Donald Rumsfeld

Abu Ghraib and Brigadier General Karpinski

For everyone out there that believes only the Privates, Corporals, and Sergeants will be punished for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison (and they should be punished), please read the following post.

BG Karpinski shouldn't be allowed to retire quietly. She shouldn't get away with a letter of reprimand. She should have the book - the whole book - thrown at her. As the 800th MP Brigade Commander, she is ultimately responsible for the unit that committed the abuse. Major General Taguba explains why she needs to be severely punished (this is in reference to questions about his FEBRUARY investigation):

...“Lack of discipline, no training whatsoever and a lack of leadership presence,” Taguba replied to one senator’s question for a short answer as to why the alleged abuse happened at Abu Ghraib.

In later testimony, Taguba expanded on his short answer.

To support the lack of discipline comment, the general told the committee there was no single standard uniform for either the MP guards or the military intelligence specialists who were responsible for interrogating the detainees -- they wore whatever they felt like wearing...

The part about lack of uniformity in the MPs dress is quite telling. I don't think that I've ever seen an MP (combat included) who's boots weren't shined and didn't look like a recruiting poster. The crisp look of an MP in uniform has a purpose - that purpose is to demonstrate discipline and create respect for the law.

...As far as training for operating a prison or detainee facility -- a valid mission for an MP unit -- Taguba said several guards questioned during the investigation said they had received no detainee security and resettlement training since arriving at their mobilization station prior to deployment. A search of training records from the 320th confirmed that no such training had occurred in battalion during the past year.
No such training in the past year? The S-3s (Operations Officers - staff responsible for conducting operations and training) for Battalion and Brigade should be taken to task on this.

And here is the worst part of the whole mess. Major General Taguba testified about Brigadier General Karpinski.

Taguba faulted the 800th MP Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, for lack of any substantive command presence at Abu Ghraib. He said that Karpinski attempted to mislead him during his investigation about the number of visits she made to the prison. A check with her aide and her calendar confirmed that Karpinski’s visits were less than she said....
All of the above reasons indicate a definite lack of leadership at the Abu Ghraib prison. The person responsible for the leadership of the prison, the 320th MP Battalion, and the 800th MP Brigade is BG Karpinski.

You will hear claims that the MPs were ordered to commit the abuse - from Military Intelligence and from superiors. If this were true, there would be no need for Karpinski to try to cover her @$$.

Because of her lack of leadership, she made our work at making the world a safer place that much more difficult. Because of her gross lack of leadership, more lives may be lost in this War on Terror.

There is little doubt in my mind that, if Karpinski had demonstrated a minimal amount of leadership at Abu Ghraib, the abuse never would have happened.

Update: Peter sends this WSJ story about Abu Ghraib and it's a good one.

Phil Carter has a post about one of the MPs cooperating with the investigation. Although it doesn't look like the leadership was complicit in the abuse of prisoners, I still believe that the lack of leadership was directly responsible for allowing the amount and type of abuse to occur.

I also disagree a bit (just a bit) with Phil on his previous post about Reservist General Officers lacking the training and experience to the job. I have known more than a few Reserve Generals and most are top knotch. And no officer in the Army Reserve or National Guard spends just 39 days per year on duty. They put in a lot of time that is unaccounted for in order to make their missions successful. I also know that most Reserve General Officers spend a lot of time traveling to their various subordinate commands as the Reserve and National Guard units tend to be far flung instead of in one geographic location (like Fort Hood).

I do agree with Phil that Karpinski is a slug.