Peggy Phillips e-mails:

I notice in the news today that Lynndie England has been convicted of most of the accounts brought against her.  I thought her line of defense was interesting.  As quoted from Yahoo’s website today:

“Capt. Jonathan Crisp, England’s lawyer, countered that England was only trying to please her soldier boyfriend, then-Cpl. Charles Graner Jr., labeled the abuse ringleader by prosecutors.  ‘She was a follower, she was an individual who was smitten with Graner,’ Crisp said.  ‘She just did whatever he wanted her to do.’  England has said that Graner, now serving a 10-year sentence, fathered her young son.  The defense argued that England suffered from depression and that she has an overly compliant personality, making her a heedless participant in the abuse.”

It’s a confirmation to me that her peers found that she should be held responsible for her actions.  It’s my opinion that our growth as humans is based largely on our ability to accept the responsibility for our actions.  By nature, all actions have consequences, and I believe that we become better people when we accept the consequences of our choices.  I feel Lynndie made her choice, and that being “smitten” by someone is other than an appropriate defense.  Where that defense might be appropriate for someone who has been physically and/or mentally tortured, being a “compliant personality” is pushing the envelope for this type of defense argument.  When do we all grow up?  When do we become participants who heed our actions?

Peggy’s absolutely right to be mad about this, and every other woman should be, too.  In effect, England’s defense was “I don’t know any better, so I just did what my boyfriend told me to.”  No one would accept that as the reason she became pregnant with Graner’s child (surely she had something to do with the conception, carrying, and birth of the kid), so it’s heartening that the jury rejected her “overly compliant” argument when it came to the abuse at Abu Ghraib.