Exclusive: Who’s Behind Abu Ghraib?

For the first time, one chart shows the scandal’s full chain of command from Bush to detainees.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Exclusive: Who's Behind Abu Ghraib?

Disclaimer: No clear chain of command existed at Abu Ghraib because so many individual members of various companies and brigades were thrown together there; the chaos and lack of accountability that ensued created an environment that was ripe for abuse. According to an internal military investigation, overall responsibility for detainee operations never came together under one person short of Lt. Gen. Sanchez himself, who was the chief commander in Iraq. “It is important to understand that the MI units at Abu Ghraib were far from complete units,” reads the internal report. “They were small elements from those units. Most of the elements that came to Abu Ghraib came without their normal command structure. The unit Commanders and Senior [Noncommissioned Officers] did not go to Abu Ghraib but stayed with the bulk of their respective units. The bringing together of so many parts of so many units, as well as civilians with very wide backgrounds and experience levels in a two month time period, was a huge challenge from a command and control perspective.”

Sources include the Fay Report and the Taguba Report.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate