WASHINGTON: Former US soldier Lynndie England, a central figure in the 2004 Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, said in an interview published Monday she feels no compassion for her victims.
In an interview with the Internet newspaper The Daily, the 29-year-old unemployed single mother living in rural West Virginia showed little remorse for her role in a scandal that indelibly tarnished the US military presence in Iraq.
“Their lives are better. They got the better end of the deal,” England was quoted as saying. “They weren’t innocent. They’re trying to kill us, and you want me to apologize to them? It’s like saying sorry to the enemy.”
England was questioned several days after the killing of 16 Afghan civilians in Afghanistan by a US soldier, which has drawn comparisons to the Abu Ghraib scandal in terms of its impact on the war.
In 2004, images of England, then 22, smiling as she held a naked Iraqi prisoner on a leash shocked the world.
She appeared in other images that showed detainees with hoods over their heads, threatened by dogs, forced to masturbate, or piled on top of each other.
President George W. Bush admitted that the scandal had disgraced the United States, and said it constituted the worst US mistake in Iraq.
England, who was dishonourably discharged from the army after serving a year and a half in prison, recounted sending job applications everywhere but not being able to even land a job flipping burgers.
The only regret she expressed was that the Abu Ghraib photos had led to the deaths of Americans in reprisal for the abuse.
“I think about it all the time, indirect deaths that were my fault. Losing people on our side because of me coming out on a picture,” she said.