A reader on active duty writes to say that the claim by the enlisted and non-com Abu Ghraib defendants not to have seen the Geneva Convention must be false:
Every soldier, (particularly non-commissioned officers like the Staff Sergeant you mentioned) is given a copy of the Geneva Convention to review as part of the annual training a Reservist or National Guard soldier gets (usually during the December drill). This issue is again revisited during mobilization training before being activated under Title 10 of the U.S. Code. It is part of the validation process before Reserve and Guard soldiers go to Iraq.
My reader also points out that the distinction between lawful and unlawful orders is part of basic training. So the accused deserve no slack for doing what they must have known was wrong.
Count me in. I don’t want to see criminal liability stop with the people in those horrible photos, because they couldn’t have done what they did without the active and passive help of others. But it should certainly start with them.
Unless Spec. Sivits is being given a break for providing testimony against others, it seems to me that a special court-martial, where the maximum sentence is a year in jail and a Bad Conduct Discharge (as opposed to a Dishonorable Discharge) is hardly adequate.
And I suspect some Iraqis may feel the same way.