Jesurgislac’s Journal

January 4, 2009

Depressing interview

Lynndie England interviewed by Emma Brockes:

Lynndie England has lived in Fort Ashby since she was two, but when she appears, suddenly, in the car park, her outline is crooked with self-consciousness. She grew her hair for a while, but people recognised her anyway, so she cut it short again. …. When she got to Abu Ghraib, she was assigned to administrative duties and had no cause to be in the cellblocks, except that she was hanging out with Graner. She found the scene down there odd. “When we first got there, we were like, what’s going on? Then you see staff sergeants walking around not saying anything [about the abuse]. You think, OK, obviously it’s normal.” Graner, too, was initially disturbed, and is on record as having raised some objections. “When he first started working on that wing, he would tell me about it and say, ‘This is wrong.’ He even told his sergeant and platoon leader. He said he tried to say something. But everyone is saying it’s OK to do it and getting pats on the back.”

Remember, no one above the rank of sergeant was charged for any abuse in Abu Ghraib – even though techniques in use had been directly approved in the White House by Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft.

And while I’ll be delighted to be wrong, given that Bush’s Secretary of Defense is to remain in place for another year, I doubt very strongly that cleaning up the US military, cleaning out all those implicated in torturing prisoners, is going to be any kind of priority for Obama’s administration.

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2 Comments »

  1. You’re probably right, but I’m not sure Robert Gates really identifies with the era before he arrived. He’s a realist and was a leader in the Iraq study group that supported negotiations with Iran. He was brought in as part of the major policy shift when it became clear Iraq was not what everyone thought it would be. I think if Obama wants to make it a priority, Gates wouldn’t necessarily be opposed. But Obama has his own difficult river to navigate — if he’s to reform and downsize the military, he has to have allies there who will give him information and push his agenda. A hostile Pentagon can undercut the President. He’ll have to decide what is most important and pick his fights. I hope we find out the truth about what especially Cheney (my least favorite politician since his anti-Congress arrogance during Desert Storm when he was Secretary of Defense) was doing the last eight years.

    Comment by Scott Erb — January 5, 2009 @ 5:11 am | Reply

  2. You’re probably right, but I’m not sure Robert Gates really identifies with the era before he arrived.

    Perhaps, but it’s not as if the US military quit torturing prisoners after Rumsfeld left.

    I think if Obama wants to make it a priority, Gates wouldn’t necessarily be opposed.

    I suspect he would be when he found that he would be held responsible for what the US military did to prisoners while he was Secretary of Defense under Bush.

    He was brought in as part of the major policy shift when it became clear Iraq was not what everyone thought it would be.

    Good grief. He was brought in because Rumsfeld made clear he wanted to withdraw from Iraq because the occupation was breaking the US military. Gates was willing to keep the US military in Iraq for as long as Bush wanted, which everyone knew was going to be until Bush left office (or was impeached, which unfortunately didn’t happen…) There was no major policy shift with regard to Iraq, even though the IBC recommended one – admission of victory and immediate withdrawal. (I do not count further stretching the resources of an already-overstretched military, the so-called Surge, a “major policy shift”.)

    I hope we find out the truth about what especially Cheney (my least favorite politician since his anti-Congress arrogance during Desert Storm when he was Secretary of Defense) was doing the last eight years.

    We already know enough about what Cheney’s been doing for 8 years to have him impeached and/or convicted, but I agree, it would be useful to have the full facts.

    Comment by jesurgislac — January 6, 2009 @ 3:05 pm | Reply


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