06/18/2008 06:21 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dear Colin Powell: This Is What A Good Soldier Does

It's called loyalty to a higher principal than "your leader." A higher principle than "following orders."

From today's Washington Post:

The two-star general who led an Army investigation into the horrific detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib has accused the Bush administration of war crimes and is calling for accountability.

In his 2004 report on Abu Ghraib, then-Major General Anthony Taguba concluded that "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees." He called the abuse "systemic and illegal." And, as Seymour M. Hersh reported in the New Yorker, he was rewarded for his honesty by being forced into retirement.

Now, in a preface to a Physicians for Human Rights report based on medical examinations of former detainees, Taguba adds an epilogue to his own investigation.

Et cetera.

It's a different code of conduct than Colin Powell's keeping one's mouth shut and not rocking the boat. It's what democracy is looking for in its leaders -- military and civilian.

Something to salute.