Charles Graner, the defendant in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal court-martial, was convicted by the jury yesterday. Here's the Washington Post article.
However, you should read the post at American Street because he makes an excellent case for how the trial judge incorrectly excluded exculpatory evidence from the trial.
Let's examine a few interesting points made by the Washington Post article.
No officer at Abu Ghraib, and no one higher in the chain of command, has faced criminal charges to date.
There is far too much evidence that higher ups knew what was going on to believe that not a single higher up is also deserving of a court-martial.
Between 80 and 100 of the toughest prisoners, including insurgents arrested for attacking Americans, were held in a cellblock called "Tier One-Alpha." Graner, who had been a corrections officer in Pennsylvania, was in charge of the night shift on that block
The previous quote shows that this was not just any random prison block containing innocent Iraqis, but rather the cell block where the toughest insurgents were held. This is further evidence Abu Ghraib was not about a few rogue sadistic enlisted men, but rather was a coordinated attempt my military intelligence to soften up the prisoners most likely to have information.
Graner and other guards e-mailed the photos to family and friends, a practice that drew conflicting explanations at the trial. The prosecutor, Capt. Chris Graveline, said that displaying the photos showed just how "cold" the enlisted soldiers had been. Womack, the defense lawyer, responded that Graner's sending the photos to friends proved "he was sure he was doing exactly what the chain of command wanted him to do."
I agree with the defense lawyer, but would like to add that people become desensitized to things. For example, the average person sees a dead body and gets all grossed out. But to the forensic pathologist, a dead body is no big deal, just part of doing the job. This is how it seemed to the soldiers when they took the photos.
The angry global reaction embarrassed the White House. President Bush summoned Arab reporters to assure them that Abu Ghraib "is a stain on our country's honor." The president and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld have said that the abuse was strictly the fault of a small group of "rogue" soldiers at the prison.
This explains the real reason for the court-martial, which has nothing to do with justice. The purpose was to prove to the Muslim Arab world the false explanation set forth many months ago by Bush and Rumsfeld.
This post by Jeshua Erickson, points out that the soldiers wouldn't have taken photos if they thought they were doing anything wrong.