Friday, May 01, 2009

Lynndie England: A Tortured Soul

On September 26, 2005, England was convicted of one
count of conspiracy, four counts of maltreating detainees
and one count of committing an
indecent act. She was
acquitted on a second conspiracy count.
[citation needed]
She was sentenced to three years in a military prison for
her crimes.

It was on a hot day in the last week of September 2005 that
Lynndie England faced Court-Martial at Fort Hood Army Base,
Texas. On that very same day at the same time, I was in the area
of Fort Hood, returning from mandatory
Evacuation due to
Hurricane Rita. Somehow I knew I would remember that day for
years to come, maybe forever. Suppressing an overwhelming
urge to sneak up around the Army Base, I promised myself that I
would put down my thoughts about the unusual events of the day in a
Blogpost when I returned to
Friendswood, TX. As it turns out I did,
but inexplicably I left out all mention of the England case. So now,
thanks to the release of the Torture Memos, and, come May 28th,
the images related to those Documents, my thoughts on
are being re-examined and shared online. Three and a
half years later........

The Abu Ghraib leaked pictures and subsequent international
media coverage remain forever an
important part of U.S. history
that will be analyzed, written and re-written about. We expect that to
And now, perhaps those of us who were shocked, disgusted
and dismayed by our soldiers' behaviour
at Abu Ghraib and other
US-controlled prisons will find our perceptions altered. Just like my
The Huffington Post's Tina Dupuy and mine have
been altered.

I have always wondered what would drive a twenty-year-old female
who grew up in a mobile home
in tiny Fort Ashby, WV to wind up as
a soldier in a harsh environment like Abu Ghraib. Even Mick Jagger
expressed his feeling about her in the 2005 album, 'Bigger Bang'
in a song called 'Dangerous Beauty' Whatever the reason,
wound up in Iraq at age 20, fell madly in love with her Boss, Sergeant
Charles Graner and got pregnant.
Young, ambitious and full of hope
for a life with Graner and the baby after their tour of duty, Lynndie
determined to do whatever was necessary to make her dream
a reality. Even if it meant committing despicable
acts that she
questioned inwardly, outwardly she was being all that she could be,
a good soldier serving her
country in the time of need. And so she
evolved into one of the most hated females in the
world after the
photos of her at Abu Ghraib prison somehow leaked out. There were
other soldiers present as
Sgt. Graner supervised the proceedings,
creating some atrocious photoshoots that he declared would
as official Documents on the Army's use of Interrogation Methods,

Why did she let Graner take all those pictures? Wasn't she
afraid he'd show them
to people?

"I didn't want him to take the pictures," England tells me.
"But he took pictures of everything. He kept a camera in his
pocket. He was always taking his camera out. Sometimes
took the pictures for himself. Sometimes he took them for

According to Staff Sergeant Ivan L. Frederick II, who was
deposed during the military trial,
"[Graner] always talked about being in Desert Storm, and the
things he saw and did, and he had no way to prove these things
happened. So this time around, he said he was going to take
pictures to take back home as proof."
from (A Soldier's Tale: Lynndie England
byTara McKilvey for Marie Claire)

One person who is ready for a new battle for justice is the
prison commander at the time,
Janis Karpinski. When the
Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke in 2004, it was soldiers and
officers who took the blame including
Karpinski who was
demoted from Brigadier General to the rank of Colonel.
Speaking with CNN's John Roberts last Thursday she says
of Lynndie :

"You have to understand that it builds into a crescendo,"
says Karpinski. "Lynndie is away from the flagpole, in Abu Ghraib
— the most terrible place. You're being mortared every night.
You are breathing dust and broken concrete. It's hot. You feel
dehumanized. You're drained of every bit of compassion that
you have. She did it because she wanted to come back from
this godforsaken war and be able to say, 'We did this for the
government.' She was made to believe that this was of such
importance to national security. It was, you know,
'You stick with me, kid, and you might even win a medal.'"

"Graner was her protector," Karpinski continues. "She wanted
to please him, and she'd do anything he told her to do. She's
thinking, 'Graner would never tell me the wrong thing. I'm sleeping
with him. I trust him.''

Sgt.Graner, who is still serving time in prison has no contact with
Lynndie or their son; Lynndie wants nothing to do with
the person
who denied being the father and instead was instrumental to her
imprisonment and dishonorable discharge.
At least eleven lower-
ranked persons were nudged and judged and served time, but
what lies ahead will have them and
a lot of others related to the
events on tenterhooks in the days ahead. For, in addition to
seeing justice duly served on the
superiors who were never affected
during all this, this will be their chance to watch the courts clear
their names, and the world
to finally acknowledge they were the
'fall guys'.

Karpinski is also ready to go the distance to see that justice is
finally served and even believes a Presidential Pardon
be forthcoming.

Roberts: Do they deserve a presidential pardon?

They do. And they deserve to have all of the
overturned. They deserve certainly to have their
discharges dishonorable or bad conduct discharges

Sourced from :
I Think I Owe Lynndie England An Apology
by Tina Dupuy, The Huffington post.

A Soldier's Tale
by Tara McKilvey, Marie Claire

Bush-era memos vindicate Abu Ghraib soldiers?
John Roberts - Anchor, CNN's American Morning

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