Gen. Miller Gets a Medal

Buried deep inside a story buried deep inside today’s New York Times, General in Abu Ghraib Case Retires After Forced Delay, we find this gem: the General who presided over US torture inhumane treatment of detainees just got a medal,

At his retirement ceremony Monday, General Miller received the Distinguished Service Medal, which is awarded for exceptionally commendable service in a position of great responsibility, Army officials said.

Recall that Gen. Miller is the man who appears to have brought Gitmo-style ‘interrogation’ tactics to Iraq, and then used the Sgt. Shultz defense:

Because of his experience as a commander of the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, General Miller was sent to Iraq in the summer of 2003 to review the detention system and interrogation techniques there. His mission was to recommend methods that would increase the success of intelligence-gathering as coalition forces battled a tenacious and growing insurgency.

Subsequently, dogs were used as a tool of intimidation of detainees at Abu Ghraib, and debate has swirled over responsibility for abusive interrogation procedures.

General Miller initially invoked his right not to give testimony that might incriminate him, and he did not testify at the first court-martial involving a dog handler at Abu Ghraib prison.

In May, he did testify at a second court-martial for another dog handler. During his testimony, General Miller said he never suggested that dogs be used to intimidate prisoners during interrogations in Iraq.

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2 Responses to Gen. Miller Gets a Medal

  1. joe says:

    Medal inflation in today’s military is a very real problem. It is worse than grade inflation on college campuses during the vietnam war. Most medals are awarded for political reasons, and Congress has done nothing to keep the military from awarding medals to high ranking ass-kissers.

  2. C.E. Petit says:

    Once upon a time—a little over a decade ago—I ran some numbers on medals awarded to retiring flag officers and O-6s (colonels and Navy captains) during the 1980s. I no longer have the statistics in front of me, but my recollection is that more than 50% of the flag officers received a DSM or above as a “retirement award”. Given award inflation, I’d be surprised if the proportion were not substantially higher now, particularly with the joint-service requirements implements at around the cutoff time for that study.

    In theory, a medal is only supposed to cover a relatively short, discrete period of time; in practice, awards presented on retirements may refer to that short, discrete period of time, but the level of the award is generally determined by superiors’ assessment of the entire career.

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