Lynndie England Convicted

September 26, 2005

Army Pfc. Lynndie England, whose seemingly exuberant mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison became a global icon of human rights abuse after photos of her actions were released, has been convicted of "one count of conspiracy, four counts of maltreating detainees and one count of committing an indecent act," according to the New York Times. The BBC's writeup is here. England faces up to 10 years in prison when she is sentenced. Update: England's conviction comes just 2 days after Human Rights Watch released a report detailing still more allegations that Iraqi detainees were subjected to "severe beatings and other torture at a base in central Iraq from 2003 through 2004, often under orders or with the approval of superior officers." At Balkinization, Scott Horton had a very extensive piece Sunday discussing the new report and looking in particular at the possibility that those now being punished were carrying out policies that originated at a managerial level. Horton argues that

The introduction of torture and abuse as interrogation practices has badly corrupted military intelligence and is undermining morale and discipline throughout the service. The decision to scapegoat the "grunts" for decisions that clearly were taken at or near the top of the chain of command has further undermined confidence in the chain of command and in the integrity of the Army as an institution. The systematic denial of the doctrine of command responsibility threatens the ethic of the military on the most fundamental level. One must wonder when and where this whirlwind of destruction that now engulfs our military and threatens to undermine our national security will end.