England's Burning


Pfc. Lynndie England, the best-known of the "six morons who cost us the war," is saying that she was following orders when she posed for pictures with naked prisoners at Abu Ghraib. From the AP:

"I was instructed by persons in higher rank to `stand there, hold this leash, look at the camera,' and they took picture for PsyOps (psychological operations)," she told the station.

This comes on the heels of Senate testimony by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib accusations for the military. While scathing in his indictment of the military chain of command, Taguba did not find evidence of the abuse being ordered. According to the WashPost:

"We did not find any evidence of a policy or a direct order given to these soldiers to conduct what they did. I believe that they did it on their own volition," said Taguba, who was deputy commander for military support operations in the Persian Gulf region when he led the investigation.

Which isn't to say that England is necessarily lying–it could well be that she was ordered "by persons of higher rank" among the group charged with the abuse. That also doesn't necessarily excuse her or, as Taguba made clear in his testimony, the higher reaches of military brass.

Iraqi-born Miami University political scientist Adeed Dawisha–an acute observer of the Iraq situation (and a supporter of the aims of the war/occupation)–has told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Abu Ghraib situation is "disastrous" for the U.S. position in the Arab world. However, he contends that

Dawisha, who is studying the historical roots of democracy in pre-Saddam Iraq, said there is a way to mitigate the damage.

"Complete transparency," Dawisha said. "We must deal with this in a transparent way, for all to see."

"We can't talk to the Arab world about democracy and do it in abstract terms," the political science professor said. "We must show them."

The decision to try Spc. Jeremy Sivits for his alleged role in the prisoner abuse in a court martial that will be open to media coverage is a good step, Dawisha said.

NEXT: The Day The Music Dies...

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  1. I do believe she was ordered to do it. In fact, this is part of a highly effective method of interrogation where Muslim prisoners were not physically hurt, but humiliated, to get information. Now that the cover is blown, there will be less useful information flowing from prisoners.

    BTW, when David Tomlin says that Arabs are not trying to run the US, he manages to make a point both incorrect and irrelevant.

  2. If you read the AR 15-6 Report (everybody calls it the Taguba Report) you find out that:

    1. PFC England was a clerk not an MP.

    2. She had no business, nor was supposed to be, over in the confinement areas.

    3. She was going out with the Staff Sergeant currently charged ? the one that?s also a guard in the Virginia prison system. Also, she?s currently in Ft. Bragg, NC, and has gotten pregnant by the loser SSG.

    If you look at the pictures that have been published of her, please tell me if:

    1. She looks like a PFC being forced to commit horrible acts that she just knows are illegal and which are just tearing at her soul.


    2. She looks like some piece of trailer-trash having a hoot of a good time at the expense of a bunch of ?Irakis? while her honey-bunch boyfriend takes some pictures.

  3. David C. I choose DOOR #2, please…

  4. Why isn’t cutting the heads off people “disastrous” for the Arab position in the US?

  5. I too like the this months issues, the only trouble is that I have my mail delivered to a PO box for privacy reasons. So the aeriel photo was of some area of my home town, but not my home.

    Oh well, I’m sure it would have been cool cover if I weren’t so damned paranoid about family members rummaging through my mail.

  6. Minor hijack here:

    My wife and I are heading out west to Freedom Fest 2004 today: http://www.freedomfest.com/

    I know that some RPPI folks are going to be there, but I don’t know if the magazine will have any representation.

    If any of the regulars from these parts are goofy enough to burn vacation time on something like this, too, shoot me an email.

    If not, I’ll do my best to Represent the H&R comments team …

  7. Is anyone else sick of hearing England use the old “just following orders” excuse? Its ridiculous.

  8. It’s not ridiculous. Depending on circumstances, superior orders may be a mitigation or a complete defense. That is particularly true if the superiors also failed to provide the training to distinguish legal from illegal orders.

    In any case, if there were superior orders, that is something we should know. You disagree?

    If she did it under orders, it’s bad. If it was all her own idea, it’s a lot worse. I don’t blame her a bit for wanting to make the distinction.

  9. The Arabs aren’t trying to run the U.S.

  10. David, “Following orders” does not mitigate much at all. One is not bound to follow orders that are unlawful. I don’;t much about the Geneva Convention but I could have informed any and all at Abu Ghraib that their actions bordered on illegal if not in fact WERE illegal. Not being a lawyer nor failure to consult a lawyer are not an adequate defense, much less not being “properly instructed.” I’m sure they didn’t instruct her not to shoot prisoners out of hand, would it be an acceptable defense had she done so?

  11. It is interesting that only 6 people were running the prison.

    Having spent much too long in the military myself (that means personal experience) I can assure the doubters that a PFC doesn’t have a dime’s worth of authority to make any decisions.

