LT COLONEL FACES COURT-MARTIAL
LTC Steven Jordan remembers Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad, you can be sure. Soon, he may have a view of some more prison walls, this time from a jail cell at the Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks. The 50 year-old Army reservist from Virginia could get up to 22 years in the slammer if he's convicted on all eight counts.
At long last, the Army brass has decided to go after and court-martial an officer instead of just enlisted people involved in the prison incident. Prior to now, over the past couple years, eleven soldiers have been convicted of various offenses, including stripping prisoners and photographing them in humiliating poses.
Jordan, who ran the interrogation center at the infamous Iraqi facility, has been accused of failing to exert his authority as the run-down prison descended into chaos. Among the outrages that took place on his watch was the use of snarling dogs to terrorize inmates and "cruelty and maltreatment" of those under his control.
If the light colonel did indeed "look the other way," or even tacitly approve the misconduct, he's in for big trouble as the token officer punished in the Abu Ghraib scandal. Being an Army Reserve officer won't help him either. The stocky field-grade's career is obviously over, but the amount of jail time he gets, if any, depends on how tough the brass want to go on him.
"Disobeying a direct order, making false statements, dereliction of duty," all that is serious business if you're not a champion female marathon runner in the Air Force with a "tall tale" to tell. The only "political correctness" you will see in this upcoming court-martial will be when the hammer lands on Jordan's head.
It'll be interesting what kind of defense the colonel's attorney (the civilian one, not a JAG), puts up. Maybe Jordan has some "information" about other officers that will upset the applecart. We shall see.
At present, Jordan is on active duty with the Intelligence and Security
Command at Fort Belvoir, Va. He was originally charged in the
Abu Ghraib mess last April.