There comes word now that Ms. Lynndie England isn't wrong - just sick. (Wing-tip to our friends at the Coalition.)
Lame-O. The big issue is of course the impact on morale and the support for the troops back home. There's another big issue coming into play, though, and that's the general mad rush (and yes, it is madness, not just a turn of phrase) to make all moral defects some other sort of defect. You're not wrong, my dear child - just deprived, or disturbed, or ill. The only guilty thing is your conscience, and it's time to be cured of that bothersome fiction!
Naturally, this means that nobody is responsible for anything ever. You might as well close down every criminal court and turn the buildings into psych wards. You can't punish a psychological condition. You can only heal it. See how much more kindly and humane that is?
Except... it means that instead of punishment, the detainees get treatment, whose effectiveness and duration are judged solely by the jailors. The end result is endless, indeterminate sentences, with those in stir subject to any amount of psychological meddling. (Why, yes, I did read "That Hideous Strength." Lewis really knew how to make a point.) Paradoxically, this is far worse than simply clapping the guilty in irons and sticking them in a concrete box for ten years. At least they know how long they've got left to serve, and at least their mind is their own, and not the playground of well-meaning fools.
What's more, treatment will be doomed to failure, because there isn't anything mentally or physically wrong with a great majority of these people. They're not deprived, but depraved; not sick, but wicked. They need to choose better, and then they will discover that they in fact become better. "Children learn what they live," the old poster says. Start behaving civilly and you become a more civil person. That's a lot simpler than a yakfest about root causes and trauma - which they will only resent. And in contempt, they will play the system. "Still sick, Your Honor," says the three-time rapist. "Low self-esteem," says the gang-banger. "Not breast-fed," says the pimp and the pusher.
So, it's crueler to the criminals themselves, and an absolute disaster for the innocent. Too bad the parents will have so little chance to keep them straight from the beginning. Raising children at all becomes an impossibility if right and wrong are medical conditions. The doctors, who know best (especially Dr. Phil and Dr. Ruth), will do it scientifically. And that's how you get such anti-concepts as, "He doesn't know any better," "they're going to have sex anyway," and "Whatever you believe is true."
And those concepts are hard to fight. Even the judge is buying it. Nota bene, friends - criminals are basically career opportunists. There are real children who really are born addicted, and adults who suffer real mental and physical illness. How will they get the help they need if their aid programs are clogged with able, clever wrongdoers?