Jackson Diehl ["Officers' Unheroic Example," op-ed, July 19] correctly raises the issue of the culture of impunity in relation to torture and the role of two officers, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, in the Abu Ghraib abuses. High-ranking civilian officials benefit from their own culture of impunity. Neither the Pentagon's investigations, overseen by the very people warranting investigation, nor its refusal to allow senior military officers to testify further before the Senate Armed Services Committee inspires confidence that this culture will be challenged.
Therefore, a "Criminal Complaint Seeking the Investigation and Prosecution of U.S. Officials Implicated in the Torture of Detainees" has been submitted to Attorney General John D. Ashcroft. The complaint, prepared by the World Organization for Human Rights/USA and supported by the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International, calls for investigation of civilian and military officials, including Gens. Sanchez and Miller; Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld; Stephen A. Cambone, undersecretary of defense for intelligence; White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales; former CIA director George J. Tenet; and the attorney general himself.
The complaint includes a request that a special attorney be appointed to supervise the investigations and possible prosecutions because "some of the highest-level officials in our Department of Justice may have been involved in the process of formulating or encouraging the unlawful use of torture." Note the word "prosecution." This is not a call for someone in high office to resign. Possible participation in torture demands serious investigation and, if warranted, prosecution.
Mr. Ashcroft isn't likely to comply with this request. The question is whether anyone in Congress will insist that the possible involvement of high-ranking officials in torture is too important to allow those same officials to grant themselves immunity by one means or another.
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