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Jul 25, 2011


Neil Gordon

Observer VI,

Actually, I can draw a crisp dividing line.

After the Abu Ghraib abuses came to light, the Army removed 17 soldiers and officers from duty and criminally charged 11 soldiers, who were convicted in courts martial, sentenced to military prison, and dishonorably discharged. The commanding officer at the prison, Gen. Janis Karpinski, was reprimanded for dereliction of duty and demoted to the rank of Colonel.

And, on the other side of the line:

Not one of the CACI and Titan Corp. employees who took part in the abuses has been criminally charged or faced civil punishment. Not one.

When there are detainees to be questioned, you call a government employee. At least when they commit misconduct, they are subject to a clear chain of command and a clearly defined system of punishment.

Observer VI

Your third point upends the first. You want to exclude contractors because this difficult work is inherently governmental. For that reason, you expect that govt emps will be above reproach--and not do the nasty things done at Abu Ghraib, at CIA black sites all over, or just plain olde waterboarding anywhere they damn please. But wait, these disgraceful things were done by government employees (mil and civ). And who dreamed up all those evasions you worry about in your third point? Oops, it's those naughty US govt emps, again. You've proved that you can't draw a crisp ethical or behavior or legal dividing line merely by how you classify the labor force. And it is beyond doubt that US govt emps have committed orders of magnitude more foul plays during interrogations, compared to contractors.

When there're detainees to be questioned, then, who you gonna call, eh?

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