Sunday, September 2, 2007

Abu Ghraib Postmortem/Janice Karpinski's Story

A year ago at the Chicago Humanities Festival, my brother Dave and I checked out the Hospitality Room for other festival presenters, and happened upon Janice Karpinski, the Brigadier-General in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison when the torture scandal broke out, in 2003. Not surprisingly, Karpinski became the scapegoat for what went on at the prison, another face (alongside principal torturer Charles Graner and his accomplice Lynddie England) of our national shame.

In our conversation, I found her to be a probing, down-to-earth, upright person who felt outraged by what had happened at the prison and also wrongly blamed for something that had violated the chain-of-command and was essentially out of her view. She blamed a host of higher-ups, including Generals Miller and Sanchez, as well as Donald Rumsfeld, for what had transpired.

Of course, most of the conversation, I kept saying in my head, I can't believe I'm talking to Janice Karpinski. Here's her interview with Truthout.

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