Read on for the totally unsurprising quotes from Janis Karpinski on Abu Ghraib within her book "One Woman's Army" [via the Deccan Herald], and also for the publisher's notes [via Powell's Books]
Hope springs eternal that Karpinski's scapegoating deters women from enlisting in the military - Lynette
November 18, 2005
"Bush to blame for Abu Ghraib"
The former US commander of Abu Ghraib prison said she was held up unfairly as a scapegoat by "male warriors" but the real blame for the abuse scandal rests with military leaders and the White House.
In her newly released autobiography One Woman's Army: The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story, Janis Karpinski recounts her side of the scandal that led to her demotion and prompted international outrage over the mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at the US military-run prison.
Karpinski said the abuses at Abu Ghraib "were not the work of a few wayward soldiers and their female leader." "They were the result of conflicting orders from the military commanders in Iraq all the way to the summit of civilian leadership in Washington," she writes. While other senior army officers are yet to be prosecuted or demoted, Karpinski said the military quickly pinned blame on her after the scandal erupted.
On the order of President George Bush, Karpinski was later demoted from the rank of brigadier general to colonel. Lower ranking officers and soldiers have been punished as well.
Karpinski writes that she had no idea of the brewing scandal until she learned in a brief e-mail that proof of abuse from an internal investigation would be presented to the commander of US troops in Iraq. According to her book, it was the first time she had heard about possible abuses at Abu Ghraib and the first time she had heard about the internal investigation.
Ten days later, she met General Richard Sanchez, then commander of US forces in Iraq, and she remains bitter that she was made a "sacrificial lamb." Nothing sticks in my craw more than Sanchez's comment during our meeting. "Do you have any idea what this will do to my Army?"
"There was nothing subtle about that message. This was his Army. I wrote this book to dispute that claim," she writes.
One Woman's Army: The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story
Synopses & Reviews
In an outspoken memoir that is sure to generate controversy, General Janis Karpinski tells the real story of the tragic and shameful events of 2004 from her first-hand experience.
Karpinski had a long, distinguished career in the military: she received a Bronze Star for her service in the Gulf War, and most recently, served as the Commander of the Military Police Brigade and was the first and only female General Officer commanding troops in a combat zone in Iraq. And although she had no training in handling criminal prisoners, she was selected to run Abu Ghraib.
In One Woman's Army
, Karpinski takes us inside the prison walls and describes unflinchingly what it was like to interact with the Iraqi prisoners, the corruption within the armed forces and the accompanying private firms, and her meeting with Saddam Hussein, who refused to believe that a woman could be in charge. She talks about what life is really like for women in the armed forces and the tremendous obstacles she has faced.
Co-written with Newsweek
correspondent Steven Strasser, she forcefully argues that the bulk of the blame for the Abu Ghraib scandal goes to the very top of the chain of command ? to Lieutenant General Sanchez; Ambassador Bremer; Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ? and tells why she has been made a scapegoat. Hers is a story of military leaders run amok, and a moving portrait of a woman who spent her life defying the odds in pursuit of her dream.
"Karpinski accepts her own shortcomings but maintains that she was made a scapegoat in the shameful events....This is a completely fascinating look at a troubling event from the perspective of a woman who has been on the frontline." Booklist
"Her memoir convincingly demonstrates that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez and his staff made her the scapegoat for the Abu Ghraib scandal because she was a reservist and a woman. Recommended..." Library Journal
In an outspoken memoir and expose sure to generate controversy, the commanding general of Abu Ghraib tells her story of the tragic and shameful events in Iraq.
General Janis Karpinski, who received a Bronze Star for service in the Gulf War, tells the real story behind the shameful and tragic events at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. 16 pages of photographs.
About the Author
Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski has been in the U.S. military for over twenty-five years, most recently as the Commander of the Military Police Brigade in Iraq. She received a Bronze Star for her service in the Gulf War. She now lives in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Steven Strasser is a former editor and foreign correspondent for Newsweek. He now teaches journalism at Purchase College in New York.
Subtitle: The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story
With: Strasser, Steven
Publisher: Miramax Books