As the case of Private Lynndie England, a woman that took pleasure in torturing Iraqis at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, grabs headlines once again, Iraqis have the right to ask about the victims of her abuse.
The American soldier will not receive the maximum jail sentence simply because she has agreed to plead guilty to the charges.
The court proceedings are purely an American affair, but as the country’s occupiers, the U.S. is legally and morally responsible for atrocities the likes of which Private England have been perpetrating on the country.
Her sentence will not be commensurate with the abuses U.S. guards have inflicted on their prisoners, and her case is nothing but an affront to the tens of thousands of Iraqis still languishing in U.S. jails without trial, and a slap in the face to the victims of the occupation and their families.
Conditions at Iraqi jails currently under U.S. protection are appalling, and the abuse and torture skills that the Americans have introduced are far worse than those employed by former leader Saddam Hussein.
Private England was responsible for just one ward of Abu Ghraib, and to her misfortune, some of her abusive acts were photographed and later leaked to the press.
Abuses by U.S. troops are not restricted to major prisons and temporary detentions centers.
They are systematic and reveal standard operating procedures that under no circumstances can be carried out under the personal initiative of certain individuals.
U.S. troops are turning entire cities into jails and detention centers.
Over the past few weeks, several cities such as Qaim, Tel Affar, Haqlaniya and Samarra were attacked with massive military force.
The U.S. war machine has drained these cities’ resources to the extent that the inhabitants no longer have access to the minimum conditions acceptable for a human being.
Tens of thousands of families have lost loved ones, and they have no redress for their tragedy.
People are continuously losing their jobs, property and careers.
Iraqis have less access to food, clean water and healthcare than at anytime before.
Whole cities live under strict curfews that may extend for more than 12 hours a day.
Because of ongoing military operations or curfews, many Iraqis die because they cannot reach a doctor or hospital.
We are a drained nation and those occupying and leading us are apparently happy with our tragedy.
Private England is courageous to admit her guilt. Anyway, she needs to preserve her youth and enjoy her life.
But her case is a lesson to us Iraqis.
It says that she, the army that recruited her, the department that paid her and the administration that taught her are, “innocent.”
We await the next logical step: for the U.S. to sentence the Iraqi people for abuses and atrocities that they themselves have been committing in our midst.