Sunday, May 23, 2004

A New York Times story today reported this:

Adel L. Nakhla, an Egyptian-American computer technician, found himself at Abu Ghraib prison last fall, working as a translator for the first time in his life. All around him, he witnessed fellow Arabs suffering humiliating abuses....

One of the Abu Ghraib photos that has been made public shows Mr. Nakhla, a big, beefy man who is 49 years old, standing over several naked prisoners stacked in a pile. He is reaching down, and his hand is shown on or near a prisoner's neck....

The Army report on the prison ... lists Mr. Nakhla as a suspect...

But what I'm interested in is something Nakhla said that was quoted in Saturday's Times:

"Why did you not report what you felt was abuse toward the prisoners?" an investigator asked Mr. Nakhla in January, after Specialist Darby had handed over the discs with photographs.

"I have seen soldiers get in trouble for reporting abuse," Mr. Nakhla replied, "and I was scared. I didn't want to lose my job."

Who? Who were the soldiers Nakhla saw get in trouble? Who punished them for reporting abuse? Shouldn't we be asking him that now? Shouldn't we be getting the names of everyone who saw abuse and was afraid to report it? Shouldn't the book be thrown at anyone who responded to reports of abuse with punishment for the whistleblower?

That's what would be done if we really wanted to get to the bottom of this.

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