Monday, July 05, 2004

Karpinski knows too much

The finger-pointing over Abu Ghraib continues. Last month, Brig. Gen Janis Karpinski (former commander of the prison), pointed the finger at her superiors, claiming that abuses had been directly authorised by generals Sanchez and Miller. Now she's also fingering Rumsfeld:

Brig-Gen Janis Karpinski, who commanded the 800th Military Police Brigade, which is at the centre of the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, said that documents yet to be released by the Pentagon would show that Mr Rumsfeld personally approved the introduction of harsher conditions of detention in Iraq.


During inquiries into the scandal, she has repeatedly maintained that the treatment of Iraqi detainees was taken out of her hands by higher-ranking officials, acting on orders from Washington.

"Since all this came out," she replied, "I've not only seen, but I've been asked about some of those documents, that he [Mr Rumsfeld] signed and agreed to."

Asked whether the documents have been made public, Gen Karpinski replied "No" and went on to describe the methods approved in them as involving "dogs, food deprivation and sleep deprivation".

Rumsfeld's response has been to deny everything and blame people lower down the food-chain - particularly General John Abizaid. I wonder what he thinks of that?

As I've said before, none of this gets Karpinski off the hook - she was at the very least grossly negligent for allowing torture to occur "on her watch" - but it does tell us who else should be in the dock with her. Except that she's not in the dock - she has been suspended, but not charged with anything. Why not? Because if she was charged, she would be entitled to a defence, to demand documentary evidence and call witnesses under oath. And from what she's already said, that would be deeply damaging not only to her superiors, but to the Bush administration. She simply knows too much...