Abu Ghraib Verdict
Yesterday’s guilty verdict for Charles Graner – the torture ringleader at Abu Ghraib prison – represents a proud moment for our country. This is an occasion to feel genuinely patriotic. Not the mindless flagwaving and xenophobic slogans that this term usually conjures up; but a genuine pride. Our Constitution, and our belief that no one is above the law, has been reaffirmed.
People in positions of authority – police, prison guards, soldiers – are accountable for their behavior. Yes, we have brutality and abuse of authority by soldiers and law enforcement personnel, but they are breaking the law. And sometimes – not often enough, but sometimes – the perpetrators are apprehended and brought to trial.
Two out of the four LAPD officers who beat Rodney King nearly to death were convicted and jailed. The Brooklyn cop who sodomized a prisoner with a broken plunger handle received a 30 year prison sentence.
Yesterday’s verdict demonstrates to the world that America tries to live up to its ideals. Soldiers and guards who torture their captives are violating our laws and the Geneva Convention, and they are accountable. How many other governments have prosecuted their own soldiers and police for brutality? Yesterday’s verdict sets us apart from most of the world.
Yes, there’s still room for lots of improvement but, for all of its numerous flaws and imperfections, our system works.