BALTIMORE – The wife of an Army reservist sentenced to prison for abusing prisoners in Iraq said she knows her husband was wrong, but she also blames higher-ranking officials who “sit behind the curtains” for the abuse.
Martha Frederick, wife of Staff Sgt. Ivan “Chip” Frederick, said the eight-year sentence he received Thursday for his role in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal will force her family to “endure hardships and many sacrifices.”
“The pain sets deeper yet in knowing that he serves these years not only for his actions or actions of a few reservists, but those included in the chain of command,” she wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Her 38-year-old husband, of Buckingham, Va., received the stiffest punishment given so far in the scandal. But she questioned why her husband’s superiors weren’t being punished for what she said was their complicity on the abuse.
“I feel outrage that he and a few others will bear the weight for the actions of many,” she wrote.
Since finding out her husband faced charges, Frederick wrote that her family has felt as if they were “facing a life-threatening situation when you relive your life’s most memorable moments as well as contemplating all the things that you wish you could change or have done differently.”
Martha Frederick said she will always see her husband as a “good soldier.”
“I will see my husband as a far greater man than those who have abandoned him, left him to be convicted for his acts and the failures of their own,” she wrote.
Throughout the e-mail, she claims “misguided” leadership led to the abuse of Iraqi detainees. She wrote that the photographs and videos showing abuse “do not represent the people of this country, nor do they represent Chip as a person.”
“I do not see Chip as a good soldier gone bad but as a good soldier thrust into a no-win situation,” she wrote.
She writes of the pain and isolation her family has felt, especially her husband, who was sentenced in Iraq, far from his family.
“It is not just how my husband will endure incarceration but how he will endure being left behind, used and discarded,” she wrote.
Frederick joined the Army National Guard at 17, after convincing his mother to sign the papers authorizing his enlistment.
Seven members of the 372nd Military Police Company of Cresaptown, Md., have been charged in the scandal. Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits of Hyndman, Pa., is already serving a one-year sentence after pleading guilty in May to three counts.