"Female soldier charged with abusing prisoners..."

Ever since the news got out yesterday, my wife’s been driving me nuts.

“They’re charging that stupid woman with abusing the Iraqi prisoners.”

“Yeah, I know,” I replied.

“What about the men?”


“What about the MALE soldiers who abused, tortured, and, I dunno, raped and rampaged and…” she ranted.

“Um,” I said. “I really don’t think anyone raped any male Iraqis,” I started.

“Yes, yes,” she said dismissively. “But I keep seeing this woman soldier’s family crying on the news about how their daughter’s gonna get screwed by the military.”

“Seems like she SHOULD get screwed,” I said. “Not only did she abuse prisoners, but she was dumb enough to get photographed doing it with a stupid grin on her face.”

“That’s NOT what I’m talking about,” she snarled, and then proceeded to frame her case. I thought it was interesting enough that I decided to stick it in here, in case anyone could answer it.

Her point is this: Is this a case of media bias against the woman? Because she is a woman, is she somehow more culpable than the men? Like, being female, she should be better, purer, than to do something stupid like this to Iraqis?

Why aren’t we seeing the men’s families whimpering on TV, going on about how this just isn’t like THEIR father/brother/whatever? Is the woman the only one with relatives dumb enough to talk to the news? Or is the woman the only one actually facing court-martial? Why the media preoccupation with the FEMALE soldier? What’s the deal?

My wife is seeing this as a feminist-oriented issue, either in terms of media bias or prejudice on the part of the military… but, either way, it doesn’t say anything good about society. What’s the scoop?

I blame the media. It is more out of character, and sellable, to have a small woman doing these things than it would be to have a big male doing it. Guys are SUPPOSED to be assholes and abusive (not really, but it is not shocking when they are). Not so much diminutive women.

For the record, she is the seventh member of that unit charged. The first six were males.

I think UncleBill has it. It is probably a “man bites dog” story in the case of a woman, and “dog bites man” in cases of men.

I believe that the media has made it newsworthy because it is newsworthy. Imagine if we were shown these photos without any identifiers. The vast majority would automatically assume that it was male soldiers that staged and took the photographs. After all, while some women have been known to act barbarically, barbary (dictionary.com tells me this is not a word except as a proper noun, but I think it ought to be) is a male-dominated profession.

Therefore, to see that a woman has played a role in this humiliation and degradation is fascinating and, for some, perhaps even titillating. “Imagine,” some will think, “if she engages in this kind of activity with prisoners, what kind of stuff must she get off on with the other soldiers?”

While the media can be largely blamed for providing the news that we consume, we as consumers must ultimately be blamed for consuming in the first place. We are no less culpable than those idiots who blame McDonalds for making them fat.

Whatever else, I don’t think Conan helped last night. In a pretty hilarious (and wrong, of course, which helped make it funny) bit, they took those photos of her and Photoshopped them in with other disasters, such as the Hindenburg. I agree that it’s probably a bit more noteworthy that it is a woman photographed doing this and that it’s media driven.

How long do you suppose it will take for S&M websites to have a"Fans of Lynndie England" section? :frowning:

I don’t think the media are at fault. Isn’t she the most identifiable American in the photos that have been published? She appears in several of the photos.

Don’t forget the other “newsworthy” female soldier:-
depending on your taste in spin

I wondered the same thing as Mrs. Wang Ka, actually.

I saw a news story on AOL News go past, early on, in which Lynndie’s mother herself compared it all to the Jessica Lynch story, except that “Jessica got to be portrayed as the Good Guy, and my daughter has to be the Bad Guy”, or words to that effect.

Which comparison has not been lost on the media, I notice.


The world does love its fairy tales, with their simplistic moral values. And it’s the media’s job to give the world what it wants.

Another possible factor is the amount of cooperation the accused or their attornies provide to the people writing articles. If a diligent reporter calls the families of six people and gets five “no comments,” it isn’t a mystery who gets quoted. Further, reporters want interesting stories, as noted. Even if all the suspects were men, if five families said “We love and support our son and hope he gets due process” and the sixth compares the accused to an American POW, again it’s not a mystery which version is going to get more play.

FWIW, I’ve seen at least one news article in which an accused man’s family is doing exactly that.

Wasn’t she the ranking officer and therefore the “buck stops here” person for this little S&M military prison?

She’s just an Army Pfc.

Staff Sgt. Chip Frederick would have outranked her.

If a male soldier had done these things to female prisoners… how would your wife feel?

Story that seems to be related to the topic. I did find the note that she (England) is pregnant to be oddly disturbing for some reason.

How could women do that? - From Salon

According to my "breaking news’ station, another female has just been named.

My thought is that the female soldiers were brought into this because being seen stripped and being degraded by females would be more damaging to the psyche of the Moslem male prisoners. WAG, on my part, but after all the purpose of this was to grind the prisoners down and humiliate them so that they’d talk.

You’re right. It is more damaging to their psyche. Contrary to somewhat popular belief, Islamic men are very respectful of women and do not like being placed in a position where a woman’s language or behavior might encourage a less than respectful response. Therefore, they would more likely endure the denigration rather than suffer the shame of disrespecting a woman. I’ve had first hand experience with this phenomenon (in the workplace) and it’s left me scratching my head.

Despite the pictures already released of the female soldier abusing prisoners, many Americans will dismiss her actions unless and until she’s seen “doing a Rodney King” on somebody, and even then, they’ll make up excuses for the little pixie-faced girl. It is incongruous for us to see such an innocent face in such appalling circumstances. It somehow makes things seem much worse and the media will play it for all it’s worth.

I find it interesting that possible media bias is the issue that your wife gets passionate about and that torture done by soldiers representing her and all of us is the minor point. Maybe she needs to examine her own bias?

I find it more interesting to see pictures involving this small woman rather than just another male American soldier - so I would be more likely to read articles with those pictures. Newspapers that have more interesting interesting articles are more likely to be read and sell better.
Just because the male abusers are largely ignored by the newspapers, it doesn’t mean that they are ignored by the prosecutors.

The word is Barbarity. Barbary, I believe, is the act of barbering. :smiley:


I think UncleBill and JohnClay have nailed it. It’s more likely to “sell” than just another “brutal man does something awful to somebody” story.