William Tecumseh Sherman
(February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891) was an American
soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a general
in the United States Army
during the American Civil War
(1861–65), receiving both recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy
, and criticism for the harshness of the "scorched earth
" policies he implemented in conducting total war
against the enemy. Military historian Basil Liddell Hart
famously declared that Sherman was "the first modern general."
Sherman served under General Ulysses S. Grant
in 1862 and 1863 during the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate
stronghold of Vicksburg
on the Mississippi River
and culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee
. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union
commander in the western theater
of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta
, a military success that contributed decisively to the re-election
of President Abraham Lincoln
. Sherman's subsequent march through Georgia
and the Carolinas
further undermined the Confederacy's ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida
in April 1865.
The Medal of Honor
is the highest military decoration
awarded by the United States
. It is often colloquially referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor
because the President
presents the award "in the name of the Congress". It is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself "…conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States…" Members of all branches of the U.S. military
are eligible to receive the medal, and each service has a unique design (although the Marine Corps uses the Navy's medal and a specific Coast Guard's version of the medal has never been awarded. The Medal of Honor is often presented personally to the recipient or, in the case of posthumous
awards, to survivors, by the President of the United States. Due to its high status, the medal has special protection under U.S. law.
Beginning in 2004, accounts of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, including torture, rape, of prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (also known as Baghdad Correctional Facility) came to public attention. These acts were committed by military police personnel of the United States Army together with additional US governmental agencies.
holding a leash attached to a prisoner, known to the guards as "Gus", who is lying on the floor.
Revealed in the Taguba Report, an initial criminal investigation by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command had already been underway, where soldiers of the 320th Military Police Battalion had been charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with prisoner abuse. In 2004, articles describing the abuse, including pictures showing military personnel appearing to abuse prisoners, came to public attention, when a 60 Minutes II news report (April 28) and an article by Seymour M. Hersh in The New Yorker magazine (posted online on April 30 and published days later in the May 10 issue) reported the story.
The United States Department of Defense removed seventeen soldiers and officers from duty, and eleven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery. Between May 2004 and March 2006, eleven soldiers were convicted in courts-martial, sentenced to military prison, and dishonorably discharged from service. Two soldiers, Specialist Charles Graner, and his former fiancée, Specialist Lynndie England, were sentenced to ten years and three years in prison, respectively, in trials ending on January 14, 2005 and September 26, 2005. The commanding officer of all Iraq detention facilities, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, was reprimanded for dereliction of duty and then demoted to the rank of Colonel on May 5, 2005. Col. Karpinski has denied knowledge of the abuses, claiming that the interrogations were authorized by her superiors and performed by subcontractors, and that she was not even allowed entry into the interrogation rooms.
The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib was in part the reason that on April 12, 2006, the United States Army
activated the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion, the first of four joint interrogation battalions.
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