Weekly Standard Backs Prosecution Of Bush Officials

abu-ghraib.jpgDon’t they? Here’s a May 17, 2004, editorial on the perpetrators of the Abu Ghraib atrocities:

They have endangered any American unlucky enough to find himself at the mercy of our enemies in the war on terror. They have impeded our progress in that war. More fundamentally, they traduced their mission, betrayed their fellow soldiers, and disgraced their country. Anyone up or down the chain of command who was criminally complicit should be prosecuted, too.[…]

There’s only one way to drain this poison, and it isn’t further breast-beating, from the administration or its foes. Bring on the trials, and the punishment.

Quite right! As the report (pdf) of the Senate Armed Services Committee makes (even more) clear, the abuses at Abu Ghraib were the direct result of policies implemented by the Bush administration:

Once they were accepted, the methods became the basis for harsh interrogations not only in CIA secret prisons, but also in Defense Department internment camps at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan and Iraq, the report said.

Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the committee, said the new findings show a direct link between the early policy decisions and the highly publicized abuses of detainees at prisons such as Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

“Senior officials sought out information on, were aware of training in, and authorized the use of abusive interrogation techniques,” Levin said. “Those senior officials bear significant responsibility for creating the legal and operational framework for the abuses.”

Speaking to CBS this morning, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who ran Iraq prisons in 2003, including Abu Ghraib, “was insistent that all orders on interrogation practices came from the top down during the Bush administration.”

“These soldiers didn’t design these techniques on their own…we were following orders,” Karpinski told Harry Smith. “We were bringing this to our chain of command and they were saying whatever the military intelligence tells you to do out there you are authorized to do.”

So will the Weekly Standard editors stand by their previous assertion that those complicit should be prosecuted? Or are they still happy to let the grunts go to jail while their friends in the Bush administration get off?