General Taguba at Harvard Law School


Major General Antonio M. Taguba (USA, Ret.) spoke at Harvard Law School about accountability for US torture (Lindsay Welch/PHR).

On April 14, Major General Antonio M. Taguba (USA, Ret.), the commander of the official 2004 US Army investigation into the Abu Ghraib detainee abuse scandal, made a rare public appearance at Harvard Law School to give a lecture sponsored by the Harvard Human Rights Program, the Human Rights Advocates at Harvard Law, and Physicians for Human Rights.

General Taguba partnered with PHR last year to write his now famous preface to the breakthrough PHR report Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact–medical and psychological evaluations of a dozen former detainees who were held at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Bagram airbase.

General Taguba's talk focused on the importance of holding civilian policy makers from the Bush Administration accountable for their authorization of the use of torture and ensuring that the core traditions of the US military—honor, discipline and accountability—are restored and upheld. He said:

Accountability is a condition of employment and something that should be embraced if you're going to try to serve your country.

Taguba included not just soldiers and senior military officials in his discussion, but also contractors, members of the intelligence community and others who carried out detainee abuse for the US government.

Contractors are operating under a separate set of rules, which have exempted them from accountability for lawless behavior.

Nathaniel Raymond, Director of PHR's Campaign Against Torture, introduced General Taguba and said:

I don’t think the American people will ever be able to fully thank General Taguba for his service. But I think the best way we can thank him is for the story of America’s descent into torture and lawless to end with justice—for both the victims and the perpetrators.

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