Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Excellent piece over at Empire Notes on the outcome of the Lynndie England case, in which she pled to lesser charges yesterday to avoid a heavy sentence. After laying out the evidence presented at the court-martial, Rahul Mahajan breaks it down:
"What was the plea bargain really about?"It was ever thus.
Was it about evidential issues relating to Ms. England's crimes or was it -- at least tacitly -- about an agreement to forget about implicating people higher up in the chain of command, indeed to forget about even subpoena'ing them?
It might be argued that prosecutors were actually worried that England's defense would successfully present her as a mentally defective person incapable of understanding what she was doing and get her totally or partially exonerated on those grounds, but I don't think that's how courts-martial generally operate.
The military officers who would make up the jury would know very well that the decision had been made at the top that these few people in the pictures were to be punished and would furthermore not want to cast the military in an even worse light than it already is by agreeing that the military recruits people who can't tell right from wrong and puts them in charge of prisoners.
So, the evidence is far from conclusive, but the inferential case seems to me quite strong, that the real terms of England's plea bargain were about covering the ass of the military hierarchy."