"And so the general did not flinch from contradicting one of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's closest aides -- Cambone, who insisted that a Nov. 19, 2003, order placing Abu Ghraib under the 'tactical authority' of military intelligence officers did not mean that those officers had authority over the military police guarding the prisoners.If we only had a few more Generals like that...It'd be nice to have that level of leadership and integrity all the way up the chain of command.
Taguba's report said the opposite. Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) asked the general point-blank if he still felt that way, given that the senior brass has disagreed.
'Yes, sir,' Taguba answered.
His testimony drove home the idea that there are legal orders and illegal orders. There is proper training and lax training, effective leadership and weak leadership, clear chains of command and dangerously confused chains. The problems at Abu Ghraib, in his view, stemmed from poor training, weak leadership, confused command -- all resulting in illegal orders.
Taguba gave a good example of the other sort of order in his opening statement.
'As I assembled the investigation team,' he said, 'my specific instructions to my teammates were clear: maintain our objectivity and integrity throughout the course of our mission in what I considered to be a very grave, highly sensitive and serious situation; to be mindful of our personal values and the moral values of our nation; and to maintain the Army values in all of our dealings; and to be complete, thorough and fair in the course of the investigation.
'Bottom line,' he summed up, 'we will follow our conscience and do what is morally right.'"