SCV Newsmaker of the Week | BG Janis Karpinski, 800th Military Police Brigade (Abu Ghraib), 2004
SCV NEWSMAKER OF THE WEEK:
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, United States Army
Fmr. Commander, 800th Military Police Brigade
Sunday, July 4, 2004
Telephone interview conducted June 29, 2004
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, head of detention operations in Iraq in 2003-2004, discusses the challenges of running a prison system in the middle of an active war zone — and provides deep background on the highly publicized behaviors of some of her MPs while they were attached to a Military Intelligence unit operating inside certain Abu Ghraib Prison cell blocks that were not under Karpinski’s control.
This 2004 taping was also the first place the world learned — from a general officer in the chain of command — that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld personally authorized the use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques on Iraqi detainees. The Pentagon eventually released documents substantiating the fact.
Publicly, Karpinski was widely blamed for the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, even though it wasn’t true: The Army Inspector General concluded that “no action or lack of action on her part contributed specifically to the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib.” Privately, the officers and generals responsible for the “fog of war”-time breakdown of command and control, including the theater commander, were quietly demoted, reassigned, or simply cycled out of Iraq.