President Bush Demotes Abu Ghraib’s Karpinski

Janis Karpinski , the former commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade during the time of the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, has finally been demoted to colonol from brigadier general.

Bush approves demotion of Gen. Karpinski in prison scandal (USA Today)

The Army will demote and issue a formal letter of reprimand to the only general punished in the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski will be reduced to the rank of colonel as a result of an Army Inspector General investigation into a scandal that tarnished the United States’ reputation abroad and set in motion a string of high-level inquiries. In a statement released Thursday, the Army said Karpinski was guilty of dereliction of duty and shoplifting. Investigators did not substantiate allegations that she made a false statement to an investigating team and failed to obey a lawful order. Karpinski was relieved of command of the 800th Military Police Brigade on April 8.

President Bush had to approve the Pentagon’s action against Karpinski. In its statement, the Army said that “though Brig. Gen. Karpinski’s performance of duty was found to be seriously lacking, the investigation determined that no action or lack of action on her part contributed specifically to the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib.”

It’s amazing this action took so long. She was in command of the prisons. Whether she knowingly turned a blind eye to the abuses there or was simply clueless about the things going on in her command is largely immaterial.

It should be pointed out, though, that while Karpinski was formally relieved on April 8, she was suspended in May 2004 pending the outcome of the investigation. As written, the story makes it sound like she was still running the unit until last month.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    It’s nice to know that when you’re a general officer the appropriate punishment for dereliction of duty and shoplifting is to retire as a Colonel.

  2. Michael says:

    She was in command of the prisons. Whether she knowingly turned a blind eye to the abuses there or was simply clueless about the things going on in her command is largely immaterial.

    Does this apply to the Commander in Chief as well?

  3. Fersboo says:

    ‘Does this apply to the Commander in Chief as well?’

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!111 dude, u r sooooo funny !!!!!!!11

    I mean, that is like the mayor of NYC being fired because a bunch of meter maids started to write bogus tickets and were extorting citizens. Makes sense right?!? Fire the mayor because he ‘fostered’ the atmoshphere of corruption.

    Come on and get real, Michael.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Michael: Fersboo is right. There is such a thing as span of control. Nobody expects the Commander in Chief or SECDEF or even combatant commander to supervise the activities of prison guards. On the other hand, one does expect that of the commander of the prison.

    To extend Fersboo’s civilian analogy, we would expect the warden to be fired if this was going on at a domestic prison, not the the mayor and governor.

  5. Clarence Hunter says:

    The action of the prison guards is merely a reflection of the insensitivity of Americans towards people who are different than they.

  6. James Joyner says:

    DCL: I’m not thrilled, either. The problem is that promotion to general officer rank is not permanent whereas promotion to colonel is. To demote her beyond this would require a court martial conviction.

  7. Jim Henley says:

    When are they going to punish Karpinski for her role in inserting the “seventeen words” into Colin Powell’s UN speech? What about when she disbanded the Iraqi Army right after the CPA took over? Also, didn’t she threaten to fire a White House budget analyst if he spilled the beans on the likely real costs of the Medicare bill?

    Seems to me the woman has barely begun to pay for her crimes.

  8. LJD says:

    We’re so insensitive towards people who are different from us, like those who blow themselves up to kill innocent women and children. Shame on us.

  9. Jem says:

    Sounds like it was too much caffeine for Mr. Henley this morning…

    Hang in there, though. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes.

  10. bithead says:

    Michael: Fersboo is right. There is such a thing as span of control. Nobody expects the Commander in Chief or SECDEF or even combatant commander to supervise the activities of prison guards. On the other hand, one does expect that of the commander of the prison.

    Aw, James… you went and spoiled an anti-Bush attack, with FACT. You Killjoy, you.

  11. bithead says:

    Sounds like it was too much caffeine for Mr. Henley this morning…

    No….

    Just desperation to hang something/anything on someone/anyone to justify what cannot thusfar ben justified… Henley’s insane position against our actions in Iraq.

  12. David Eccles says:

    Nice diversion. Here’s what every media outlet should be talking about. Read this and you’ll realize the truth of the entire debacle called Iraqi Freedom. Bush belongs in prison, not the White House.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html

  13. That’s great. Demoting a general who by everyone’s admission was only guilty of not noticing the abuse at Abu Ghraib is a good step. Of course, we’ll next be going after the people who actually authorized the abuse, right?

    Like General Ricardo Sanchez who authorized the illegal use of dogs on prisoners…
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1448282,00.html

    Or General Geoffrey Miller who illegally suggested using MPs to “soften up” prisoners…
    http://www.sundayherald.com/42067

    Or maybe even Donald Rumsfeld, since he took responsibility for the whole thing…
    http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/5/7/121822.shtml