Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Inside Abu Ghraib

Charmaine blogs, yet again, on the women in combat issue. On which, I might add, she's doing a fine job!

This time around, the post centers around the tangential issue of the NY Times piece reviewing some of the details around the relationships of Lyndie England, Charles Graner and his new-wife, Megan Ambuhl while each were serving at Abu Ghraib.

I contemplated a post on this but as I read what Charmaine had to say I understood immediately why I didn't write it. Her understanding of what would motivate England to do what she did given the circumstances that the Times describes, would have escaped me; writing as I'm forced to as a man.

Charmaine's conclusions are simple, and in this case that is a good thing. You don't need vast amounts of policy experience and expertise to reach these conclusions, you only need to understand basic human nature. From a woman's perspective.

Two reasons. First, any time women in combat comes up, supporters scoff at the argument that fraternization is a problem. But the question has to be raised: the "abracadabra" syndrome is rooted in the wildly skewed female-male ratio on deployment. If it's a challenge in a secure rear-area, how much more so when the going gets really tough? Do we want those kind of complications when lives are on the line?

Second, we also often hear denials that sexual relationships among colleagues causes "complications." Turn a blind eye, live and let live.

But then you get Abu Ghraib. Even without the prisoner abuses, the NYT article highlights the discipline problems that arose with England, Graner and Ambuhl having multiple partners in the unit and sneaking around to have sex.

Not to mention Lynndie's pregnancy which resulted in her being sent home. SOP. Non-deployable. From a military readiness perspective, she's a "casualty." Friendly fire.

And there's not a woman alive who doesn't read this story without understanding instantly the formerly incomprehensible actions Lynndie England took that embarrassed our nation at Abu Ghraib. She was competing to keep him; she did it to hold on to him, the father of her child.

That's why it matters.

1 comment:

charmaine yoest said...

Thanks for this feedback -- I wondered how male readers would react to that post. . . but the whole thing is really sad.

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