A word from the enemy

Today there's a piece on the Op-Ed page of the San Francisco Chronicle by Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was commander of the military police organization that was in charge of Abu Ghraib. She has been suspended from command duties, and is the only Important person to have suffered any kind of disciplinary action in that affair.

Evil, evil, evil.

Easier to say than Scapegoat, scapegoat, scapegoat. (Three spondees in a row will never make a good rallying cry.) Which is the more accurate? Maybe one should read her statement.

Definitely one should read her statement. Allow for the fact that this career military officer is, in effect, fighting for her life. Then see what she's saying.

One sample: "Army Reserve Spc. Charles Graner Jr., tagged as the likely ringleader, was not so astute or familiar with the Arab culture to devise the humiliating acts and techniques demonstrated in the photographs." Never thought of that, myself; nor can I recall anyone else saying it. She goes on, "It is unlikely any military person designed or directed these photographs, because soldiers are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and can face prosecution." I can't say how true that is; she may be biased in favor of the military; on the other hand, she knows a lot more about the military than I do. But which is a likelier suspect: the military, which does have some kind of code and is run largely by people with great pride in traditions of Duty, Honor, Country; or private contractors who officially and explicitly are accountable to no one in the world except the unaccountable secret bureaucracy that hired them?

Duhh, you knew that last part. But when you've read the rest of what she said, you will have an idea of why she was selected as Lord High Substitute to suffer for the sins of the people who were responsible.

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