It’s rare when we’ll recommend that you get on a plane and fly to Oahu for something, but a talk story session with a true, authentic hero definitely makes the grade. This Friday, Mar. 11, retired Major General Antonio Taguba, USA, will appear at the Philippine Consulate in Honolulu from 5:30-7:30pm. The event is being put on by AARP Hawaii (Taguba serves as a Community Ambassador for the organization).
“After his parents became ill, he and his siblings were not prepared to care for them,” states an event notice forwarded to us by Kalamansi Books and Things in Kaneohe. “They were faced with tough decisions about healthcare and finances and had little information to guide them. To help others, General Taguba now advocates families caring for their elders.”
That’s wonderful, but most people who know of Taguba do so because of Abu Ghraib–the infamous Iraqi prison that the CIA and Army Intelligence converted into a weird torture chamber for Iraqi prisoners in the first years of our occupation. In early 2004, the US Army tasked Taguba (who retired from the Army in 2007) with investigating the abuses and torture allegations. His resulting report–known worldwide as “The Taguba Report”–is a shining gem of truth-telling in the otherwise black swamp that was occupied Iraq. In fact, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh called the report “a redeeming aspect to the affair.”
Though Taguba reported on the torture at the prison to the best of his ability, that wasn’t exactly what his bosses at the Pentagon had in mind. “In a series of interviews early this year, the first he has given, Taguba told me that he understood when he began the inquiry that it could damage his career; early on, a senior general in Iraq had pointed out to him that the abused detainees were ‘only Iraqis,'” Hersh wrote in his 2007 New Yorker story “The General’s Report.” “His orders were clear, however: he was to investigate only the military police at Abu Ghraib, and not those above them in the chain of command. ‘These M.P. troops were not that creative,’ he said. ‘Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box.'”
For registration information for the Friday event, call 808-545-6007 or visit AARP.cvent.com/Filipino3-11.
Photo: Department of Defense/Wikimedia Commons