It is also time to start walking back the cat: how did these pictures and this report become public? Two major theories: First, they get passed around electronically from staff computer to staff computer at CENTCOM or in the Pentagon because they are so outrageous until eventually they reach some foreign intelligence service, which then decides it is time to make them public. Second, somebody on Taguba’s staff or somebody who saw the report plus documentation decided that the Pentagon was sitting on it in an inappropriate way, and that something needed to be done to save the honor of the army and to goose command into significant and serious action. Remember: the prime movers–Colonel Pappas of the 205 MI Bde., Steve Stephanowicz of CACI–appear to still be in Iraq. It’s only General Karpinski who has been sent home.
I don’t know which of these is true.
All this is clever, but probably not right. Lost in the midst of a brilliant and underappreciated essay on Abu Ghraib by a brilliant and underappreciated blogger, the attentive reader will find this brilliant and unappreciated observation, which surely holds the key to the puzzle:
The lawyer for Sgt. Frederick, the senior non-com charged in both rank and age, was a defense attorney for some of the My Lai accused. Any bets on who handed Hersh the Taguba report?
I don’t know how criminal procedure under the UCMJ differs from the civilian brand, but I’m willing to bet the defense gets to see the report on which the Article 36 proceeding (roughly, the grand jury) is based. I’m not sure Sgt. Frederick’s lawyer actually did his client a favor by making the case a worldwide cause celebre, but it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.