Abizaid to Taguba: Stop Snitchin’
Law and order types have been upset by the “stop snitchin’” phenomenon in American inner cities for some time. But as Alexandra Napatoff has noted, the “urban criminal entrepreneurs” who claim “that friends don’t snitch on friends” may well be as much a product as an enemy of current law enforcement practices. Sherrilynn Ifill has also insightfully commented on the wider cultural trend to “stop whistleblowin’,” and has suggested some basic protections that need to be in place:
Whistleblowers, whether in urban communities or in the government, are more inclined to speak out if they have assurances of protection, if they feel that their actions will be supported and corroborated by other members of their community, and if they trust the people or organizations with whom they share their confidential information.
Given the following exchange between General Abizaid and General Taguba after the publication of the latter’s report on Abu Ghraib, let’s hope the Army becomes more interested in the issue:
A few weeks after his report became public, Taguba, who was still in Kuwait, was in the back seat of a Mercedes sedan with Abizaid. Abizaid’s driver and his interpreter, who also served as a bodyguard, were in front. Abizaid turned to Taguba and issued a quiet warning: “You and your report will be investigated.”
“I wasn’t angry about what he said but disappointed that he would say that to me,” Taguba said. “I’d been in the Army thirty-two years by then, and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia.”
Seymour Hersh reports the Taguba story here.