Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It wasn't the publication of the photos, Lynndie. It was what you guys did.

The newspaper this morning published an AP article in which Lynndie England, famous for being in some of the photos out of abu Ghraib, tells the German Stern Magazine that publication of those photos fueled to insurgency.
In an interview with the weekly magazine Stern posted on its Web site Tuesday, England was both remorseful and unrepentant -- and conceded that the published photos surely incensed insurgents in Iraq.

"I 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," she was quoted as saying.

Asked how she could blame the media for the controversy, she said she wasn't the one who leaked the photos.

"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," she said, according to the report.
So she is blaming the publication of the photos for the insurgency.

Sorry, Lynndie. It was what you did in abu Ghraib that fueled the insurgency. The photos may have made the events more graphic, but every prison visitor knew what was happening there, and every person released from abu Ghraib told Iraqis what the Americans were doing. It wasn't the photos. It was what you did to people - Iraqis - in there that fueled the insurgency.

That said, Lynndie would not have done what she did had her command structure not failed her. Her commanders, all the way up to George Bush, set the tone for what was done there. He continues to set that same tone when he recently vetoed the law against the CIA using torture.

George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Don Rumsfeld are all directly responsible for fueling the insurgency in Iraq, and they left Lynndie England and her fellow enlisted soldiers to take the rap for what the tone that set and the actions they directed. England and her fellow enlisted soldiers were shamefully used by the entire American chain of command as scapegoats for the actions that were taken at the direction of the highest levels of command.

She has every right to be angry, but those who published the photos are not the proper people to be angry at. They showed the American message given to the Iraqis, but they only published it. They were not responsible for creating that message.

I am also fully aware that what really was said or really happened and what is reported in the media to have been said or to have happened are usually two very different things. Reporters, like Nedra Pickler of the AP, frequently have their own axe to grind. (I am not familiar with Matt Moore's reputation.)

I would not be at all surprised to find that those who published this story similarly had a complaint about the publication of the abu Ghraib pictures but support the invasion of Iraq. I also recall reports that Lynndie England was rejected from the regular army because she was not up to the intelligence standards, but she got into the Reserves on a waiver. So I don't expect her to have the understanding of the larger picture.

More likely than not, she is again being used by someone else to present a message. The Associated Press is not especially reliable, and a report based on the German magazine "Der Stern" ("The Star") does not fill me with a lot of trust. Unsurprising, but again a damned shame for Lynndie. She is once again very probably a pawn being viciously used by others.

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