Lynndie England blames the media

lynndie-england.jpgLynndie England — the U.S. soldier depicted with a smile while demeaning and humiliating Iraqi prisoners in some of the notorious Abu Ghraib photos — has given a lengthy interview to a German news magazine in which she vacillates from regret (“Of course it was wrong. I know that now.”) to defiant unrepentance (“To be honest, the whole time I never really felt guilty because I was following orders and I was doing what I was supposed to do. So I’ve never felt guilty about doing anything that I did there.”)

And guess what… she blames the media!

england2-credit-epa.jpgI guess after the picture came out the insurgency picked up and Iraqis attacked the Americans and the British and they attacked in return and they were just killing each other. I felt bad about it, … no, I felt pissed off. If the media hadn’t exposed the pictures to that extent then thousands of lives would have been saved.
Yeah, I took the photos but I didn’t make it worldwide. Yes, I was in five or six pictures and I took some pictures, and those pictures were shameful and degrading to the Iraqis and to our government. And I feel sorry and wrong about what I did. But it would not have escalated to what it did all over the world if it wouldn’t have been for someone leaking it to the media. Hell, I was at Fort Bragg when the pictures came out and I had no idea.

england1-credit-afp.jpgEven after being subjected to one of the most publicized courts-martial in U.S. history; being convicted of one count of conspiracy, four counts of maltreating detainees and one count of committing an indecent act; and serving about a year and five months in a military prison, this young woman still doesn’t get it.

So here’s a quick-and-dirty civics lesson for the unduly dense: The job of the free press is to report on the world as it is, what’s really happening, blemishes at all, regardless of politics. It puts the facts out there and so that people can decide for themselves, and it lets the chips fall where they may. And that’s exactly what happened here.

If these photos incited anti-American sentiment (which I agree they almost certainly did), that’s not the media’s fault. It’s the fault of the amoral people who committed, allowed or encouraged these crimes, and who were stupid — mind-bogglingly, epically, evolutionary-dead-endingly stupid — enough to photograph themselves performing what many argue are war crimes.

Make no mistake, former U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Lynndie England of Fort Ashby, W.Va., and her cohorts at Abu Ghraib, and those who allowed or approved what happened there, brought enormous dishonor upon all the upstanding men and women who wear the uniform in defense of the United States of America, and most likely helped incite violence that claimed many of those fine troops’ lives.

England failed at her jobs as a soldier and as a human being; she has a lot of gall, a mountainous heap of hypocrisy, blaming the press for succeeding at its job.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.