Friday, May 14, 2004

Absolutely Ridiculous!

Found via Fark, of all places, this NY Post article, which alleges that Pfc. Lynndie England ... well, I'll let the article do the explaining:

Shocking shots of sexcapades involving Pfc. Lynndie England were among the hundreds of X-rated photos and videos from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal shown to lawmakers in a top-secret Capitol conference room yesterday.

"She was having sex with numerous partners. It appeared to be consensual," said a lawmaker who saw the photos.

And, videos showed the disgraced soldier - made notorious in a photo showing her holding a leash looped around an Iraqi prisoner's neck - engaged in graphic sex acts with other soldiers in front of Iraqi prisoners, Pentagon officials told NBC Nightly News.

"Almost everybody was naked all the time," another lawmaker said.

Many members of Congress left the 45-minute viewing session early, thereby missing the porno performance by England, but there were enough other images of torture, humiliation and intimidation to sicken anyone.

"It was pretty disgusting, not what you'd expect from Americans," said Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). "There was lots of sexual stuff - not of the Iraqis, but of our troops."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who also characterized the photos as "disgusting," agreed, noting, "It's hard to believe that this actually is taking place in a military facility."


In another video clip, she said, a group of men were shown masturbating.

Before the pictures of England's sex romps were shown to Congress, the 21-year-old reservist from West Virginia tried to portray herself as a reluctant participant who was just following orders.

"I didn't really, I mean, want to be in any pictures," England told a Denver TV station.

"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 KCNC-TV.

England acknowledged "it was kind of weird" when she was photographed smiling, with a cigarette in her mouth, as she leaned forward and pointed at the genitals of a naked, hooded Iraqi at Abu Ghraib prison.

England has refused to identify who gave her the orders, saying only that they came from "persons in my chain of command."

I'd say these latest revelations seem to have put paid to any hopes Pfc. England might have entertained of having her "just following orders" excuse believed; as methods of "softening up" prisoners go, having sex in front of them hardly seems all that effective. I think what we have here are people with a pre-existing disregard for conventional norms of behavior, who just happened to have been given life and death power over others, without adequate supervision to accompany it. The events that occurred in Abu Ghraib are now looking a lot less likely to have been sadism initiated from above, and more likely a case of incompetence on high.

NB - Those with an appreciation of gallows humor in a situation like this will probably find the Fark responses to this news rather amusing.