May 03, 2005

Pfc. England and her apologists

From AP:

Defense: England Oxygen-Deprived at Birth

FORT HOOD, Texas - Defense lawyers sought leniency for Pfc. Lynndie England at a hearing Tuesday to determine her punishment in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, with a psychologist testifying that the reservist was oxygen-deprived at birth, speech impaired and had trouble learning to read.

West Virginia school psychologist Dr. Thomas Denne — the first defense witness — said England's learning disabilities were identified when she was a kindergartner — and though she made progress in school, she continued needing special help.

"I knew I was going to know Lynndie England for the rest of my life," West Virginia school psychologist Dr. Thomas Denne said.

A military jury of five men and one woman was seated earlier Tuesday to make a sentencing recommendation for England, 22, who pleaded guilty Monday to seven counts of mistreating prisoners. She said she let her comrades talk her into going along with the abuse.

England, from Fort Ashby, W.Va., accepted responsibility for the smiling, thumbs-up poses she struck for photographs taken at Abu Ghraib that made her the face of the prisoner abuse scandal.


Graveline said England and Pvt. Charles Graner Jr. — the abuse ringleader and the father of England's child — knew it was wrong to mistreat the detainees and take the photos, "but they did it anyway for their own amusement."


When asked by judge Col. James Pohl whether England knew right from wrong, Denne said she had a compliant personality and tended to listen to authority figures.

On Monday, England told Pohl that she initially resisted taking part in the abuse at the Baghdad prison, but that she succumbed to peer pressure.

"I had a choice, but I chose to do what my friends wanted me to," she said.

Rick Hernandez, a defense lawyer, said the pscychologist's testimony helped England by establishing that her ability to reason was lower than that of her comrades.

"She is clearly in a different mental capacity ... than any of the others accused," he said.


Oxygen deprived at birth? Lower reasoning ability? "Compliant" personlity?

So...despite her acceptance of responsibility for her actions... despite admitting that she had a choice--and chose to--submit to peer pressure, and finally, that she knew right from wrong---there are still those who are trying to field excuses for her.

I'm not saying every enlisted GI reserve should have a Ph.D to their name, but is there not some sort of standard of mental capacity that every soldier is expected to uphold?

Posted by Kyer at May 3, 2005 11:04 AM

Yeah, there are standards. I don't know how/why she slipped through.

The inpatients at Democratic Underground, MoveOn, etc. are going to have a field day with this one.

Posted by: patrickafir at May 4, 2005 03:28 PM

Kyer: First -- thanks for the link. And, I really like your site. Funny.

To this thread on Lynndie. I just put up a post about the NYT piece today which reported on the luv triangle between L, Graner and his new wife, Ambuhl. I'd be really interested in your reaction.

Posted by: Charmaine Yoest at May 11, 2005 12:06 AM