Friday, May 06, 2005
I'm not sure I agree that General Karpinski "deserves" this demotion; here's the headline on the Wa Po story:
General Demoted, But Cleared in Abuse ProbeAnd among the more bitter ironies: whereas it was President Bush himself who selected the three key architects of his Iraq policy for bestowal of the Medal of Freedom...
President Bush approved yesterday an order demoting Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski, the only general to be punished in connection with investigations into detainee abuse at U.S. military prisons.
Karpinski's rank was reduced to colonel, and she was issued a reprimand and relieved of her command. But the Army's inspector general recommended the sanctions based on a broad charge of dereliction of duty, as well as on a charge of shoplifting, essentially clearing her of responsibility for the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.
Pentagon officials have cited Karpinski's punishment as evidence that the military has taken the Abu Ghraib abuse seriously. But the inspector general's report does not link Karpinski's deficiencies to the abuse and, as reported last week, clears four other top officers who were in charge of the war in Iraq....
I think Riggsveda is right that the Sanchez head on a platter is a sufficient symbolic price for the refusal of this administration to come clean on a policy that was approved at the highest level, a policy that was inherently immoral, undemocratically secretive, contrary to solemn, sworn, commitments made by this country in international agreements entered into voluntarily, (in fact, most of those agreements were the result of US leadership when that phrase meant that a good portion of the world was willing to follow such leadership), and which ultimately managed to make us less secure while it damaged our reputation around the world.
Still, it seems to me we need a sequel to plumb the depths of the failures of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, for which General Sanchez is but a handy symbol. Chief among these failures would have to be the deaths and injuries suffered by our own troops and so many more of the Iraqi people. And by "failures" I don't merely mean the decision to go to war, I mean the way it was waged and the way the occupation that followed was conceived of and administered.
However, since we are approaching Memorial Day at the end of this month, let's stay focused on the young men and woman and their families who have suffered the greatest loss. I can't find a better way to do that than to point you to an wonderful post/essay by Lance Manion currently available at his eponymous blog.. I will say no more about it; trust me and go and read it here. And the comments as well. Lance links to three related posts by Tom Watson you should also read, along with the comments, which ask questions about our lack of a national way to grieve..
Both bloggers are accused of using the deaths of soldiers to advance a political agenda. Falsely. The critics have their own politics, of course, but what I found most disappointing was their inability to read the language in which both Tom and Lance speak of our national loss. Words matter, the way words are put together matter. The voice in which these posts are written rings true, and it is an insult to that which unites us as Americans across political differences, not to be able to hear that truth.
Tom also posits a suggestion for the upcoming Memorial Day, about which Lance has questions with which I agree. However, there is something appealing about blogtopia (thank-you skippy) as a whole finding some way to grieve for those of our American families who are the ones who have directly experience the most tragic loses ensuing from our engagement in Iraq. See what you think. Then let Tom, Lance, and/or us know.
I'm usually reluctant to link to old posts of mine, I did some thinking of my own on this subject in November, 2003, stimulated by the occasion of Veterans' Day. If you're interested to see what things looked like back then, you can find the related posts, here, here, and here.
*Corrected for errors caused by the wrong draft being published.