T Nation

Abu Ghraib: England and Karpinski???

Love 'em or hate 'em, Bill Maher brings up an important point:

Are you fu*kin’ kidding me???

A scandal of this magnitude and the only people you can come up with as being responsible are:

  1. Two low level enlisted people (among a few other enlisted people), one of whom is a mildly retarted, impressionable/full of low self- esteem, young girl from the country, who became pregnant by the other guy you convicted? (Private First Class Lyndie England)

  2. And one of the few Female Generals we have, who actually “fell on her sword” by being demoted from General to Colonel for the scandal (Brigadier General Janis Karpinski).

I don’t know, guys…it’s seems like the only person who stopped all this from becoming the “theater of the absurd” is the Military Judge who would not accept England’s guilty plea.

DON’T STRAW MAN ME!!!

I am not saying that some of these people were not wrong…but the one’s ultimately responsible?

Your thoughts?

Mufasa

my only comments are:

Don’t be so high in your praise of the lady general.

She didn’t fall on her sword, she was pushed. And she wouldn’t have been pushed had there been good reasons not to.

and…

Why is it so hard to believe that these young people did this stuff on their own?

That’s a serious question.

I haven’t yet seen anyone answer it.

The pictures that made it out looked like stuff you’d find on your average internet porn site. I don’t want to sound like Zeb about it, but isn’t it possible that the soldiers are victims of culture and circumstance?

Joe, I’m going to jump out and surprise you and say it is actually possible.

However, there are other issues and events that taken as a whole may mean further scrutiny is required.

Joe:

There is no question that within the Military Ranks, there can be a “Frat Boy/Frat Party” kind of mentality…and some of the pics looked almost like someone taking pics of Frat Hazing…

But the bigger question to me is whether so many prisoners could have been gathered up, on more than one occasion, and no one higher than PFc’s and Sargents knew about it?

And on top of all that, it just sort of “bypassed” a few levels of command, hit Kapinski…then “bypassed” everyone above her?

(Talk about precision, Laser Guided munitions hitting their target!)

It stetches reason and credibility to me…

Mufasa

[quote]vroom wrote:
Joe, I’m going to jump out and surprise you and say it is actually possible.

However, there are other issues and events that taken as a whole may mean further scrutiny is required.[/quote]

Holy shit.

Okay. And now I’m going to agree with you that there should be further scrutiny (not that you said that exactly).

I can see it stopping at her, actually.
From what I heard she wasn’t a very good general, so it may well be a convenient way to jettison her.

And you really can’t see all those prisoners rounded up?
Who all would be there except the sargeant at night?

Karpinski knows a shitload more about this than she’s telling.

Why else would she lawyer-up so fast? I think busing her to colonel is a slap on the wrist.

She’s yet another poster girl for getting PC the hell out of the military.

This is a little off topic…but I put it under the heading of:

Perspective…

In the last week alone hundreds more Iraqis (and Americans)have been killed and maimed than ever happened at Abu Ghraib AND Guantamomo combined…

I just wanted to say that…

Moving on!

Mufasa

RJ:

PLEASE don’t tell me that you feel that the Commissioning of Female Officers is part of some “PC” trend in your mind…

(Not meant to be a “Strawman” argument…I’m just asking for your clarification…)

Mufasa

[quote]Mufasa wrote:
RJ:

PLEASE don’t tell me that you feel that the Commissioning of Female Officers is part of some “PC” trend in your mind…

(Not meant to be a “Strawman” argument…I’m just asking for your clarification…)
Mufasa[/quote]

This is going to sound inordinately sexist, but…

I’m not against females recieveing a commission. I am totally against giving a female any job in a combat situation, or in a combat zone.

Leave the men to do a man’s job.

Now flame away.

Fair enough, RJ…

But it seems like the Military is carefully “picking targets” in this one…and it seems like the judge in England’s case was saying (symbolically AND maybe legally):

“Not in this case, guys…take it back and review what’s been done here”…

Am I off here?

Mufasa

THe lady general was the commander in charge of the prison. WIthout regard to sex, it would seem to me that the commander in charge would be the first person one would think to be to blame if there were no political agendas.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
THe lady general was the commander in charge of the prison. WIthout regard to sex, it would seem to me that the commander in charge would be the first person one would think to be to blame if there were no political agendas.[/quote]

It seems apparent to me that normal protocol, such as you described wrt the commanding general, wasn’t followed. I blame it on the fact that the CG was a female. The press went light on her, the AG went light on her, and everyone one but the judges was willing to let a bunch of noncoms take the fall.

Do you think that this incident would have played out like this if the CG was a male?

Let’s look at this as carefully as we can (without having access to all the facts)…

Based on testimony and reports, there are thee major players in these prisons: The Military Police, Military Intelligence/Linguistics/etc…and the ever-present CIA/FBI etc…

Now…these low-level guards seem to imply that not only were they “encouraged” to do the things that they did BY MILITARY INTELLIGENCE in order to get information from prisoners…they were “taught” some of the techniques…(Now…why they were not taught to be dumb enough to take pictures that end up in the hands of CBS is WAY beyond me…)…

So…the Civilian arm (CIA/FBI/State Dept., etc) have completely washed their hands…

Military Intelligence SEEMS to have done the same thing (yet they are an intergral part of these prisons)…

So we are left with the one arm (Police) that has a female Commander…and a lot of low-level Non-coms and enlisted people under her command?

