Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Lynndie England - Abu Ghraib Scapegoat

Lynndie England was convicted on six out of seven prison abuse charges, resulting from widely publicized photographs taken of her posing with naked Iraqi POWs at the Abu Ghraib prison facilities. (Reuters: US Army reservist found guilty in Abu Ghraib case). She could face up to nine years in prison for the six counts.

England was photographed with Iraqi prisoners in various poses, all of which were designed to "humiliate" the prisoner. While her actions were both ethically wrong and illegal under the UCMJ, I cannot help but think that she is being made the scapegoat in the entire prison scandal. England, the lowest ranking soldier accused in the scandal could serve prison time, whereas higher ranking officers accused in the scandal were "reprimanded."

What surfaced at the time of the incident were claims that the tactics employed by England and others were at the request of prison interrogators in an attempt to soften-up the prisoners for subsequent interrogations. That defense does not appear to have been used, however. England's defense attorneys tried unsuccessfully to argue that she had a "compliant personality" and was merely following orders given by a superior. Obviously, the argument didn't fly.

The part that I find very difficult to reconcile is the outrage sparked by England's actions contrasted with the "terrorists will be terrorists" shrug-off following the beheadings of several Americans that were detained. It's humiliating to stick panties on the heads of Iraqi prisoners but we're not outraged when Americans are beheaded? While one certainly doesn't justify the other, I'm finding it very hard to feel any sort of anger at Lynndie England's actions. Serving prison time for posing in photographs seems quite absurd, in fact. But then, that's what scapegoats do. She will serve time while her superiors get a "reprimand". Meanwhile, our enemies can have a field day pointing towards the inhumane treatment we savage Americans give Muslim prisoners while they continue lopping off heads and blowing up women and children. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something seems a bit out of place there.

Kannafoot Edit: Lynndie England was sentenced to three years in prison and given a dishonorable discharge. My comments regarding her position as a scapegoat stand as written.



Alan Fraser said...

Of course Americans are outraged at the treatment of American captives in Iraq and if Lynndie England had been an Iraqi and had done what she did to Americans, she would be in Guantanamo Bay for the rest of her miserable life. She is a scapegoat for sure but she deserves at least what she's been given as does everyone in the administrative food chain that allowed this disgrace to America and the military to take place.

Kannafoot said...

I'm really having a hard time justifying the punishment. What she did really falls in the category of a mild - VERY mild - fraternity stunt. Toss in a keg of beer and a few discipline paddles and you have pledge week on every college campus in the country. Calling what she did "prison abuse" is a wild exaggeration. At best, she should have been busted a couple of levels and put on extended kitchen duty. Giving her 3-years in prison is absurd.