Lt. Gen. Paul T. Mikolashek, the Army inspector general, delivered a report on his inquiry into prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan yesterday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The meeting was described as having been hastily called on the day the 9-11 Commission report was released, likely so that it would be totally eclipsed by the 9-11 report.
Mikolashek concluded that there was no "systemic" problem, but that the abuses were the aberrant actions of individuals. The oddly ironic part is that as report as summarized by Eric Schmitt in today's New York Times states the report "... concludes that military detention operations in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered from poor training, haphazard organization and outmoded policies, but that those flaws did not directly contribute to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison."
Schmitt continues late in the piece, "... human rights advocates joined Democrats in casting doubt on this conclusion. 'There is a serious gap between the facts presented in this report and the conclusions of its authors,' said Michael Posner, executive director of Human Rights First, formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. 'It's hard to see how you can document 94 cases of abuse or other violation and not recognize that there is a systemic problem here.' "
The Army's report conflicted with the earlier Taguba report that described systemic problems that caused the abuse. It also contrasted the International Red Cross' report that concluded that there were systemic problems because the abuse it reported to the U.S. military continued well after the reports.
A Washington Post report today by Josh White and Scott Higham writes that Senate Armed Services Committee member Senator John McCain "said he was not satisfied with Mikolashek's report or its findings. 'If you didn't look at the gross and egregious violations, what else didn't you investigate,' McCain asked."