gotta rant, gotta post… and, of course, send it to the editor of the local paper.
Failures of Society, Not The Military.
I’m amazed that we’re not that concerned that it didn’t seem to upset these misfits of an otherwise proud military to abuse the Iraqi prisoners. I’ve heard excuses as to why they participated, from “lack of training” to “lack of supervision”. But no one seems to be concerned with the lack of morality and personal responsibility.
These men and women didn’t appear out of thin air. They came from the everyday towns and cities that fill the United States; they didn’t come from a vacuum. Where did these people grow up that they have so little regard and respect for human dignity? Did they grow up bullying others? Did they not attend church or school and hear anything about morality, or did they just shrug it off and move on to a party?
Ah, but they were “following orders”? Did they have orders to grin and laugh as the pictures were being taken? Posing their prisoners like hunters with their kills is hardly a proud display of interrogation techniques. And, lest we forget, that has hardly been an effective defence in years past.
Such abuse points to a definite lack of character that was around for years, not just developed overnight. These weren’t men and women under fire in the heat of battle making a life or death decision; they were safe and secure in a prison with their captives at their mercy.
Where did these people develop their morality and their decision-making abilities? Right here at home, that’s where. They grew up in the same communities that have produced hundreds of thousands of devoted and loyal military men and women over centuries, except their belief system took a sharp turn at personal responsibility and morality. These Iraqi prisoners were taken into a dark part of American society where they were posed and exploited for nothing more than the perverse pleasure of a few sick individuals.
We’ll blame the military, we’ll roast a few officers and demote some supervisors; we’ll have more investigations and toss out the offenders. But we won’t turn the magnifying glass inward and wonder about a society that can produce people like this. We won’t try to understand how our young men and women are walking around with only one goal – to never take responsibility for their actions, to always find a scapegoat and a way out. We don’t want to accept that our society is at fault.
A few months from now it’ll all be a footnote for the history books; the men and women back in their respective communities and probably a slew of movie/book deals, their superiors demoted or reprimanded as everyone cries that it’s time to “move on”. But who’s to say that it won’t happen again; who can promise that some kid somewhere isn’t looking at these pictures and these events and wondering if he/she can get away with something just like this and then blame someone else. After all, no one’s really responsible, right? Like with the Enron executives, the buck gets passed on and on and on until no one’s really sure where the blame lies and it then dissolves in a puff of smoke.
The answer lies with the schools and the churches and the communities that create and reward such behavior. They should be looking inwards at the microcosm that created these men and women and wondering where they went wrong and who else is just a snapshot away from participating in such evil. They should be demanding that those involved step up to the plate and take personal responsibility for what they’ve done instead of shrugging the blame off on everyone around them.
But I doubt we’ll see such intergrity displayed by those involved. Instead the cycle will continue, each participant passing off responsibility on their superiors or their subordinates, as they’ve seen in so many other circumstances. And we’ll keep on wondering why our children are growing up with such morals as we wring our hands while reading about the latest round of bullying at our local schools or corporate scandals or frivilous lawsuits being filed.