ZERO PLUS 1112 DAYS,--New York, NY, Tuesday,
September 28, 2004--Private
England is an American soldier, about to be executed for the
crimes of her leaders.
in the military isn't necessarily marching up in front of
a firing squad, bravely smoking a last cigarette, and taking
a volley of bullets in the chest.
Lynndie England, left, looks back at her mother, Terrie,
as she enters the Judge Advocate Building
dishonorable discharge and jail time is also a form of "living
death" for a solider--a scab on the soul of any soldier.
January 17, Pfc. Lynndie R. England will face 19 charges of
maltreatment and assault of prisoners in the Abu Gharib prison,
sexual misconduct, indecent acts, failing to obey orders among
a host of other indictments against her actions as a military
police guard in Iraq.
became famous from the Internet picture of her dragging
a naked Iraqi detainee on a leash
became infamous when pictures of her dragging a naked Iraqi
detainee on a leash splashed over the Internet and launched
an ugly chapter in how Americans treated "prisoners"
in a war designed to reduce Terrorism and bring Freedom to
25 million citizens of Iraq.
can be no doubt that Private Lynndie violated not only military
orders--those that require one to conduct herself as a reflection
of the highest discipline--but that she became the Beast she
prison is a hell hole. Anyone who has ever watched the television
series "Oz" where the inner workings of both guards
and prisoners reveal the infection of moral fiber, understands
that swimming with sharks is a highly dangerous profession.
England got bitten. She also bit back.
have a little experience with the horrors of war. In Vietnam--a
jungle war of Terrorism--base human nature percolated to the
surface daily. Torture and humiliation of prisoners was as
common as mosquito's, and as the killing increased, the idea
of the enemy being human evaporated.
World War II, American propaganda...
World War II, de-humanizing the enemy was a principle part
of American propaganda from inside the military. The less
human the enemy, the easier it was morally to kill. If you
see your enemy as some evil object, some primal Beast who
is trained to eat your children when you blink, it makes it
easier to drive a bayonet into his or her guts, twist it viciously,
and chop off the enemy's head just to insure he or she doesn't
get up again.
World War II "anti-Jap" cartoons were produced
for the public to promote it was "O.K." to
kill the "yellow devils"
World War II Warner Brothers was famous for producing "anti-Jap"
cartoons for the public, a way of assuaging in the minds of
children and parents that it was "O.K." to kill
the "yellow devils" who bombed Pearl Harbor and
were bent on landing on American soil and raping and pillaging
England is a mirror of Terrorism's backlash. She became the
Beast she was in charge of guarding.
the issue here isn't so much whether Private England is guilty
or not--there can be no doubt she is guilty of becoming her
environment--but who is the one who should be court martialed
first, before hanging out Private England to swing in the
military works from the top down, not the bottom up.
CEO of a corporation sets the conditions for the actions of
all beneath him or her, and so does the military.
why Private England should be court martialed last, not first.
her crimes were the result of her becoming a Beast while guarding
the Beast, then whoever were her superiors need to be paraded
into court and take their licks before Private England is
put up for dicing.
parents are liable for the actions of their children until
they reach the age of emancipation. Up to that point, the
parents are duty and legally-bound to manage the child's development.
private in charge of prisoners is a child compared to a general,
a colonel, a major, a captain, a sergeant major and a host
of other officers and senior enlisted personnel who are charged
with managing the behavior of soldiers.
England is being fed to the wolves by the wolves. By dissecting
her into many pieces and throwing them up in the air, her
immature and irresponsible actions form a diversion to the
real responsibility for her crimes.
parents are guilty first.
where is the general? The colonel? The major? The top enlisted
Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of coalition troops
in Iraq, orders the Army's Criminal Investigation Division
to look into the reports of abuse, according to the
are ducking and weaving, using Private England's body as a
shield to protect themselves.
hardly find this an Act of Vigilance.
the military is about being proud, courageous and willing
to sacrifice one another for the good of all, how come some
officer in charge isn't throwing his or her body in front
of Private England and demanding he or she be court martialed
along with Private England, or before her, so that the world
can see America doesn't "eat its military children?"
am revolted always by the abdication of leadership by anyone
in charge of those who don't know better, or as well. When
a mother cries out: "How could my son do this" when
he commits some terrible crime, she is ducking her own responsibility
for her son's actions.
are the reflection of their parents.
always have been. They always will be.
famous Chinese philosopher once said thousands of years ago:
"If you want to see what a child will grow up to be,
follow him home."
England is a child of the officers and top enlisted personnel
in charge of the Iraqi prison that has tainted the war in
Iraq in ways that only history will uncover.
on January 19, 2005, Private England is slated to be the first
to go before the tribunal that will surely convict her. She
faces prison time that will consume the greater part of her
life, but worse, a conviction against her without ones first
against her commanders, is an act of Terrorism in itself.
things turn my stomach. I have memories of becoming a Beast
myself, killing, maiming, torturing others without a thought
that they were humans while the acts are underway. This process
is the ugly, dank, dark side of any war.
propaganda in World War II is just a small symbol of
propaganda in World War II is just a small symbol of breeding
hatred so that killing, torturing and maiming will be done
with the least compunction or compassion.
the enemy thickens the soul and deadens the moral nerves.
why Private England's trial is not so much about her crimes,
but about those "parents of the military" who refuse
to stand up to their "crimes of mismanaging" Private
England, and, perhaps even fueling her belief she was doing
the "right thing."
human beings are reduced to animals, the moral laws crumble.
when the smoke clears and the bodies are stacked do we engage
our moral righteousness. Suddenly, the immorality of war is
being judge by moral standards, an oxymoronic approach in
which Private England is the scapegoat for the crimes of her
wish I could offer myself up for Private England. I, and any
combat veteran, knows what it is like to shut down all moral
sense and kill, maim and torture for the pure sake of it all.
snaps in our civilized nature when we are given the power
to kill others, or to guard those suspected of killing our
own. We lose the check-and-balance system that keeps humanity
when we throw our children out the window to die before a
court martial while we the parents sit back and shake our
heads at the disgusting actions of our children, then we are
worse than any Terrorist imaginable.
hope that Private England has some small understanding that
she is being used to pay the price of her parents' sins.
believe she is.
England is like cutting the toenails of the Beast of
her is like cutting the toenails of the Beast of Terror. It
has little effect on anything except to perpetuate the Crimes
of the Parents. However, if we were to put the generals, officers
and top enlisted personnel on trial, we would be hacking at
the Achilles tendon of war crimes.
would be putting the Parents on trial, and sending a signal
to them that if their children act as Terrorists, then they
will be charged equally so with them.
now, Private England is a mere toenail.
unfortunately, the Beast of Terror roams free, laughing and
jeering at the absurdity of trying to turn Private England
into the "responsible Beast" when all she did was
hold the leash for her parents.