Saturday, May 07, 2005

That's "Colonel Karpinski" to you

Colonel (formerly Brigadier General) Janis Karpinksi has been demoted for dereliction of duty as the commander of 800th MP BDE (the unit in charge of Abu Ghraib during the abuse) and an unrelated shoplifting charge.
PFC Lynndie England admitted this week that the abusers were not acting on orders from their chain of command to abuse the prisoners. That being said, PFC England's chain of command should have supervised her and the other soldiers better.
Dan at Schadenfreude, wrote in a comment to an earlier post about Karpinski that he "must admit to some disappointment that she is the ONLY officer being punished. The chain of responsibility was broken at the top, yes. But what about the first line leader? What was the LT up to? The company commander and 1SG? There is a lot of blame to be assessed here, and although I'm not a BG Karpinski fan, she shouldn't be the {only} scapegoat. Lower-level leaders should have had positive control of the situation."
I couldn't agree more, Dan.
Here is what happened to the other officers between the lower enlisted soldiers and Karpinski. Many of them got hammered for not knowing what their soldiers were up to . . . as it should be. Soldiers I spoke with who were familiar with the 800th MP BDE told me that her command climate was atrocious and that she allowed all sorts of crazy things (e.g. officer/enlisted relationships) to go on.
For Dan, here are some of the other officers who were punished.

Without providing their names, the Army also said that one colonel and two lieutenant colonels linked to detainee abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan were given unspecified administrative punishment. Two other lieutenant colonels were given letters of reprimand.
More than a dozen other lower-ranking officers, whose names were not released, also received various punishments. Three majors were given letters of reprimand and one of the three also was given an unspecified administrative punishment. Three captains were court-martialed, one captain was given an other-than-honorable discharge from the Army, five captains received letters of reprimand, and one was given an unspecified administrative punishment. Two first lieutenants were court-martialed, another received a letter of reprimand and one was given administrative punishment. One second lieutenant was given an other-than-honorable discharge and another was given a letter of reprimand. Two chief warrant officers were court-martialed.

The whole article is here

update: NOTR has his own take on relief of COL Pappas, one of the leaders caught up in the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Just to clarify my own position, the punishments for deriliction of duty should increase in severity the closer down the chain of command you go. Like Dan said, where was the company commander and the First Sergeant?
I fault BG Karpinski partially on the poor command climate she fostered and partially on her blame-dodging / fingerpointing after the story broke.