April 23, 2009
In an April 14 speech at Harvard Law School, Major General Antonio M. Taguba called for an independent commission to investigate the Bush Administration for war crimes. Taguba is the author of the controversial 2004 “Taguba Report” exposing the detainee abuse occurring at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
In 2004, Taguba was assigned to investigate disturbing photographs of prison abuse taken at Abu Ghraib, including images of U.S. Army Military Police posing with naked detainees. Taguba’s scathing report was leaked to the media. Three years later, he was asked to resign.
Last summer, Taguba made headlines once again for his contribution to the preface to the Physicians for Human Rights report, “Broken Laws, Broken Lives, Medical Evidence of Torture.” In the report, he said, “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the [Bush] administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”
This week, while releasing memos documenting the Bush Administration’s harsh interrogation methods, President Barack Obama ’91 and Attorney General Eric Holder declared that CIA interrogators will not be held accountable for relying on legal advice they received by lawyers in the Bush administration and will be indemnified from lawsuits.
Commenting on the President’s statement that “this is a time for reflection, not retribution,” Taguba asked: “What about the soldiers punished for following orders as well?”
Taguba said he still believes strongly in the U.S. Armed Services’ mission to “protect [the country’s] precious value systems.” To that end, he has been speaking to audiences across the country, working to foster dialogue between human rights organizations and the armed forces. Taguba said the two groups “share a common denominator based on ethical considerations of democratic principles.”
The event was sponsored by the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School in conjunction with Physicians for Human Rights.
Read the article in The Record.