    It is also doubtful that Miss Lyndie initiated the prisoner humiliation on her own without input from the NCOIC at least, and possibly from the OIC. But I still have to wonder at the idiocy of leaving a mere 6 people to run a prison (though I may have incomplete information in that regard).

    I think she is a loser and she barks (which is irrelevant) but I would bet a stack of twenties that she was following orders to some extent.

    The only other scenario I can imagine would be a take over by group-think-mentality whereby everyone sort of decided enmasse to punish the prisoners. Even in that case it is still the NCOIC’s job to put a stop to that kind of thing.

    Of course, as we used to say when I was a PFC, poop rolls down hill.

  12. Nick Gillespie,
    I just received my June issue of Reason Mag.Please mail it in a brown cover from now on.I would rather not let everyone in town know where to find me(for any Reason).

  13. Why isn’t cutting the heads off people “disastrous” for the Arab position in the US?

    I would say there already is “disaster” for the Arab position. Can you give me a discription of what a terrorist looks like? Yeah, an Arab or muslim male between the ages of 18 and 65.

    My Indian friend (originally from India) gets verbally abused regularly for looking like a terrorist and the poor schmuck even voted for Bush!

  14. “I just received my June issue of Reason Mag.”

    I’ve been wandering where the hell my issue is. I usually get them right around the beginning of the month. I guess this month is delayed because of the cover zaniness…? Hopefully it will be waiting for me tonight. Oh rapturous joy of anticipation….

  15. hiddingintheUSA, J, and Nick Gillespie,
    I love the latest issue of Reason. I spent much of the morning showing others in my office that I made the front cover of my favorite magazine. They were pretty impressed (and a little concerned about their own privacy) when I showed them the four pages of personalized material.

  16. Joe,

    I’m not a lawyer. I have nothing to add to what I’ve said already.

  17. After Sabra and Shatila, the Kahane commission went into considerable detail about what happened. While no commission is free from political pressures, this one could not reasonably be described as a coverup, and it concluded that Sharon (Rumsfeld’s counterpart in the context) was partly responsible. The portly politico stepped down shortly thereafter.

    I’m trying to remember how many Arabs applauded Israel’s transparency, thought it mitigated the catastrophe, or voiced new hopes about the political transformation Israel was effecting in Lebanon. None come to mind.

  18. “It’s not ridiculous. Depending on circumstances, superior orders may be a mitigation or a complete defense. That is particularly true if the superiors also failed to provide the training to distinguish legal from illegal orders.

    In any case, if there were superior orders, that is something we should know. You disagree?”

    I agree we should know about any orders, but if there are such orders, they don’t mitigate her actions. As far as lack of training goes, how much training do you need to know that those activities are wrong? The smile on that girl’s face in some of the pictures indicates she wasn’t too bothered by those activities.

  19. Instead of a courts-martial, England et al should be sent to Parris Island where a psychotic D.I. would place his boot so far up there collective asses that they would be able to floss with his laces.

  20. This whole public investigation and public trial and the surrounding media fiasco is going to hurt very bad, but it’s the right thing to do and we have to do it.

    We have to do it, not for the effoect it will have on our relations with the Muslim world, but because it’s the right thing to do.

    Not doing the right thing has longer-term negative consequences on our own civilization, totally separate from our relations with the Muslim civilization.

    There is nothing we will ever be able to do which will convince the hard-heads of the Muslim world that we are not infidels who need to be killed.

    Turn on heavy Irony
    England’s Career would be assured, if she were hot. Then she could get a job from Larry Flynt and retire from the Army.

    But she is not.

    Turn off Irony. End Sexist Thought.

    Continue with the Discussion.

  22. David Crawford:

    Per the link agonist.org/annex/taguba.htm I cannot find those facts you cite. Do you have a link? According to Point 7C, PFC Lynndie R. England is a 372nd MP Company. This report is also under this link: globalsecurity.org/intell/library/reports/2004/800-mp-bde.htm
    Therein is made no reference to those other facts either.

    From where do the other facts come, as a search for the name “England” reveals that only one mention.

    Thank you for your help in advance,

  23. It appears that England was in quite a few pictures (perhaps video as well) where she was engaged in sex acts with various male soldiers. In some cases, this was in front of Iraqi prisoners. She appears to be a willing participant.

    Looks like those MPs had a willing whore.

  24. Karl


    “England was trained to be a ”paper pusher” who helped process prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, said Goin and England’s brother-in-law James Klinestiver. She was in the area where the photos were taken to visit friends in the 372nd who served as guards, the two said.”

  25. A little reality, PLEASE. I’ll bet the media and all the democrats expressing “discust” with the “abuse” and “atrocities” etc.etc. Laughed their freaking asses off at those pics in Private. Posing terrorists in homo erotic poses and taking pics.
    My oh my, what an atrocity. I’m only saying what I believe most people are thinking, but won’t say out loud.
    And, I’m sure all them would do far worse in order to save the life of a loved one.

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