Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Abu Ghraib - the report

The army's full report is available online. If anything, it's probably worse than I imagined. Not only were prisoners being abused, but the report also makes it clear that that prison guards were untrained for the job they were performing, that they didn't follow basic procedures in documentation, often didn't have a very good idea as to how many prisoners they were guarding and that prisoner escapes were common.

The documentation was so shoddy that there were "unreported cases of escape that were probably “written off” as administrative errors or otherwise undocumented". The report also says that the prison population was over its capacity while the prison was simultaneously "undermanned and under resourced". Some of the Iraqi guards were unreliable and provided weapons to inmates and helped others escape.

All in all it's a complete disgrace to the soldiers & marines in Iraq, to the military generally and to the US.

This passage damns General Karpinski
Lessons learned (i.e. Findings and Recommendations from various 15-6 Investigations concerning escapes and accountability lapses) were rubber stamped as approved and ordered implemented by BG Karpinski. There is no evidence that the majority of her orders directing the implementation of substantive changes were ever acted upon. Additionally, there was no follow-up by the command to verify the corrective actions were taken. Had the findings and recommendations contained within their own investigations been analyzed and actually implemented by BG Karpinski, many of the subsequent escapes, accountability lapses, and cases of abuse may have been prevented.
The unit in charge of the prison was originally intended to go home in May of last year. When their mission was extended, morale suffered and "there did not appear to have been any attempt by the Command to mitigate this morale problem".

The only bright spot in the report is near the end
Throughout the investigation, we observed many individual Soldiers and some subordinate units under the 800th MP Brigade that overcame significant obstacles, persevered in extremely poor conditions, and upheld the Army Values. We discovered numerous examples of Soldiers and Sailors taking the initiative in the absence of leadership and accomplishing their assigned tasks.