While I disagree that the latest news exonerates the folks who got the early blame (BG Karpinski and the other folks in Baghdad), it is relatively clear where most of the accountability resides. This piece names the names and places the blame where it should be. Those under them can take satisfaction that they were doing things that were approved at the highest level of government, but following an illegal order is following an illegal order. Nuremberg did away with that defense, as far as I can tell.
On a personal note, I was glad to see that the JS lawyer trying to do the right thing:
We had to get legal approval from the JS lawyers on pretty much everything we did (guidance cables, policy documents, etc.) and it was not a pro forma process.
In October 2002, when the legal counsel for the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff attempted to conduct a thorough legal review of the techniques, Haynes ordered her to stop, because "people were going to see" the objections that some in the military had raised.
Anyhow, the Salon piece is disturbing as it is quite clarifying.
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