It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:
In an interview for The Daily, Lynndie England showed zero remorse for torturing and humiliating several Iraqi soldiers. The act landed her in prison for eight years, and it appears that the time behind bars only made her bitter. In the interview she stated:
“Their lives are better. They got the better end of the deal,” England said. “They weren’t innocent. They’re trying to kill us, and you want me to apologize to them? It’s like saying sorry to the enemy.”
“All the prisoners that were there were on that tier of high-priority. They were there for a reason. They had killed coalition forces or they were planning to,” England told The Daily over a hamburger at a Mexican restaurant near her home in Fort Ashby. “They had information about where insurgents were hiding.”
England seems to forget a tiny, yet important fact: we attacked them first. We invaded their country to “save” them (not really) from a dictator who we thought (not really) had weapons of mass destruction (which we never found because he did not have them).
Yes, they are trying to kill you because you are trying to kill them. You bombed their country, destroyed what little infrastructure they had, treated just about everyone as a potential combatant, caused billions of dollars in damage, and caused hundreds of thousands of injuries and deaths to the civilians.
You do not get to complain that the people you started a war against had the nerve to fight back. That is what happens when you star a war.
England’s stupid comments came just days after an American soldier shot and killed and 16 or 17 Afghan civilians. It is common in war for soldiers to dehumanize the other side. Most people have a hard time killing other people. The more you think of that person as a person, the harder it is to do. Even when your life is in danger, killing still takes a toll on you. So it is not surprising that there is a certain level of “I don’t give a fuck about them” at play.
The problem is that the more that sentiment is allowed, the more likely people will commit horrendous acts. Going back for four and five tours really does not help. Despite our tendency for war, humans are not built for it. It damages your mind to be under constant stress, constant fear, constant worry, and constant attempts to control your emotions.
But that does not explain England’s remarks. This is a woman who simply sounds upset that she got punished for torturing people. To say that being threatened with having your genitals electrocuted is better than falling out with your baby’s daddy is beyond stupid, yet England kind of argued that:
Now 29, England is back in her parents’ home. She is virtually unemployable and haunted by her past. Charles Graner, her former lover and the ringleader of the Abu Ghraib abuses, refuses to acknowledge his 7-year-old son despite a 2009 paternity test proving he is the father. “Graner didn’t want anything to do with the baby,” England said.
The two met while stationed at Fort Lee in Virginia in 2003. She was a 20-year-old newlywed, he a divorced 34-year-old former Marine. England said she succumbed to Graner’s gregarious personality and charm. Their baby was conceived in Iraq, but all the while, Graner was two-timing England with a third Abu Ghraib specialist, Megan Ambuhl.
She also feels cut off after receiving her dishonorable discharge. According to her, she cannot find work because of the felony on her record, and she worries about the American deaths caused by her actions:
She barely sleeps, she said. England anguishes over the belief that the photos from Abu Ghraib could have caused American casualties.
“That’s something that falls on my head,” she said. “I think about it all the time — indirect deaths that were my fault. Losing people on our side because of me coming out on a picture.”
Images on television and sounds in the streets trigger memories of her time in Iraq — and in prison.
“Somebody dropped something off the [store] shelf and I freaked out,” she said. “It was two aisles down. They dropped something on the floor and made a big bang and I was like, ‘Ah!’ ”
Here is the difference between England’s troubles and those of the Iraqis she torture. Several years ago a film version of The Kite Runner was released. In the film, one of the main characters is raped as a child. The scene graphic, but it does not show anything. Following the release of the film, the actor who portrayed the boy received death threats for having been raped. He was not actually raped, but since he played a male rape victim, and the policy in that part of the world is to kill boys and men who have been raped because they are no longer honorable or men, they went after the boy. The studio had to step in to protect him.
So imagine what those men England sexually tortured and humiliated have gone through. Some of the photos are unedited. Some of those photos do show those men’s faces. Both they and their families lives are in danger from retaliation, even if those same people threatening them turn around use the soldiers’ torture as a recruiting device.
To suggest that not being able to find work because you intentionally tortured and humiliated enemy combatants is remotely comparable to what those men face for having been tortured makes you look like a sociopath. It is a total lack of empathy. Even England’s claim about caring American deaths rings hollow.
This is one of those instances where she should have followed the old adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Have the basic sense to keep your mouth shut before you make yourself look like a bigger ass than you already look.