We think of investigation as a road to truth, and truth as the goal of an investigation. Yet time and again, high-visibility investigations of public scandals not only fail to uncover the truth, they seem to redirect the focus in the wrong direction. The Department of Defense's ("DoD") investigations of the detainee abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison are a recent example of this. With the departure of the Bush Administration, there is renewed interest in examining both the Abu Ghraib scandal and other aspects of the administration's interrogation policies. Senator Patrick Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, has proposed a truth commission on the lines of the South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Others have called for Congressional hearings, criminal investigations, and even war crimes prosecutions. A USA Today/Gallup poll showed that Americans favored an investigation into the possible use of torture during the Bush administration by an almost two-to-one margin.
Keith Rohman, Diagnosing and Analyzing Flawed Investigations: Abu Ghraib as a Case Study, 28 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 1 (2009).