As Commander of the Prison…I agree with BB…the General is where the “buck” stops…but what about the Chain of command of both HER branch (Police) and Military Intelligence (Which has a General ALSO in that chain of Command/Responsibility)?

Again…I’m asking merely for opinions, guys (because we don’t have all the facts…)…but I think the Judge at Fort Hood is the only one seeing that making an example out of England (the “poster girl” of the whole thing) is not going to fly…

Thoughts?

Mufasa

[quote]Mufasa wrote:

Again…I’m asking merely for opinions, guys (because we don’t have all the facts…)…but I think the Judge at Fort Hood is the only one seeing that making an example out of England (the “poster girl” of the whole thing) is not going to fly…

Thoughts?

Mufasa[/quote]

That wasn’t what I got out of it. She (England) pleaded guilty, but then during the sentencing hearing she tried to argue, and had witnesses testify, that she should receive a light sentence because she wasn’t really guilty.

I think the judge’s point was more that you can’t have it both ways. You either plead guilty and accept your punishment, or plead not guilty and defend yourself against the charges.

The general was out of her league. She was a not qualified for her job in many ways. She allowed herself to be locked out of parts of the prison, HER COMMAND, by the civilians, and was famous for wearing body armor all the time, espescially when the press was around.

IMHO what happened was a combination of many of the things mentioned in the thread. All of which end up in the general’s lap.

BTW, ask our american POWs from any era if they would have traded for a panty on the head or a leash on the neck. Read Stockdale’s book for perspective. An untidy situation, but political through and through.

[quote]mark57 wrote:
Mufasa wrote:

Again…I’m asking merely for opinions, guys (because we don’t have all the facts…)…but I think the Judge at Fort Hood is the only one seeing that making an example out of England (the “poster girl” of the whole thing) is not going to fly…

Thoughts?

Mufasa

That wasn’t what I got out of it. She (England) pleaded guilty, but then during the sentencing hearing she tried to argue, and had witnesses testify, that she should receive a light sentence because she wasn’t really guilty.

I think the judge’s point was more that you can’t have it both ways. You either plead guilty and accept your punishment, or plead not guilty and defend yourself against the charges.

[/quote]

But wasn’t it a witness who testified that she was actually following orders?
And that’s what brought everything to a standstill?

[quote]jackreape wrote:
The general was out of her league. She was a not qualified for her job in many ways. She allowed herself to be locked out of parts of the prison, HER COMMAND, by the civilians, and was famous for wearing body armor all the time, espescially when the press was around.

IMHO what happened was a combination of many of the things mentioned in the thread. All of which end up in the general’s lap.

BTW, ask our american POWs from any era if they would have traded for a panty on the head or a leash on the neck. Read Stockdale’s book for perspective. An untidy situation, but political through and through.[/quote]

I agree.

Karpinski allowed this to happen because she created the environment in her command. Was she a general because she was a woman? You would have to be naive to think it didn’t enter into the equation. The army has a way of putting warfighters in the right place. It’s the other ones, like Karpinski, they often have a problem with.

I would place a lot of the blame on Karpinski and the first sgt. at this prison. If they didn’t know what was going on, they should have or they were incompetent.

And yes I am sure Stockdale or McCain would have gladly wore a panty on their heaqd to avoid some of the shit they were subject too. Political reaction to a non-issue pure and simple. If it happened under Clinton it never would have gotten the same play or it would be considered part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy”.

“…She allowed herself to be locked out of parts of the prison, HER COMMAND, by the civilians…”

VERY intesting points, jack…sounds like one of those infamous “who really has jurisdiction” issues in many ways. Civilian “pressure” (CIA/FBI/State Department/Congress, etc.) can be tough on the Military…but I agree…she most certainly should have had more control.

A couple of you have brought up the treatment of our POW’s in War compared to what happened at Abu Ghraib…

Agreed…no comparison…

But what about the argument that we as Americans are supposed to be better than what we saw?

Mufasa

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
mark57 wrote:
Mufasa wrote:

Again…I’m asking merely for opinions, guys (because we don’t have all the facts…)…but I think the Judge at Fort Hood is the only one seeing that making an example out of England (the “poster girl” of the whole thing) is not going to fly…

Thoughts?

Mufasa

That wasn’t what I got out of it. She (England) pleaded guilty, but then during the sentencing hearing she tried to argue, and had witnesses testify, that she should receive a light sentence because she wasn’t really guilty.

I think the judge’s point was more that you can’t have it both ways. You either plead guilty and accept your punishment, or plead not guilty and defend yourself against the charges.

But wasn’t it a witness who testified that she was actually following orders?
And that’s what brought everything to a standstill?[/quote]

Yes, but you can’t plead guilty and THEN call witnesses to testify that you really aren’t guilty. She should have plead not guilty and based her defense on the fact that she was following orders. A lot of dirty laundry is about to be aired if this goes to trial.