One disappointed Iraqi citizen said Lynndie England's three-year sentence was "nothing compared to what she has done."
Well, yes and no.
Does the punishment fit the crime? Much to the Iraqi's dismay, absolutely. It is rampant hysteria to think otherwise: that a 22-year-old woman who did nothing more than pose for photographs with naked Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison deserves to serve out her entire 20s behind bars.
What she did was stupid, outrageous, criminal, embarrassing and more. But let's have some perspective, here. She posed for photographs.
Meanwhile, the ringleader of the circus, England's erstwhile paramour Charles Graner, received a decade behind bars. And there has now been a total of nine courts-martial in the case.
No one can reasonably argue the Pentagon isn't holding people accountable.
On the other hand, no amount of prison time could have undone the damage one or two smirks from England's smart-aleck face have done to this country's image. In a battle at least partly waged for the hearts and minds of Iraqis, England, Graner and Co. fumbled away victory and made it more difficult on all of us.
Abu Ghraib has been blown way out of proportion from the beginning. The U.S. news media, especially, we are quite certain will not have a proportionate interest in, or outrage about, the atrocities trotted out during Saddam Hussein's trial. It just won't happen. Yet, humiliation at the hands of Americans?As wrong as it was, as unacceptable as it was, as ruinous as it was, it pales in comparison to the beheadings, suicide bombings, kidnappings, tortures and other depravities visited upon innocents in Iraq - just since the fall of Saddam!
Again, some perspective here, please.
So spare us the "injustice of it all" hand-wringing. Lynndie England got justice.
We certainly don't buy her defense lawyer's story - that England should be given lenience due to the poisonous atmosphere at Abu Ghraib or that, for good- ness' sake, she was another in a long line of feckless, compliant females who should get lighter sentences than their evil male counterparts. That's so much bunkum, and eminently sexist.
Yet, three years behind bars and a very dishonorable discharge is about right for the actual offenses involved, hysteria aside.
Restitution to the American and Iraqi peoples?
It's not even possible, so let's move on.