Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Irony

Family Backs Reservist in Iraq Prison Case

FORT ASHBY, W.Va. (AP) - Family members of an Army reservist photographed with naked Iraqi prisoners said Tuesday she was merely a ``paper-pusher'' who was in the ``wrong place at the wrong time.''

Pictures of Spc. Lynndie England, 21, and other soldiers have sparked an international outcry over the U.S. military's handling of Iraqi war prisoners.

In one photo, England is shown making a thumbs-up gesture behind a pyramid of naked Iraqi men; in another, cigarette dangling from her lips, she points to a hooded and naked prisoner.

``It's ridiculous,'' said Destiny Goin, 21, who has lived with England's extended family since high school and considers herself England's sister.

``It's her picture that you see more than anyone else's, and she really wasn't involved. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.''

Unlike six other members of the 372nd Military Police Company based in Cumberland, Md., England has not been charged but she is being detained at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Goin said England has been restricted to base and has not been given access to legal counsel.

A spokeswoman at Fort Bragg referred calls to an Army spokesman in Virginia, who did not immediately return phone calls.

Goin said England and the six soldiers who have been charged are ``scapegoats - that's what they're being used for.''

England was trained to be a ``paper pusher'' who helped process prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, said Goin and England's brother-in-law James Klinestiver. She was in the area where the photos were taken to visit friends in the 372nd who served as guards, the two said.

Goin and Klinestiver said the family is furious with the comments of President Bush, who said he was ``disgusted'' by the photographs.

``He doesn't know what these guys are going through,'' Klinestiver said. Referring to Bush's limited National Guard service during the Vietnam War, he added, ``How can you make decisions for our military unless you've served yourself?''

God but wouldn't it be ironic if this were the thing that finally pushed a lot of military types out of the Bush camp?

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