Thursday, April 28, 2005

Setting the Wrong Example

As you may have heard:

An Army inspector general's report has cleared senior Army officers of wrongdoing in the abuse of military prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere, government officials familiar with the findings said yesterday.

The only Army general officer recommended for punishment for the failures that led to abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison and other facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan is Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski, who was in charge of U.S. prison facilities in Iraq as commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade in late 2003 and early 2004. Several sources said Karpinski is expected to receive an administrative reprimand for dereliction of duty.

Military discipline and effectiveness in our forces has always been heavily dependent on accountability for your actions, especially from leadership. 'Walk-the-talk' has been a core value, long before private sector MBA degree programs began to see its importance.

The Army had a chance with the Abu Ghraib revelations - not a chance to witchhunt, but a chance to show how military justice ought to work. Yes, this justice and the associated penalties are more stringent than in civilian courts, but it's that way for a reason. This isn't the same thing as firing a baseball manager when his team goes belly-up.

Setting the example from the top has implications not found in civilian life. Personal accountability in leadership, if undermined or ignored, sets the wrong example, and worse, creates widespread cynicism among the troops - exactly what we don't need. The lack of placing accountability on appropriate leaders in the chain of command for Abu Ghraib is inexecuseable. It starts at the top, and it's another reason that I haven't removed the Rumsfeld-ought-to-be-fired calendar on the right side of this blog.

Read what one Army vet has to say.
Thanks to Buzzflash for the link

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link