Friday, May 7, 2004

The two sides of Pfc. Lynndie R. England
Tough to believe two publications could travel to the exact same place in search of the exact same story and come away with two completely different perspectives.

First, The New York Times with "From a Picture of Pride to a Symbol of Abuse in Iraq"

"She is straight in your face, tells you how it is. That's why it shocked me. It's so not her. It's not in her nature to do something like that. There's not a malicious bone in her body."

... Her parents called her a tomboy, eager to prove that she was as tough and athletic as the guys. She played a mean center field in softball, her father, Kenneth, said on Wednesday in an interview. But she sometimes found it difficult to kill animals when they went hunting. "I don't think she ever got a deer," Mrs. England, 44, said. "I think she went just because she wanted to be outside, and wanted to be with me."

... Her parents say they had enough money to help her pay for college. But Private England, 21, insisted on doing it by herself. So she joined a local unit of the Army Reserve, the 372nd, in Cresaptown, Md., to obtain college benefits from the military.

Next, The Daily Telegraph with "Good ol' girl who enjoyed cruelty":

At the dingy Corner Club Saloon they think she has done nothing wrong.

"A lot of people here think they ought to just blow up the whole of Iraq," Colleen Kesner said. "To the country boys here, if you're a different nationality, a different race, you're sub-human. That's the way girls like Lynndie are raised. Tormenting Iraqis, in her mind, would be no different from shooting a turkey. Every season here you're hunting something. Over there, they're hunting Iraqis."

... Down a dirt track at the edge of town, in the trailer where England grew up, her mother Terrie dismissed the allegations against her daughter as unfair.

"They were just doing stupid kid things, pranks. And what the Iraqis do to our men and women are just? The rules of the Geneva Convention, do they apply to everybody or just us?" she asked.

"She told me nothing happened which wasn't ordered by higher up," she said. "They are trying to pin all of this on the lower ranks. My daughter was just following orders. I think there's a conspiracy. "

A colleague of Lynndie's father said people in Fort Ashby were sick of the whingeing.

"We just had an 18-year-old from round here killed by the Iraqis," he said. "We went there to help the jackasses and they started blowing us up. Lynndie didn't kill 'em, she didn't cut 'em up. She should have shot some of the suckers."

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