one man's conspiracy is another man's business plan
Saturday, August 07, 2004 | Letter to Lynndie England: a Post-Script
A lot of people took exception to my Open Letter to Lynndie England. Most of it was predictable, email messages from barely literate people lambasting me for insulting such a fine American heroine, putting herself at risk to defend not only the United States, but freedom and democracy world-wide, liquidate the Muslim Menace and hasten the Rapture and zog zog zog.
But I got other, thoughtful emails about it, too.
I felt the piece was so non-controversial that I even posted it on a message board and was surprised to see the spirit of some of the more thoughtful messages echoed there as well.
Although in my letter, I said nothing about "taking Lynndie's child away from her," quite a few people responded as if I had, and while normally I would dismiss this as simple failure to read the letter, in this case I got the impression that there was more to it than that.
I had unknowingly stumbled on a highly charged gut issue that had nothing to do with Lynndie, and one that I had not considered at all when expressing my thoughts on her impending motherhood.
Several people pointed out to me that many women serving time in prison cling to their children as their only hope, their only motivation to survive and get out, or turn their lives around, as the case may be. In the United States being sentenced to prison does not necessarily have anything to do with criminal behavior on the part of the sentenced, particularly in the case of low income women, whose lives need more of a financial turnaround than anything else.
Others cited successful programs that permit mothers to spend time with, even care for their children full time in prison. I was reminded that this is quite common in South Asia, where areas of prisons, even whole prisons, are set aside specifically for mothers with small children.
I have very mixed feelings about that, and no matter how I try to sort them out, I cannot seem to get past the elephant question of how many of these women should actually be in prison in the first place, which gets me started on the whole idea of what the purpose of prison should be.
In many countries, including the United States, the principal purpose of a prison is to generate revenue for the prison industry, and popularity for politicians; the goal is in no way related to achieving a positive, productive result.
It is one thing to place someone who has truly committed a crime in a structured and supervised environment that provides the offender an opportunity for rehabilitation and personal growth as well as the means to make a positive contribution to those her crime has harmed, and quite another to warehouse people in dungeons who may or may not have committed any crime, since they do not have the money for legal resources necessary for an adequate defense, we do not know.
What we do know is that most women who are in prison in the United States are poor, and are convicted of some kind of "drug-related crime."
Lynndie England did not sell cocaine, or drive her boyfriend to the projects to sell some cocaine, or away from the Stop n Go following his robbery thereof in order to purchase cocaine.
Lynndie England did not knowingly and with malice aforethought write a bad check to keep her lights on one more month or pay for her baby's asthma medicine.
Although, as many have pointed out, she has not yet been convicted of anything, neither did my letter say that she had been, or would be.
Legally, she is entitled to the same presumption of innocence until proven guilty as anybody else. That's legally.
I was not speaking legally. Whatever decision the military court decides regarding Lynndie, and just for the record, it is worth noting that she faces a far steeper sentence, double, in fact, for presumably consensual sexual conduct with her colleagues than she does for charges of "abusing" Iraqis.
In accordance with mainstream American values, it is considered far worse for a woman to engage in consensual sex with other Americans than to torture and sexually abuse foreign nationals.
And legality aside, this is not an allegation or a speculation. Lynndie does not deny that it is she in the photos, she does not deny the torture or the sexual abuse of other human beings. If you will recall, she has explained, on more than one occasion, both to the media and via interviews with military personnel relating to her court case, that she was just having fun, just joking around. She didn't think she was doing anything wrong.
The relative sentences for the charges against her, as determined by America's Uniform Code of Military Justice give solemn weight to my contention that Lynndie has mounted her most unshakable defense all by herself.
So, the burning questions, Is she an unfit mother? Should her child be "taken away from her?"
Both are matters of opinion, and one's opinion will of necessity be colored by the value one places on children, as well as the value one places on human life in general.
For me, I could not in good conscience declare that I considered Lynndie a fit caretaker of children knowing full well that were I choosing someone to care for a child for whom I was responsible, I would thank any applicants who happened to be torturers and sexual predators for their interest and proceed to the next candidate, even if the position involved caring for the child for only a few hours each day in the presence and under the supervision of others.
It is not up to me to decide whether Lynndie's child should be taken away. I stand by my previous statement that were she to find the nobility and selflessness to give it the opportunity to grow up in a loving home, oblivious to some of the things its biological mother does not think are wrong, it would be a far far better thing she does than she has ever done before.
Actions like Sep 11 do not happen in a vaccuum.
Long before those hijackers ever stepped foot on the planes the damage
had been done. They were brainwashed with the same type of garbage
propaganda that is spewed from Fatwa's weblog.
Middle Eastern countries are so much more barbaric today and preAmercia than America can ever hope to be...America has only been around 230 years...who did you blame for everything before that Ductape? I am calling a Fatwa on your bullshit!
IMO - terrorist plain and simple. He is an Al queda operative who
should be put in a cage on gitmo Skinner
My favorite..."In Defense of Holocaust Deniers"
I always thought that "The Enemy Within" was just a metaphore for liberalism, that is, until I encountered Ductape Fatwa. He should be in an orange jumpsuit for sure.
peopleforchange.netductape is either a commie, al queda, or a deep cover mole
Tells you something about this asshole doesn't it. He's really serious.
I believe that DF is nothing but a Republican plant...
Ductape is a commie, a terrorist, and he drinks blood too. He drinks
Capitalist blood. He eats unborn babies too
Give me your address and I'll send you $20 and a thank-you note for taking your hatred elsewhere.
A terrorist with a sense of humor!
He ain't nuthin' but shit
inadequate, halfway house bullshit
You are a dumbass. Fuck you and your condescension about us "benighted sheeple." hamletta
Untruthful, damaging bullshit
no better than the neocons and no different than Timothy McVeigh
dailykos.coma turd in the punchbowl...if DF were Joe Hill he probably would have killed himself rather than get put to death.
A compost pile of fecundity
dailykos.comdespicable and literally mentally ill