US soldier in photos said she was obeying orders

PTI | ByReuters, Denver
May 12, 2004 07:41 PM IST

Lynndie England, photographed laughing and holding a naked Iraqi on a leash, said she was instructed to pose for the picture.

A female American soldier photographed laughing and holding a naked Iraqi prisoner on a leash said on Tuesday that she was instructed to pose for the picture by people up the chain of command.

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The pictures of Private Lynndie England and other U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad have been shown around the world, shocking Americans and posing a serious setback to U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq.

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England in particular has come in for abuse because of the way she smiled in the photographs with a cigarette dangling from her mouth.

"I was instructed by persons in higher rank to stand there, hold this leash ... and they took a picture and that's all I know," England, who is four months pregnant, told Denver television station KCNC, a CBS affiliate.

Some of the attorneys representing the soldiers charged with abusing the Iraqis are from Colorado.

The interview was done at Fort Bragg, where England is now in custody.

She said she thought at the time the pictures were taken last October that the activity was strange. "I was thinking it was kind of weird," she said, when asked what she felt about standing next to the naked men.

She said officers told her and her fellow soldiers that the abuse and humiliation of the Iraqis was paying off.

"To us, we were doing our job, which meant we were doing what we were told and the outcome was what they wanted," she said.

When asked if Iraqis in the prison received treatment even worse than what has been released in the photographs, she answered "yes" but then declined to elaborate on the advice of her attorney.

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