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The noble, the brave, and the sickening

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From the article:


"You thought the United States was unpopular before the Iraq war? Well, rest assured that the fallout from these events will not only intensify the hatred the Muslim world has for us, but will spread worldwide.


Sitting out here in England, I can tell you that unfortunately, the writer of this article is correct. The United States had very little credibility before these reports came out, due to the incompetence displayed in managing post war Iraq. Any credibility the US might have had in convincing people that we were bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq and the Middle East is now gone. I don't believe that the incidents of abuse reported are seen as the actions of a few rogue soldiers. What is now playing on British TV are reports by the International Red Cross that abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan were reported months earlier to the military and to Bremer. Our governmnent has taken the position that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to detainees we have determined are "enemy combatants," for example, in Guantanamo. It is widely assumed that a culture of lawlessness pervades our policy toward detainees, and this culture started with policies determined at the top of the chain of command.

President Bush's statements on Arab TV are seen as too little, and his apology at the press conference with King Abdullah of Jordan as too late. It will take serious action on Bush's part to even to begin to restore America's credibility. He could start by firing Rumsfeld. Any British minister in this situation would have been out the door already.


Many of you will find this controversial, but I will say it anyway, and maybe we can have a discussion. For the first time since I have been living abroad, I must say that I am ashamed to be an American.



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What this about "Canadian Prison Guards". They were US Army. Dont try to deflect the blame. Not only did this incidence reflect poorly on the individuals involved but on the Army, and the nation as a whole.

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I dont know if this was truly your intent. However, your chosen title for this thread - The noble, the brave, and the sickening - seems to be making a commentary about our armed forces in Iraq. If so, I take exception to this. When a story comes out in the papers about a pedophile that has breached the ranks of the BSA, do you accord us the same disrespect? The acts of a few individuals (whether that be 1, 10, or 100), should not be used to cast dispersions on 100,000 to 150,000 men and women. Every organization, whether it is the local school system, the BSA, or the US Arm Forces, has individuals with values that are not consistent with the vast majority.


In regard to the article, I find it interesting that liberals in the media and elsewhere are using this sad story to defame President Bush. Veronica Crowell writes: This is a perfect example of the Bush White House's lack of leadership. This conclusion is ridiculous. But its typical of a movement in our country today. Blame everyone but those directly responsible. Its not the kids fault; the parents should be blamed. Its not the employees fault; the supervisor should be blamed. Its not the students fault; the teacher should be blamed. Its not the criminals fault; the police should be blamed. Its not the bums fault; society should be blamed. Its not the soldiers fault; the President should be blamed. On and on it goes. Grow up. You are who you are. If you dont like it change, but stop blaming your parents, teachers, the government, and society. Let me give you a clue if youre practicing for God, Hes not going to buy it.

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With regard to accountability, my view is the reverse side of the coin from Rooster. Leaders establish policy and set the tone of their organization's culture. This is true of schools, businesses, and especially the military, which is a command structure. Bush and Rumsfeld decided that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to certain people. In the Abu Ghraib prison, military intelligence was allowed to take over interrogations, and the soldiers who were assigned as guards were encouraged to soften up the prisoners before intelligence got there. None of this would have happened if the guards were properly trained in overseeing their detainees. This training would have happened if those in command had taken the Geneva Conventions seriously. The abuses described are the result of systemic problems. This doesn't mean that all 150,000 soldiers are committing or would commit abuse. What it does mean is that abuses will happen more readily because of the way the system is set up. Those responsible for the system are those who are in command. I encourage everyone to read the Taguba Report. It is quite thorough and professionally done. The buck has to stop somewhere. It should stop with the Commander in Chief.



By the way, I would not characterize this issue as "liberal" or "conservative." I think things have gone beyond these labels at this point.


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As for the damage done in the Arab world, I fail to understand how we (Americans and our allies) are expected to understand that the acts of several terrorists DO NOT REPRESENT the hearts and minds of millions of Muslims or the governments of Middle Eastern countries that are sympathetic to their cause (if not their means) - BUT, when some American soldiers who are risking their lives (and have probably seen a few friends die at the hands of insurgents) take their frustrations out on some captured enemy combatants, all of the world expects us to stand up and confess that we are a hateful nation with dishonorable intentions.


Lets use the same standard across the board. Apply the same rules and judgments to everyone. These soldiers have probably lost their careers and may see prison time. With the exception of one act (i.e., the prisoner standing on a box with electrodes), while their actions were disgusting and revolting, they pale in comparison to the acts of terrorists or the acts of Sadams old prison guards. In fact, some of this stuff was probably done in a college frat house (although thats not a fraternity that Id want any part of). Am I defending their actions? No. Do I think they deserve to be punished? Yes. However, I want to hear their stories. Go to Iraq for a few months. Watch your friends die. See innocent people torn apart by the bombs of terrorists. See if youre not changed. Since this is not possible, then at least try to put yourself in their shoes before passing a quick judgment. And whatever punishment these men and women deserve, they are individuals. I understand that they wear the uniform of U.S. servicemen. I also understand that suicide bombers claim to represent Ala and his people BUT Muslims and our Middle-Eastern allies expect us to understand that these folks are exceptions, rogue members of the faith, who are misguided and should NOT be seen as representative of other Muslims. If that be case, they should easily understand that these service members are exceptions, rouge members of the military, and should NOT be seen as representative of other Americans. I hate double standards and I hate hypocrisy. Those who feel likewise should not judge America or its leadership based on the actions of a few.


