Tainted by Torture

Jay W. Hood

According to today's New York Times, the Pentagon has quietly canceled its assignment of Maj. Gen. Jay W. Hood to be the U.S. military attache to Pakistan. The move apparently reflects concerns within the U.S. government over Hood's prominent role in commanding the Guantanamo Bay facility from 2004 to 2006. Hood's nomination provoked condemnations from many quarters of Pakistan, a nation with a number of citizens detained at Gitmo and many who have been repatriated from there. Said one: "Guantánamo Bay itself has become a symbol of injustice, torture and abuse of Islam, and sending a commanding officer from there to Islamabad begs the question: What is the message coming out of the Pentagon for Pakistanis by this insensitive act?"

The cancellation of Hood's appointment shows a promising new willingness among senior administration officials to listen to world opinion. It would have been incredibly tone-deaf of us to send an officer with Hood's assignment history to Pakistan -- probably about as smart as using an officer like Lt. Gen. William Boykin, a man with a history of worrisome public comments about Christianity and the war on terrorism, to engage with Arab and Israeli officials. The military attache position in Islamabad deserves a soldier-diplomat par excellence, and unfortunately, that's not Jay Hood.

By Phillip Carter |  May 9, 2008; 1:34 PM ET  | Category:  Torture
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Good riddance.

Whenever I think of men like MG Jay Hood or MG Geoffrey Miller I get irate and wonder, "what were they thinking."

MG Hood was possibly the WORST choice to assign to a key position in Pakistan.

From my vantage, Hood is evidence of the worst personality, ethical and leadership traits of the Schoomaker-era GO selections/promotions.

Here's a picture of when then BG Hood actually testified before the House Armed Services Committee in ACUs.


Jay Hood - contemptuous of Congress, contemptuous of transparency and evidently contemptuous of civilian oversight of the military.

Posted by: IRR Soldier... | May 9, 2008 2:17 PM

Phil, I disagree that the cancellation of Hood's appointment shows a promising new willingness among senior administration officials to listen to world opinion. Instead the appointment shows a complete lack of awareness of the Muslim world, a staggering lack of imagination, and a tendency to reward "yes-men" with assignments they are ill-suited to perform successfully.

That when Pakistan raised hell the appointment was rescinded does not show a "willingness... to listen to world opinion." It shows that Bush's record-high disapproval ratings - that show his administration is strongly rejected by a shockingly-high (over 70%) majority of the American People - result in his tendency to do really stupid things is hindered this election year by the impact it will have at the ballot box. But the attempt at a really stupid thing was still made, and that is not something I would characterize as a "promising" development.

In short, Bush is still a world-class idiot, he keeps trying to do world-class dumb things, and sometimes, luckily, he doesn't get his way. But he usually does, and we are going to pay for our foolishness in choosing him as president. We are going to pay for years and years to come.

Are we better off now than we were 8 years ago? 7? 6? 5? 4? 3? Will we be better off in December of 2008, 7 months from today, than we are right now? My guess is "no" and it will be due to his presidency. I don't think anything about the next 8 months is "promising." The only "promising" development is that the calendar is slowly approaching that magic date: 1/20/09.

Posted by: JD | May 9, 2008 2:39 PM

I agree with JD. No one here would have objected to Hood's appointment. It is not just Bush but the opposition party that is to blame for the utter stupidity and ruinous continuation of our foreign "policy." I notice that Hood has a Legion of Merit. I'll wager that it was given to him in recognition of his work at Guantanamo.

Posted by: H R Coursen | May 10, 2008 10:52 AM

Apparently Hood is not the only fair haired boy who has recently suffered rejection:


I weep for my Army and the stink these clowns create.

Posted by: Aviator47 | May 10, 2008 2:50 PM

Don't let the Army off the hook. You know, it's not as if Bush decided all by himself to make this appointment. Somebody had to come up with the bright idea and you know who that is. As IRR so eloquently reminds us, and as we've seen at Walter Reed and Fort Bragg recently, the Army is amazingly tone-deaf.

The Army seems abolutely determined to slouch forward in its own way, taking care of its fair haired boys without regard to their conduct or to the image it portrays. Note how guys like Hood and Miller get the passes, while guys like McMaster are shuffled aside.

Posted by: Publius | May 10, 2008 3:24 PM

Wait a minute! I thought the problem with Guantanamo was that the Pakistan army framed innocent "travelers" to Afghanistan in exchange for bouties? So, the Pakistani's problems is...what?

Aside from that, we all know Pakistani jails are impeccable in their own right, right?

Posted by: edh | May 10, 2008 4:42 PM

All excellent comments. What to add?

What is this "traint" exactly in MajGen Hood's career? A hiccup on the way to his third star? Is it the assumption that as the result of this political disaster, there is some question as to his loyality to his masters? None I would suspect. Where exactly is the down side for Hood? Not talking about the interests of the USA obviously.

On the other hand for the few of us still of ever so slightly idealistic slant perhaps the lure of "the Alabama Song" just never quite goes away . . .


Posted by: seydlitz89 | May 10, 2008 5:01 PM

I served under Hood at GTMO and while I don't know about many of the assertions made in earlier comments (whether he was an appropriate choice to send to Pakistan, whether the Army is tone deaf, etc) but as commander he did a number of things to improve GTMO for the soliders/sailors who were under his command and created a much better environment for the detainees held there. One may reasonably object that GTMO itself is an abhorrent place, however, under his leadership the many practices that were initiated under MG Miller were changed in a positive way for the detainees, including the moving of detainees from the camps into a newly built facility copied from the U.S. federal system.

In all, if I were a detainee or someone concerned about their well being, I would think that MG Hood would garner thanks for improving their lives while doing what must have been a very difficult job (after all he had only so much discretion in his job).

Posted by: Served in GTMO under MG Hood | May 13, 2008 2:37 PM

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