Former top US Iraq commander blames Abu Ghraib scandal for forced retirement

[JURIST] US Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez [Wikipedia profile] retired from the military Wednesday saying he was "forced" to leave [Monitor report] because of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal [JURIST news archive] which occurred during his tenure as the commander of all US forces in Iraq. In an interview with the McAllen, Texas Monitor, Sanchez, who served in the Army for 33 years, said he retired because he was not given a comparable position upon his return from Iraq. He was once considered to take over the US Southern Command [official website], which has responsibility for the US prison base in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], but was rejected for the position after the situation at Abu Ghraib made international news.

While he was commander of the Army V Corps [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in 2003, Sanchez wrote three memos that called for harsher interrogation methods [JURIST report] including the use of dogs [JURIST report], sleep deprivation, and stress positions, but only with written approval. During court-martial proceedings for several Abu Ghraib dog handlers convicted of abusing detainees, Col. Thomas Pappas [Wikipedia profile], the senior officer running Abu Ghraib's interrogation center, testified that he was confused by the changing rules for interrogation. In 2005, US Army Inspector General Lt. Gen. Stanley Green determined that criminal accusations against Sanchez were unsubstantiated [JURIST report]. AP has more.



 

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