Obligatory Abu Ghraib Rant
I was looking at those pictures yesterday from Abu Ghraib … they are terrible. And while I believe that we have to root out whatever elements of the chain of command are responsible for what happened, I have a hard time accepting the excuses of those little guys … you weren’t schooled in the Geneva Convention? You were forced to smile while doing depraved things to naked men? I like a bit I read somewhere about one guy in the prisons wasn’t willing to do anything the least bit shady unless the party ordering it filed appropriate paperwork.
Ginmar, who is stationed in Iraq, and whose blog is totally worth reading, put it well:
Maybe it’s the idea that these soldiers just weren’t the scary-looking weirdos in the alley we’d like to believe they are. It’s so easy to look at the mob and hang their savagery on their religion, their country, whatever. But when the mob is one of our own, I think it’s important to claim them and confront whatever it was that made them do it.
I’ve heard that Iraqis are sickened by the video of that guy beheading an American. You know, I don’t want people to die, but if the guy is killed for a particular nefarious purpose, and it backfires … I think that guy who lost his head, if it reminds the Iraqis that their partisans are at least as sick and depraved as our confused kids from West Virginia … there is plenty of evil to go around, hopefully a lot of folks can keep it in mind that America is less evil.
We are, aren’t we? I’ve heard as much from Americans and from Arabs.
What is really disgusting … I saw some Republican Congressman saying that the controversy is worse than the act itself, because, after all, these were a bunch of bad guys who may have had blood on their hands. This at the same time that I hear about 80% of Iraqis who are picked up are picked up by accident. Pandering. It is dishonest, it is cheap, it is without honor. The honor lies with Senator John McCain, who said something along the lines of “and I have some personal experience with this, but torturing prisoners never works, they’ll just tell you whatever you want to hear.”
The ruthlessness of our enemies can never excuse our reciprocal depravity, since the reason we are fighting is because we hold ourselves to a higher level of moral expectations than our enemy. Right? I wouldn’t have us win by becoming indistinguishable from that which we sought to replace. Torturing Iraqi’s in Saddam Hussein’s prison … that should have ceased when the statue got pulled down.