A collective sigh of relief must have rippled through the Pentagon and the White House Sept. 26 when 22-year old Army Private Lynndie England was convicted and sentenced for her despicable torture of detainees at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. Her superiors, including the commander in chief, were off the hook.

It would seem the embarrassing episode of U.S. Army personnel who were photographed humiliating and torturing Iraqi prisoners has slid off the administration like slime down a storm drain. President Bush must be hoping that England’s conviction will bolster his claim that such conduct is rare and the work of “rogue” soldiers, not official policy.

But in her first post-conviction interview, England told “Dateline NBC,” “I know worse things are happening over there.” She said she once heard blood-curdling screams coming from the prison’s shower room, where outside contractors hired as interrogators by the Bush administration had taken an Arab detainee.

“They had the shower on to muffle it, but it wasn’t helping,” she recalled. “I can still hear it just like it happened yesterday.”

Within days of England’s conviction, Human Rights Watch released a 30-page report detailing the use of torture by U.S. personnel in Iraq. In the report, West Point graduate Captain Ian Fishbach and two unidentified sergeants from the Army’s elite 82nd Airborne Division told how physical and mental torture was standard operating procedure during the unit’s 2003-2004 tour of duty near Fallujah. Fishbach ultimately wrote to Sen. John McCain with the full story.

On the heels of HRW’s report, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the Defense Department to release to the ACLU more than 70 additional photographs and three videos of torture of Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib. The civil liberties group had sued for their release. Action has been delayed, pending the Bush administration’s expected appeal.

The ACLU and others are meticulously assembling the murderous catalogue of crimes committed by U.S. forces at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. All democratically minded people should insist that the probe reach all the way to the top, to Rumsfeld and Bush. That’s where the blame truly lies.

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