US Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, the
officer who has been at the center of a storm about abuse and torture by US
soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, broke her silence Saturday. General Karpinski
was the commander of Abu Ghraib prison.
to the press from
her home in South Carolina, General Karpinski admitted to knowing about the
abuse since January, but denied that her reservist soldiers in the 800th Military
Police Brigade had been primarily responsible.
She said that her commanders wanted to escape responsibility by blaming the
reservist military police units under her command, and that her commanders considered
the reservist soldiers as "disposable."
She insisted that the regular army, active-duty, military intelligence units
bore the ultimate responsibility, saying, "Why would they want the active-duty
people to take the blame? They want to put this on the M.P.'s and hope that
this thing goes away. Well, it's not going to go away."
Karpinski may be justifiably shifting the spotlight onto her commanders, but
information does indicate that Karpinski had active-duty, non-reservist, military
intelligence personnel under her direct command. Military intelligence personnel
were often asked to help torture prisoners in the notorious 1A cellblock, according
to published reports.
Karpinski, a former
Special Forces intelligence officer who speaks Arabic, spent 10 years in the
Army before entering the reserves in 1987. She said she did not know what was
going on in the 1A torture cellblock in the prison she ran because it was off
limits to her troops.
A secret report prepared by the Army, and disclosed
by The New Yorker magazine recommended that seven members of a military
police unit be charged. The report not recommended that General Karpinski face