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Pentagon Report On Abuse Has To Be Joke
Top Brass Exonerated; GIs Blamed
Helen Thomas, Hearst White House columnist
POSTED: 10:14 am EDT April 28, 2005
The Pentagon has got to be kidding.
It turns out that only those rogue enlisted men and women, and one woman general, are to blame for the horrifying treatment of prisoners and detainees of the Iraqi war, according to Lt. Gen. Stanley Green, the Army Inspector General.
He cleared four senior Army officers of any responsibility for the abuse of prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison after reviewing the results of 10 separate inquiries into the prison abuse, some of which the world was able to view though photos.
In effect, his report is the final word unless there are some brave members of Congress who are willing to investigate the role of the military higher-ups who gave the green light for the severe interrogation of prisoners in U.S. custody.
The responsibility ultimately lies with President George W. Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- then White House counsel -- who decided that the Geneva Conventions on Humanitarian Treatment of Prisoners of War didn't apply in the "war on terrorism."
Among the military hierarchy, only Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, an Army reserve officer who commanded the military police unit at Abu Gharib, has paid a price. Karpinski, who was relieved of her command and given a written reprimand, claims she is a scapegoat and plans to fight the charge.
The military has targeted 125 individuals with either criminal or administrative charges in connection with 350 cases of abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan. Six low-ranking servicemen have been convicted or pleaded guilty to abuse-related charges.
* In a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Karpinski pointed to the role of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who had been sent from his duty at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba prison -- known as "Gitmo" -- to Iraq where his orders were to "Gitmoize" Abu Ghraib. Miller told officers there "to treat the prisoners like dogs."
Green exonerated Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who headed the command in Iraq from June 2003 to July 2004. Green said charges against Sanchez and three of his senior deputies were "unsubstantiated."