Saturday, May 22, 2004

Abu Ghraib

Every day I check the news and swear for a week there's been something about Abu Ghraib there. Yes, it was no way to treat prisioners but I have a few observations. First, we're supposed to treat prisioners with respect but what happens when an American soldier gets captured? He's beaten, tortured, hung from a bridge, beheaded, need I go on? But that still doesn't give us a right to treat prisioners badly. Next, the people in Baghdad do not care. I've had the opportunity to ask around and no one cares. The comment I've heard most is that if they hadn't done something bad in the first place, they never would have ended up in Abu Ghraib. The media has built this up into some sort of atrocity that has outraged the Iraqi people. The day (last Wednesday) that the first American soldier was put on trial, we were expecting a protest to number in the thousands. 100 people showed up. ONE HUNDRED. That's it. And most of them had signs saying "No to Terror." They walked around for about an hour and left. That doesn't seem to me to be widespread outrage of the Iraqi people.
And lastly, we were having a conversation about the subject and an NCO made this point. It's never the front-line combat soldiers that do this type of thing. It's always some rear echelon non-combat puke 3 times removed from the action that does it. There are so many good men here that would never do anything like that. Especially taking orders from who they're claiming they took orders from.
I hope all that made sense. After another cup of coffee I'm going to reread it and make sure it makes sense. Just to be clear I do NOT condone what happened at that prision. But it is not the outrage here among the Iraqi people that the media is making it out to be.

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