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Taguba
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Initiating a policy and knowing it was illegal is nothing short of “despicable,” said
Taguba. While several low-rank military personnel have been punished or are serving
detention, the people who put those policies into effect have never been held accountable.
“Some of those that were tortured were innocent. How do we come to terms with those
that were cruelly mistreated and were innocent, never charged, were illegally detained and
never compensated for their suffering?” he said in an interview with Salon.com. “This is
not a political issue, but a moral and ethical dilemma which has far-reaching implica-
tions,” added Taguba.
“Sometimes, all of these intelligent people are intellectually bankrupt,” Taguba told
ASIA. “They come from the best schools in the country, but they don’t study history.”
Some of his critics in the previous presidential administration have criticized his report,
saying he was pressured to find something negative – a charge he calls “incredulous.”
He said: “Put them on a battlefield. When people are shooting at you, that’s pressure.”
Some, like former Vice President Dick Cheney, have contended that techniques used by
the CIA and FBI were necessary to extract valuable information. Most military interroga-
tion experts disagree with that argument.
Taguba cited the no-torture policy of Great Britain under Winston Churchill during
World War II. While German bombers were attacking England daily, the country adhered
to the rules of war without compromise.
“They captured some people, but they didn’t torture them,” said Taguba, who also criti-
cized the Bush Administration for thinking it could remake the Mideast in its own eyes.
“A lot of other countries since antiquity have tried to rule that part of the world” only
to fail. “They don’t study history; they study politics,” he said. “You can’t rely solely on
politics.”
The military is way ahead of the civilian establishment in understanding that it takes
more than a cowboy mentality to win the hearts and minds of people, according to Taguba.
“Our troops today are trained to be persuasive communicators,” he said. His son Sean,
24, a first lieutenant, for example, is serving there now, working closely with village elders
in helping them solve local problems.
“Whether you are a private or general, you are taught multiple skills. You have to be
multifunctional. Our soldiers today are even being taught the agri-business – how to do
other things than grow opium,” said Taguba.
Each year, ASIA, The Journal of Culture & Commerce, and since last year, the Asian
Heritage Society, ask the community to recommend individuals of Asian heritage and
organizations serving the Asian community to be honored for their achievement. One-hun-
dred and six nominations in 15 categories were received by midnight April 22, the dead-
line for entries, compared to 58 last year. Their names and bios will appear in the May 22
edition of the newspaper ASIA and uploaded in ballot form on the Asia Media Inc. website
at www.asianheritageawards.com for voting. A top honoree in each category will be
announced the night of the formal gala.
Anyone seeking further information may call 619-521-8008 or email editorial@asiame-
diainc.com.
General Taguba, a native of Manila, Philippines, grew up in Hawaii and earned a bach-
elor’s degree in history from Idaho State University. Additional schooling in the military
earned him master’s degrees in public administration, international relations and national
security and strategic studies. Throughout his career, he has been both a role model and
advocate for fellow Asian Americans. He is a member of the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans and serves as chairman of the Pan
American Leaders and Mentors. The latter group is dedicated to promoting Asian
American leaders in the military and civilian ranks. Taguba’s appearance at the Asian
Heritage Awards will be in conjunction with honorees in the following categories: science
and technology; humanitarian outreach, cultural preservation, government affairs, health
and medicine, media, military, education, legal affairs, performing arts, entrepreneurship,
youth leadership, art and literature, business enterprise and community service.
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