As for labels, I think they apply. The kinds of articles that are being written that draws these conclusions is LIBERAL BLATHER:


1) This is Bushs fault.

2) These solders represent the tip of the iceberg. Theres many, many more doing the same.

3) Americas occupation is no better than what Sadams rule had offered Iraq.

4) This incident justifies all of the horrible accusations made against us. Middle Eastern countries and in particular Muslims have a right to question whether we are trying to do good.

5) We should be ashamed to admit that we are Americans.


The above is nothing but the left exploiting a horrible event during an election year to further their cause - no matter what harm it may cause America and our brave servicemen in the Middle East. It's disgusting. It's loathsome. But it is typical for the liberal media (and most of the liberal leadership). I realize that you may not like to recognize this but its true.


Im not happy about what happen. I know that what they did was wrong. I realized that the actions of these guards (and the fact that our beloved press has ensured that all our enemies will have these photos for propaganda to fuel their cause) have put more Americans in harms way. No doubt, some idiot will believe that this justifies a suicide bombing and he or she is the perfect martyr to do the job.

(This message has been edited by Rooster7)

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Maybe the next time one of these murderous terrorists thugs will think twice before firing a B40 rocket into a busload of schoolkids if he knew that "Naked Twister" was in his future and not access to 75 virgins and endless martinis in paradise.

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First of all, the Geneva Conventions do apply to enemy combatants, that's what they were written for. One of the mistakes many casual observers make is assuming that prisoners of war under Geneva Convention definition are entitled to and afforded the same legal status that U.S. citizens have when charged with an offense under US criminal law. Not so. How long may enemy prisoners of war be held? Until the conflict ends, unless they are released or exchanged earlier. How long was Sen John McCain a POW; 7 years, right? That's what "indefinitely" means. Don't look at this through "Court TV" filters; they don't apply.


MI has always done interrogations, they didn't "take over" anything. Front line troops capture or accept surrenders, search for intel, make a quick report, then send them to the rear. Guards don't interrogate and never have -- that's a specialized skill set.


There are numerous techniques employed to lessen the resistance of prisoners to interrogation. Ours are relatively benign; other countries employ torture (again, ask Sen. McCain and other Vietnam POWs, and Desert Storm POWs at the hands of the Iraqis, too for that matter). All branches of the military train members who may become POWs on survival, escape, resistance, and evasion techniques. I've been through this training, including mock interrogations. It's not pleasant, but it's not illegal either.


Of course leaders set the tone and climate for their organizations. That said, humans are not automatons and not everyone buys in or stays bought in. I'm not making excuses for any wrongdoing, but to argue that a leader 20 levels removed from the act of a handful of people should be removed because that small group didn't follow their training is naive at best. If that logic were applied across the board, no leader in any organization, public or private, would survive more than a minute in his position.


Funny, I don't remember anyone calling for President Clinton's head when we bombed an aspirin factory in Africa or destroyed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Of course, there's no chance any of this could be partisan politics...


Despite my experience in overseeing military confinement facilities and training in processing and securing EPWs, I'm not going to comment specifically on the Iraq incident. I wasn't there and I don't know what happened.



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Thanks Rooster and KS for applying a bit of hard-headed pragmatism to this issue - wish it would get spread around a bit more... I remember the stories from the Hanoi Hilton.

Guess we'll just have to wait patiently until a fresh news story blows in and the television feeding frenzy goes chasing off after the next 'newsworthy' item that the 'people demand to know more about' Give me a break

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I, for one, am not ashamed to be an American!

Just because some nations with linguini for backbones don't approve of the stance our country has taken, is not sufficent cause to make me feel remorse. Am I ticked-off about what a few soldiers did, YES.

Am I 100% behind the thousands of the young men and women who day-in and day-out go about their business in a professional way, YES. Am I behind a President who doens't just 'run-off at the mouth' with a bunch of idle threats, YES.

I have friends and relatives over there and I pray for them every day. If we don't find any other weapon of mass destruction, I still feel we found one hiding in a hole like a rat.


gsmom, if you're ashamed to be an American, do us both a favor and don't tell anyone over there that you are.


BTW, if that stings, maybe there is still some pride going on....



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I agree. But I'd go even further...




If you're ashamed to be an American, do our nation and our troops in harms way a favor, stay in England. In case you've haven't heard, we're fighting a war. We don't need folks giving the enemy moronic quotes to fuel their passions.

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