Ten years for Cpl. Graner …

Who’s next? Cpl. Graner didn’t arrange for the “ghost detainees.”

… seems about right. The court was right to reject his attempt to blame his acts on his superiors; surely, if he received what he thought were orders to do some of the things he did, he must have known those couldn’t have been lawful orders.

That said, the verdict and sentence shouldn’t be taken as exonerating his chain of command, right up to Rumsfeld and Bush. Graner has been held accountable; now it’s their turn. Graner surely wasn’t responsible for the grossly illegal and totalitarian practice of keeping off-the-books “ghost detainees,” for example.

And no, George, winning an election isn’t the same as being acquitted of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Again, I think it’s fair to criticize those who voted for Bush for implicitly ratifying his actions, since they (and especially the bloggers and other journalists) knew or should have known what he’d been up to. But since he didn’t campaign on being in favor of torture he can’t claim a democratic mandate for it, any more than he can for the Social Insecurity plan.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com