- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2005


President Bush has approved the demotion of Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, whose unit was in charge during the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuses in Iraq in 2003, officials said yesterday.

The Army said three more-senior generals had been cleared of wrongdoing in the prisoner-abuse cases, actions that previously had been reported but not publicly confirmed by the Army.

Gen. Karpinski is the only general to be disciplined. The demotion to colonel means her career in the military, in which officers must rise in rank or leave, effectively is over.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has said it intends to hold hearings soon to assess whether senior Defense Department civilian and military leaders were adequately held accountable for the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuses.

The Army described its investigations as exhaustive, requiring six months of work, including sworn-statement interviews with 82 persons, including L. Paul Bremer, who was the top civilian authority in Iraq at the time, and Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Among those cleared by the Army was Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who was the top Army general in Iraq at the time of the prisoner abuses.

The Army said it could not substantiate two charges against Gen. Sanchez: dereliction in the performance of duties pertaining to detention and interrogation operations, and improperly communicating interrogation policies.

Gen. Karpinski also received a written reprimand by Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody for dereliction of duty and shoplifting and was relieved of command of the 800th Military Police Brigade on April 8.

A U.S. government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Gen. Karpinski was accused of shoplifting a cosmetic item from a shop at a domestic Air Force base while she earlier had held the rank of colonel. Gen. Karpinski did not report her arrest on this misdemeanor count on a later background check, the official said.

Without providing names, the Army also said yesterday that one colonel and two lieutenant colonels linked to detainee abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan were given unspecified administrative punishment. Also, two other lieutenant colonels were given letters of reprimand.

The generals who were cleared, in addition to Gen. Sanchez, were Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski and Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast. At the time, they were, respectively, Gen. Sanchez’s deputy in Iraq and intelligence chief.

Both were accused of dereliction of duty, but the accusations were not substantiated.

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