In Fort Ashby, in the isolated Appalachian mountains 260km west of Washington, the poor, barely-educated and almost all-white population talk openly about an active Ku Klux Klan presence.
There is little understanding of the issues in Iraq and less of why photographs showing soldiers from the 372nd Military Police Company, mostly from around Fort Ashby, abusing prisoners has caused a furore....
Like many, England signed up to make money and see the world. After her tour of duty, she planned to settle down and marry her first love, Charles Graner.
Down a dirt track at the edge of town, in the trailer where England grew up, her mother Terrie dismissed the allegations against her daughter as unfair.
"They were just doing stupid kid things, pranks. And what the Iraqis do to our men and women are just? The rules of the Geneva Convention, do they apply to everybody or just us?" she asked.
Graner is the alleged ring leader. The article mentions also widespread alchohol abuse among the guards. This is so different from the NYT coverage of Appalachian reaction one wonders which journalist went there and which covered the story by phone.
As the initial shock wears off look for the apologist response to fit into one of these categories:
1. It was no worse than college hazing. Bunch of whimps. It's a tough world ...
2. It's a tough world ... you gotta play tough.
3. Just following orders ...
I'm mostly curious about how this plays with the evangelical wing of the Republican party. It will be their response that determines whether Rumsfeld goes or stays. I'm betting they decide to look the other way. Hypocrisy is a well developed art among fundamentalists of all stripes.