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Sunday, November 05, 2006

KISS

"There's no doubt in my mind as a soldier that part of the responsibility for Abu Ghraib and for Afghanistan belongs with the secretary of defense and the president of the United States. There's an old aphorism: Keep it simple, stupid. KISS is the acronym. You always have personalities in uniform--I had them in Vietnam--who will take advantage of any ambiguity, any lack of clarification in the rules of engagement, and kill people, or whatever his particular psyche is liable to do. You don't have rules for your good people. You have rules for that five or six percent of your combat unit that are going to be weird. You need those people, because sometimes they're your best killers. But you need the rules. And when you make any kind of changes in them, any relaxation or even a hint of it, you're opening Pandora's box. And I fault Gonzalez, the president, the vice-president, the secretary of defense, the chain of command, Myers, Abizaid, Sanchez, the whole bunch of the them."

An administration official who had served in Vietnam explaining Abu Ghraib. Quoted by George Packer in The Assassin's Gate.
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