It shouldn't take a newsweekly to help our deciders realize the awful implications of having a man convicted of abusing Iraqi detainees put in charge of training Iraqi police on how to handle detainees:
The U.S. military told TIME on Thursday that Santos Cardona, one of the soldiers convicted for his role in Abu Ghraib, having served his sentence, had just been sent back to serve in Iraq. This morning, in an apparent response to the TIME's story and other media inquiries, the Pentagon at first announced that its decsion to transfer Cardona to Iraq was being "evaluated" and that Cardon's movement with his unit into Iraq from a staging area in Kuwait had been "stopped."
Sgt. Santos Cardona, 32, is a military policeman from Fullerton, Calif., who served in 2003 and 2004 at Abu Ghraib as a dog handler. After pictures of Cardona using the animal to threaten Iraqis were made public, he was convicted in May of dereliction of duty and aggravated assault, the equivalent of a felony in the U.S. civilian justice system. The prosecution demanded prison time, but a military judge instead imposed a fine and reduction in rank. Though Cardona was not put behind bars, he was also required to serve 90 days of hard labor at Ft. Bragg, N.C.
But Cardona’s physical well-being is not the only issue of concern connected to his transfer. According to former senior U.S. military officers and others interviewed by TIME, sending a convicted abuser back to Iraq to train local police sends the wrong signal at a time when the U.S. is trying to bolster the beleagured government in Baghdad, where the horrors of Abu Ghraib are far from forgotten. "If news of this deployment is accurate, it represents appallingly bad judgment," says retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who commanded a division in the first Gulf War. "The symbolic message perceived in Iraq will likely be that the U.S. is simply insensitive to the abuse of their prisoners."
What good judgment? Had it not been exposed in Time and have the potential to become a political issue right before an election, do you really think they would have done differently?
Thank God that the press is finally beginning (beginning) to show some f'ing backbone.
By 12:53 PM, at
When I first read the story, Cardona was still being shipped to Iraq. I decided to blog it, so I went back to the original source. I was very relieved to see that the story had been updated.
Since my first instinct was to blog "Look how dumb this is!", I thought I had to give some credit for changing course.