I think Col. Karpinski – no offense intended – is exhibiting a flaw in her logic. She might just have been a scapegoat, I’m not denying that possibility, but she states that the newly released memos “vindicate” her.
Col. Karpinski stated, “That is what we have been saying from the very beginning, that, wait a minute, why are you inside pointing the finger at me, why are you pointing the fingers at the soldiers here? There’s a bigger story here.”
What is the “bigger story”?
“The Senate Armed Forces Committee released a report Tuesday, five days after the memos were released, stating that senior Bush administration officials authorized aggressive interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists, despite concerns from military psychologists and attorneys.
“The report points to then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s approval of such techniques — including stress positions, removal of clothing, use of phobias (such as fear of dogs), and deprivation of light and auditory stimuli — in December 2002 for detainees at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His OK prompted interrogators in Afghanistan and Iraq to adopt the aggressive techniques.”
These so-called aggressive interrogation techniques (which some people call torture but others do not. There is no consensus that they are torture.) that were “approved” included keeping prisoners temporarily naked, or sensory deprived, or made to think that an object of a phobia is present (which may or may not be true). What was not “authorized” in the memos written by Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee and other people was what occurred at Abu Ghraib.
This is where Col. Karpinski’s logic breaks down. How does allowing prisoners to be kept temporarily naked suddenly equal “stacking” naked prisoners on top of each other and taking photos of them? Those are completely different things. In any case, calling what was done “torture” begs the question. Was it really torture? Some people think it was, others do not. Col. Karpinski says it was torture.
“I think it was torture, absolutely. You know, I was never inside an interrogation room where they were conducting interrogations, but I read the memorandums many times over,” she said. “Waterboarding is torture.”
Again, that’s begging the question. In any case, the parts of the memos I’ve read in no way authorized what occured at Abu Ghraib. Maybe what was authorized and some of what occured only differ by degrees but those degrees make a large difference. In no way am I defending what occurred at Abu Ghraib, I think it was despicable. However, saying these memos vindicate her is an awfully large and faulty leap in logic by Col. Karpinski. She might have been unfairly punished but that’s not a judgment I can make.