.

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