Friday, January 26, 2007

Army Court-Martial News: Abu Ghraib Officer Charged

In military justice news this Friday, charges were referred against the only commissioned officer to be charged to date in connection with prison operations at Abu Ghraib. Army reservist Lt. Col. Steven Lee Jordan will face "eight charges, including cruelty and maltreatment of prisoners," reported (here). Military Distirct Washington, Maj. Gen. Guy C. Swann, appears to be the convening authority.

1 comment:

Kathleen Duignan said...

Another reservist charged at Abu Ghraib... What a surprise.
It's without doubt that reservists are highly capable of being equals (or better, depending on the service called for and experience already amassed) when called. But that is not what these series of events seem to be concerned with. Rather, it seems to be a quest to find a few good scapegoats, rather than invoke the command responsibility doctrine to hold those accountable for those who set the policies that permitted these events to occur in the first instance.

Perhaps there have been some more senior full-time, active-duty personnel disciplined for Abu Ghraib? But my research has not revealed any. Reservists generally train and are attached to active duty units that deploy together, which allows you to rely on the "full time" experience of those you are serving with. Was this practice abandanoned for the facilities of Abu Ghraib? If so, why?

In short, is the command accountability doctrine dead in U.S. military justice (or at least just not used for non-naval forces)?