Lynddie England and Charles Grainer, found guilty and sentenced to prison for torturing prisoners in Iraq, are filing new appeals in light of the Bush Torture Memos coming into the public domain.
Now here is the problem -
1) Both Abu Ghraib guards are being punished for following what they considered to be lawful orders. Now I realize that "following orders" is not an excuse, and this argument did not get Nazi death camp guards off the hook. But their direct superiors were also prosecuted, Hitler's staff was prosecuted, and Hitler himself would have been prosecuted, has he not committed suicide. The difference here is that those who ordered England and Grainer to torture their suspects are being let off the hook. The legal argument here is that the torture memos were supposed to absolve participants in torture of criminal charges.
2) England and Grainer did go beyond the scope of what they were ordered to do, and that should be a big factor in their sentences being upheld. However, part of their orders themselves are considered by many to have been illegal in the first place. If they are punished for following those orders, then shouldn't those who gave the orders also be punished?
3) The crux of the matter itself - Are the Bush memos smoking guns that the Bush Administration itself authorized illegal acts? There are 2 schools of thought on that - YES and NO. That is the big question which must be answered.
So let's have a vote.
Article is here.