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Sunday, May 09, 2004
Where is Col. Joe Dowdy?

What really happened to the Commander of the 1st Marine Regiment at the conclusion of the first week of the Iraq war?
From April 6, 2003 to the time of this post, the Colonel has literally vanished from the face of the Earth.
Are there lessons in Dowdy's historic removal for investigators exploring the path to Abu Ghraib?

The Marine Corps relieved one of its top commanders in Iraq yesterday, an extremely unusual action, especially for a unit engaged in combat...The U.S. military was unusually guarded about discussing the reason for the battlefield removal. The Central Command, the U.S. military headquarters for the war, announced the action but offered no explanation for it.
--Thomas Ricks, Washington Post, April 5, 2003

Collins: Now, obviously we don't want to speculate too much here, but there has been talk of some criticism from the battlefield for Secretary Rumsfeld and the battle plan. That may have had something to do with this.
Turner: It's obviously totally and wholly inappropriate to have those kinds of discussions by active forces actively engaged in combat. And if that was the case, that would be pretty much a show-stopper. But again, we really don't know what it was, so it's really -- we shouldn't speculate on exactly what caused it.
Collins: Right, right. And that being said, I do want to make it clear, though, that it is illegal, I mean, flat-out illegal for an officer to make those sort of comments during combat, right?
Turner: That's correct. It's -- there are very clear constraints on active duty military forces and how they address, and how they refer to the civilian chain of command.
--CNN, April 5, 2003, 9:08 ET

Mr. Russert: In a very unusual move, your fellow Marine, Colonel Joe Dowdy, was relieved of his duties as a commander in the field. Why did that happen?
General Pace: It would be inappropriate for me to sit here in Washington and make judgment on that. That was a chain of command decision made in the field, and I would leave it at that.
--Meet The Press, April 6, 2003

But, as we have observed, the Iraq cheney of command was, to use a rummy word, fungible.

Photo: USMC
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