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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Rumsfeld must go

Posted by Thomas Nephew on May 4th, 2004

America disgracedKathryn Cramer is right: Rumsfeld should resign.

The Abu Ghraib prison scandal is not a scandal — it is an utter disgrace. While it’s certainly the fault of the soldiers and officers involved, it’s also a result of lack of oversight from Rumsfeld on down, and of the contractor-riddled occupation policies he’s principally responsible for.

It’s critical for our country’s reputation that the United States not merely prosecute those directly responsible for these abuses, but also hold accountable those responsible for their presence, job description, preparation and tasking.

The disgrace and stigmatization this country and its armed forces have earned must be shared by the most senior civilian leadership at the Pentagon, as a clear warning to future Secretaries of Defense.

The strategic necessity of not leaving Iraq worse than we found it demands that the United States answer Iraqi public opinion and outrage with significant penalties at the highest as well as the lowest levels of the armed forces.

To be sure, Secretary Rumsfeld has supervised other huge mistakes that would justify his resignation: he’s responsible for failing to provide enough troops to ensure post-war security in Iraq, and for failing to safeguard Iraq’s uranium stockpiles after the collapse of Saddam’s regime. But even these pale beside the gross violations of human rights that have happened on his watch.

It won’t make it right, but it will make it a little better. For our armed services, our country, and our honor: Rumsfeld must go.

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