“This System is Broken”

“THIS SYSTEM IS BROKEN”….So how did the Army respond to the Red Cross report in November about abuses at Abu Ghraib prison? Here are two accounts:

  • “Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade, whose soldiers guarded the prisoners, said that despite the serious allegations in the Red Cross report, senior officers in Baghdad had treated it in ‘a light-hearted manner.’

    “She said that she signed the Army’s response on Dec. 24, but that it had been drafted primarily by Army lawyers who reported to Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the top American commander in Iraq.”

  • “Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the ground commander in Iraq, said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that it was two months before he learned of a report the International Committee of the Red Cross submitted to his command on Nov. 6. That report was the earliest formal evidence of extreme abuses at Abu Ghraib known to have been presented to the military before January, when the military started a broad inquiry.”

Let me get this straight: Sanchez says he didn’t even learn about the existence of the Red Cross report until January. But his lawyers had already drafted and completed a “light-hearted” response by December 24.

In other words, this wasn’t just a matter of Sanchez getting behind in his mail. Rather, it was deliberate policy to ignore those annoying Red Cross reports and fob them off on the legal staff for their amusement.

“This system is broken,” said Sanchez’s boss. That’s one way of putting it.