Looking at Charles Graner's grinning mug in Abu Ghraib, I get the distinct impression that he's a sadistic fuck. After all, beating & humiliating bound prisoners, 70 to 90 percent of whom were swept up and jailed minus any proof of criminal activity (and later released -- sorry about the torture and all that), requires a certain detachment from the better side of one's self. His parents say he's good guy and a great dad, but that's dubious at best. Graner clearly got a kick out of abusing Iraqis in a prison used by Saddam's henchmen. Parental role model? Depends on your values.
All this said, it's obvious that Graner is taking the fall for those higher up. Army Specialists enjoy only so much authority, and judging from the Abu Ghraib pix, Graner and company were operating on an extended leash. Had those photos not gone public, are we talking about this case? Please.
Graner didn't order the invasion of Iraq. Nor did he work with his corporate pals to carve up an impoverished, occupied country. Graner is simply the latest soldier, in a long line of soldiers, to be hung out to dry for political purposes. How much time Graner will actually serve is probably an open question, once the heat on him fades and newer scandals arise.
Meantime, the real criminals remain at large, free to continue their murder and torture spree. Grunts like Charles Graner mean nothing to them -- a hired hand to do the dirty work, then disappear, die or take the blame if some shit comes down.
Graner's conduct, bad as it was, is mild compared to some of the stories coming out of Gitmo, and esp those infamous videos from Abu Ghraib (yet seen by the public) where Iraqi boys are reportedly raped in the presence of US troops. And of course there's the daily carnage in Iraq, so routine at this point that it's just another soundbite in the white noize of our mass media.
Maybe, with some luck and a good agent, Graner will come out of this mess with his own Fox "reality" show, "Mister Guard," where Graner practices his Abu Ghraib techniques in a juvenile detention center, sort of a hands-on "Scared Straight." Given all the war supporters who think torture is no big deal, there's sure to be a ready fan base.
UPDATE: Graner gets 10 years. Guess "Mister Guard" will have to wait.