Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Karpinski fingers Sanchez and Miller

With careers (and pensions) on the line, the serious finger-pointing is beginning, with Brig Gen Janis Karpinski (the commandant of US prisons in Iraq and ultimate commander of the MPs at Abu Ghraib) laying blame for events there at the feet of Generals Sanchez and Miller.

In a radio interview for the BBC, Karpinski said that Lt General Ricardo Sanchez (the commander of US forces in Iraq) "should be asked what he knew about the abuse", and that Maj General Geoffrey Miller (the commander of Guantanamo and new commander of Abu Ghraib) told her to treat detainees like dogs:

She said current Iraqi prisons chief Maj Gen Geoffrey Miller - who was in charge at Guantanamo Bay - visited her in Baghdad and said: "At Guantanamo Bay we learned that the prisoners have to earn every single thing that they have."

"He said they are like dogs and if you allow them to believe at any point that they are more than a dog then you've lost control of them."

None of this gets Karpinski off the hook, of course - she is responsible for everything that happened in her command, whether she knew about it or not, and guilty of a gross failure of leadership for allowing torture to occur "on her watch". But what it does tell us is who else ought to be in the dock with her. And it's becoming clear that both these generals are in this up to their necks - Miller for recommending that Abu Ghraib be "Gitmo-ized", and Sanchez for authorising abusive interrogation techniques and ordering that a prisoner be hidden from Red Cross inspectors. So why aren't they being held to account?