Photos show US soldiers tortured Iraqis
The U.S. military is weighing disciplinary action against the Army general who was in charge of a prison on the western outskirts of Baghdad where American troops were accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners, officials said on Thursday.
The pictures showed U.S. troops smiling, posing, laughing or giving the thumbs-up sign as naked, male Iraqi prisoners were stacked in a pyramid or positioned to simulate sex acts with one another.
One Iraqi man had a slur written on his skin in English. Another was directed by Americans to stand on a box with his head covered, and wires attached to his hands, and was informed that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted.
Karpinski, who left Iraq earlier this year as part of a scheduled rotation of U.S. forces, "might be determined to be blameless," Morgenthaler added.
"We found it very abhorrent that American soldiers indulged in those acts of humiliation. And second of all, they photographed these acts. It's very shameful," Morgenthaler said.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. officer in Iraq, "responded swiftly" upon learning of the conduct with criminal and administrative investigations, Morgenthaler said.
The U.S. military now holds several thousand prisoners at Abu Ghraib, most of them rounded up on suspicion of carrying out attacks against U.S.-led forces.
The U.S. military announced on March 20 it had brought criminal charges against six soldiers with the 800th Military Police Brigade, which could lead to court-martials. The charges, stemming from a probe launched in January, relate to accusations of abuses carried out in November and December 2003 on around 20 detainees at the prison.
Morgenthaler said a noncriminal administrative investigation also has resulted in recommendations of disciplinary action against five officers and three other service members.
Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba was looking into Karpinski's conduct, Morgenthaler said.
"What the initial investigation found was that there was a lack of trust in the chain of command. She (Karpinski) has not been relieved of her command. But administrative actions are pending. So she could end up receiving a letter of reprimand or relieved, but it has not been determined yet," Morgenthaler said.