Now, I do believe that England should be punished for her actions. She should have known better. She was clearly having too much fun in those photos. However, the abuse was not her idea. Lynndie England is a follower, not a leader, and she believed that she was following orders from military intelligence. She is Bush's latest scapegoat.
The Bush administration continues to blame the abuse on "a few bad apples", but the policy of mistreatment definitely came from the top. Photos from Guantanamo Bay show the same kinds of torture that we saw at Abu Ghraib. We can't blame Guantanamo on Lynndie England. And reports indicate that it's happening elsewhere, too.
But as the low-level offenders are sent to jail, the high-level architects of the policies that gave the green light to torture are rewarded with promotions.
And Gonzales was rewarded for his efforts with a promotion to Attorney General. The man who found creative ways of bypassing international law is now our country's chief law enforcement officer. You just have to appreciate the irony.
Then there's Jay Bybee, who collaborated with Gonzales to redefine what constitutes "torture". According to Bybee, you can abuse them all you want. You can kick them, urinate on them, sodomize them, and set dogs on them. To officially be "torture", it has to be the equivalent of organ failure. That other stuff doesn't count. In return, Bybee was appointed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - the largest appellate court in the country.
And let's take a look at the new darling of the Bush administration - John Roberts. In Rumsfeld vs. Hamdan, Judge Roberts ruled that the President was not constrained by international law and that "the Geneva Conventions do not create judicially enforceable rights." This man who holds such low regard for human rights is now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The word "justice" doesn't mean what it used to.
These high-level players in the Bush administration found their way to fame and fortune by creating loopholes through which they could get away with torture. And they created loopholes through which anyone - you, me, your sister, your brother, your mom, any of us - could be held in detention on a whim for years, without charge and with no legal recourse, and possibly tortured.
On May 7, 2004, George W. Bush boasted that "because we acted, torture chambers are closed." No, George, they're not closed. They're just under new management - yours!
And little Lynndie England takes the blame.
God bless America.