Former Abu Ghraib Cmdr points blame at D.C.

KarpinskiDemoted from Brigadier General after allegations that dereliction of duty led to the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, Col. Janis Karpinski is trying to clear her name from the scandal. As commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade in charge of Iraq’s chaotic prison system, Karpinski said she wasn’t truly in charge of Abu Ghraib when the abuses occurred. From an exclusive Savannah Now interview with Karpinski, now residing in Hilton Head, SC:

Karpinski said she wasn’t truly in charge of Abu Ghraib when the abuses occurred.

Gen. Geoffrey Miller, commander of the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, was. She thinks Miller was ordered by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to set up a similar operation in Iraq to gather intelligence to capture Saddam Hussein.

“He (Miller) said he was going to make Abu Ghraib the center for interrogation for all of Iraq. And that’s what he did,” she said. “Military police functions are entirely different than military intelligence. It was that blurring of the lines that created problems.”

Rather than an isolated incident involving “seven bad apples,” Karpinski argues the prisoner abuses were the result of “conflicting orders and confused standards extending from the military commanders in Iraq all the way to the summit of civilian leadership in Washington.”

From the first female general to command troops in a war zone to scapegoat for Pentagon interrogation policies gone awry, there’s a definite feeling that this story isn’t going away anytime soon. And beware the wrath of a woman general scorned.

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