Higher ups must be accountable

When the abuses of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq first broke to the public, the highest ranking members of the Bush administration claimed that the abuses were the result “of a few bad apples.” Several of those bad apples, most notably Lynndie England and Charles Grainer, were tried and convicted of abuses. Today they remain imprisoned for the offenses they committed.

But — as many of us suspected from the beginning — Vice President Dick Cheney recently said in an interview that he was fully aware of the tactics, and worked to get them implemented. It’s clear that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush were also aware, and were part of the cabal that had them approved.

Is there any fairness if those at the bottom who implemented the abuses — the so-called “hit men” — serve jail time, while those who paved the way for the abuses walk away scot-free? Would there be any fairness if, in his remaining month in office, President Bush issues pre-emptive pardons for those who ordered the abuse? Are there two standards of justice now in this nation: one for the lowest echelon among us, and another for the highest? Is everyone equal under the laws of this nation? Would anyone in this nation who silently watched those bad apples in Iraq being sentenced to jail time fight for the exoneration of those bad apples in Washington D.C. who made it all possible?

Bruce Barnbaum

Granite Falls

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FILE — In this Sept. 17, 2020 file photo, provided by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Chelbee Rosenkrance, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, holds a male sockeye salmon at the Eagle Fish Hatchery in Eagle, Idaho. Wildlife officials said Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, that an emergency trap-and-truck operation of Idaho-bound endangered sockeye salmon, due to high water temperatures in the Snake and Salomon rivers, netted enough fish at the Granite Dam in eastern Washington, last month, to sustain an elaborate hatchery program. (Travis Brown/Idaho Department of Fish and Game via AP, File)
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