May 16, 2009

"'Impolite' questions for Gen. Myers"

by Ray McGovern,, May 13, 2009:

. . . While researching his book [The Torture Team], [Philippe] Sands, a very astute observer, emerged from a three-hour session with Myers convinced that Myers did not understand the implications of what was being done and was “confused” about the decisions that were taken.

Sands writes that when he described the interrogation techniques introduced and stressed that they were not in the manual but rather breached U.S. military guidelines, Myers became increasingly hesitant and troubled.

Author Sands came to the conclusion that Myers was “hoodwinked;” that “Haynes and Rumsfeld had been able to run rings around him.”

There is no doubt something to that. And the apparent absence of Myers from the infamous torture boutiques in the White House Situation Room, aimed at discerning which particular techniques might be most appropriate for which “high-value” detainees, tends to support an out-of-the-loop defense for Myers.

I imagine it should not be all that surprising, given the way general officers are promoted these days, that a vacuous mind like Myers’s could rise to the very pinnacle of our entire military establishment. Certainly, nothing Myers said or did Tuesday evening would contradict Sands’s assessment regarding naïveté.

My best guess is that it is a combination of dullness, cowardice and careerism that accounts for Myers’ behavior — then and now. And, with those attributes well in place, falling in with bad companions as Richard Myers did, can really do you in.

Myers still writes that he found Rumsfeld to be “an insightful and incisive leader;” the general seems to have been putty in Rumsfeld’s hands — one reason he was promoted, no doubt. . . .