Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fall Guys: Lynndie England

This American Life is such a great show, and podcasts are an ideal way for non-radio types like me to follow it.

A couple weeks back they ran a story about fall guys. The most interesting of its four parts was the segment on Lynndie England, the poster girl for American torture.
The story of a famous but not well-understood political fall guy, someone who became a scapegoat for American policies worldwide. Philip Gourevitch writes about listening to nine hours of interviews with Lynndie England, the American servicewoman photographed at Abu Ghraib prison holding a leash with a naked, Iraqi prisoner on the end of it. Philip Gourevitch's book about what happened in that prison and in those photos is called The Ballad of Abu Ghraib. Audio in this act came from Errol Morris's interviews in the film Standard Operating Procedure. (15 minutes)
It's an amazing story, and not a little surprising. Perhaps most amazing is how little involvement she actually had - she was an admin, ordered to pose for a The Photograph - yet how she was one of very few people convicted or even accused of wrong-doing in the whole Abu Ghraib affair.

And of course the entire chain of command, leading up to Generalissimo El Busho himself, managed to avoid any sort of consequence.

Lynndie England is recognized everywhere, and hated as The Person most responsible for stuff like beheadings of captured Americans.

And she was a Fall Guy, big time, for the most criminal administration in US history.


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