The Banality of Enhanced Interrogation

A number of people have pointed out the auspicious timing of Philippe Sands’ Green Light article, appearing as it did at the same time as the Torture Memo. I’m just as struck, though, by its appearance shortly after the publication of profiles of two of the women convicted for abuse at Abu Ghraib: a long Stern interview with Lynndie England and a New Yorker profile of Sabrina Harman. Within short order, then, we have profiles of three of the women who enabled torture.

Lynndie England

The England interview describes how England, who had joined the army to get out of her bleak West Virginia town, is stuck back there, unable to get a job and therefore a house of her own for her and her son (via Charles Graner).

I’m just trying to get by. Trying to find a job, trying to find a house. It’s been harder than I expected. I went to a couple of interviews, and I thought they went great. I wrote dozens of applications. Nothing came of it. I put in at Wal-Mart, at Staples. I’d do any job. But I never heard from them.


I am starting to wonder if they realize who I am and they don’t want the publicity. I don’t want to lie. On my resume I have a brief little paragraph about what I did in the army and about being in prison and that I’m still on parole. I want to be totally honest. I have to find a job by September, that’s part of the parole regulations. If you break the rules, then they can bring you back. That would be a big deal because I don’t want to leave my son.

England stays in her home town, she explains, because only there do people support her, some agreeing they would have done as she did, follow orders.

They don’t treat me any different. I haven’t met a person yet that’s been negative to me. Not since I got home. Most of them back me up one hundred percent. They say, "What happened to you was wrong." And some even say they would have done the same thing.


That they would have followed orders, just as I did in Abu Ghraib.

She stays in her home town, too, out of fear that elsewhere a stranger will come after her and her son.

I know more people support me here than are against me. It’s that one crazy one that you don’t know that finds out where you live and comes after you.

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