Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Accidental American Hero

My only clue as to why I don’t watch ABC’s Nightline more often is that it shares a time slot with Daily Show reruns. But, I was very glad to stumble upon Ted Koppel’s interview with one of the scapegoats of Abu Ghraib, the now demoted, former Brigadier General Janis Karpinski. (Crooks & Liars has the video clips.)

Karpinski lays out in detail how she was tagged as the fall guy from the get go, in case the world got wind of the implementation of Alberto Gonzalezs' brand of torture that was perfected previously at Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay. It had everything to do with her being a Reservist (meaning expendable), a woman (out of the protected loop), and too trusting of the military chain of command.

Just as the Pentagon's whitewash and absolution of the Commanders who conspired against her, this familiar tale had been expected. The bold and compassionate action of military Judge Col. James Pohl to temporarily halt Lynndie England from framing herself however, did give pause to my enraged cynicism.

But, what frustrated me nonetheless was that I was watching this explosive and convincing account of a Bush administration conspiracy and cover-up, on a major network and influential news program - and, it very well may end up a mere blip on the radar of an American Idol-brained nation, still in deep, but complicit denial.

In light of Karpinski's detailed assertions, and as gleefully as Charles Grainer took to his sadistic, illegal game, I now find it ironic that I can muster more empathy for the alleged ringleader, than the Pentagon orchestrated, made-for-Lifetime network pawn, Jessica Lynch. And, I feel regret now for joining in the chorus of those who ridiculed Lynndie England initially, obviously a hapless conscript who ended up in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Which leads me to wonder why the story of an American fashion model who survived the Tsunami, is more compelling than a female Brigadier General who served her country with distinction, now preparing for the fight of her life? And, how can a country be engrossed with a selfish, privileged, ditz from Decatur, Georgia, while a callous government railroads a young mother who put her life on the line in Iraq?

I've been annoyed by the media's pandering manipulation of the term 'hero', a special honor (IMHO) requiring more than abandoning a promising, lucrative NFL career. By fighting the Pentagon to clear her name, Janis Karpinski may earn that distinction. And, by finding the military-trained bravery within and finally putting it to good use, Lynndie England can prove herself an exemplary soldier, and not a victim.

Posted by Bert M. Caradine at May 15, 2005 6:22 AM