The Commander Failed at Abu Ghraib

August 2004
U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings;Aug2004, Vol. 130 Issue 8, p12
Conference Proceeding
In 1952, the destroyer Hobson (DD-464) collided with the carrier USS Wasp (CV-18). Even though the Hobson's captain was asleep in his cabin, he was held accountable by courts-martial. This issue led to an opinion piece in "The Wall Street Journal" called "Hobson's Choice" that has been seen on the bulkhead of many an at-sea cabin. The point of the article is that leaders assume ultimate responsibility—and more important, accountability—when they accept the privilege of command. So the scenes of Abu Ghraib prison—the visage of the United States Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinksi appearing on television proclaiming that she is a scapegoat, she didn't have proper guidance, she didn't have policy, or her latest excuse-du-jour is dismaying.


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