As Glenn Greenwald points out today, a despicable piece of legislation was tacked onto the Supplemental Appropriations bill by Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman on May 21. As Graham describes in his press release:

The amendment authorizes the Secretary of Defense, after consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to certify that the disclosure of photographs like the ones at issue in the ACLU lawsuit would endanger the lives of our citizens or members of the Armed Forces or civilian employees of the United States government deployed abroad.

There is a big problem with Lindsey Graham sponsoring this legislation. In April of 2007, Graham spent ten days on active duty in the Air Force as a Judge Advocate. Here is a photograph of him during this time:

Graham as JAG
Lindsey Graham plays dress-up–Was it to cover up prisoner abuse?

Here is a description of Graham’s time time on active duty as described on an Air Force website:

A South Carolina senator toured Iraq for two days, and then put on an Air Force desert camouflage uniform for a week and worked as a judge advocate for the Multinational Forces, Iraq.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, also a Reserve colonel, visited the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing April 9 after getting a firsthand look at the 586th and 886th Expeditionary Security Forces in action at Camp Bucca with Sen. John McCain April 1 and 2.

"The security detail at Camp Bucca is the most joint operation I’ve seen," Senator Graham said. "The challenges the Airmen at Camp Bucca are dealing with are challenges they haven’t seen before, and they are dealing with it in a way that makes the military proud. The Air Force security forces there are indispensable."

It’s very interesting that Graham would be at Camp Bucca. It has a very bad history for abuse, as detailed here and here.

The timing for the visit is also very informative. As Walter Pincus pointed out, the population at Camp Bucca was reaching a high of 13,800 prisoners at this time.

Given the checkered past of Camp Bucca and the extreme strain it had to have been under in April of 2007 as its population soared, the question must be asked whether Graham’s time as a Judge Advocate in Iraq involved cases of prisoner abuse at Camp Bucca or elsewhere in Iraq where photos subject to the ACLU FOIA lawsuit may be involved. Graham needs to clear the record and provide more information on the cases in which he was involved during the time he served in Iraq.

How did the Senator enjoy his trip to one of the worst prisons ever under US command? Here are his own words, again from the Air Force article:

"I’m having the time of my life," Senator Graham said. "I wouldn’t trade it for the world."

Yes, Senator, many of the prisoners at Camp Bucca had the times of their lives there, too. That is, the final times of their lives, since it is one of the places where many murders occurred at the hands of US personnel. How on earth could anyone of good conscience be happy about visiting such a place?

Jim White

Jim White

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