I have been watching this story unfold for several days and it makes me so very sad. I may surprise you with what I am going to say, but here goes.
“Shut up, they are doing their jobs the way they were trained to do it. It is apparent by the quantity of these things that are turning up that this mentality is standard. So, instead of going after these soldiers why are we not going after the establishments that trained them? Why are we not going after the heads of these establishments that react with such shock and give the good official responses such as “I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable” or “I condemn it in the strongest possible terms” and then going so far as to say “Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent.”
Guess what my friends, I doubt that we are all of a sudden having an outbreak of soldiers that are taking it upon themselves to treat the enemy with such contempt and to be so comfortable with this activity that they photograph it. I would dare suggest that this dehumanization of the enemy and subsequent actions, if it were condemned by their commanding organizations, would have photos of the actions making their way onto public internet venues with the offending soldiers faces in clear view.
We, the American civilians should quit acting so damned naive about the whole thing and realize as long as we are willing to engage in war then we will have this very issue of dehumanization of the enemy to contend with. We need to get off of our soapbox, quit demanding punishment for doing what we have trained these kids to do and perhaps demand more of our leaders. Perhaps demand alternative methods of war, if it is going to be necessary (and in a GOP world it will be). Perhaps demand options besides war be chosen as a preferential method for dealing with problems.
First off, for the record, and I’m sure as no surprise to anyone who has read anything I have ever written, I find war to be one of the most unacceptable activities a country can be engaged in. I have strong opinions about the whole war on terror which I will not even talk about here. I want to save this for just the issue of these soldiers and their actions.
These men, perhaps boys, who knows how old they really are? Are in a war zone, they are living in a situation where any moment they could die. They have been trained to kill people, and to do it without hesitating.
Now, I would like for you to stop and just think about that for a minute. I don’t mean in a video game sense or movie sense, I mean you and standing face to face with a person and you are going to end their life. Now, just concentrate on what that might be like. Go ahead, I’ll give you all the time you need………………………………………………………………….
Back? Ok, Imagine that this person has the same objective, to end your life, so may have to fight them to the death. Stop and contemplate this. Really, contemplate the meaning of this. Once again, take all the time you need………………………
Yeah, me too….it is extremely disturbing isn’t it. Death is always difficult, but violent, hateful, unnecessary death is more than just terrible. Words cannot describe the feelings associated when you are involved in a death like this. Additionally the repercussions of what it will do, not only to you and to them, but to the people in their life and in your life are far reaching. It is not just a single event. It is like a stone being dropped in a puddle. There is a ripple that hits everyone that is part of those peoples lives.
So, lets now shift our focus onto why these soldiers feel that this acceptable behavior. I mean these men and women are warriors and they have been trained to be what they are. They did not burst from the womb, finger pointed (since there was no M16 readily available), ready to kill the first hadji they see. They joined the military, probably to try to help themselves and to support their families and there they were taught to be killers. Sure, some probably had a head start, there is always the kid that likes to pull the wings off of butterflies and shoot robins, but we all know that behavior is nurtured in a military environment. So, regretfully, dehumanization of your target is a necessary byproduct of being trained to be an effective warrior
Of course it is never idea to reveal that you have trained your troops to devalue life to the point that urinating on a dead body and photographing it would be a good idea, but there are costs when you send boys & girls to the military and into war.
Lastly, we should be worried about how to help these men and women cope and rehabilitate should they choose or if they are forced to leave the military, and need to rejoin civilian society. It is only fair that we need to be prepared to invest just as much in the decommissioning of our soldiers as we do in the commissioning of them. It is only fair to them that this would be offered.
I understand that the photographs shown are offensive and people are upset by them. But come on guys, really? This is not the first instance and I doubt it will be the last we will see of this. How about a little concern over the fact that we have a military leadership who obviously is training these soldiers with the understanding that capturing these grotesque acts of defiling a dead body is a trophy the soldier should be seeking? The fact that this is being done is nothing new. One can find pictures dating back hundreds of years of soldiers standing triumphantly over the dead bodies of the enemy. One can only assume that other, less tasteful, images have probably been taken all along but there just was not a public venue for them at the time. Now, in the digital age you can load this stuff onto Facebook, You Tube or whatever for posterity in a matter of seconds. So, here we are. Now our military leaders face a dilemma of the most difficult kind. What to do? We want our soldiers to stay killers, we don’t want to change that program. We have to answer to all of these civilians who can see what we are doing. Well, I will tell you what they are doing. They throwing these kids under the bus right now. It’s like “A Few Good Men” happening in real life…except its not a Code Red, its the enemy and anyone who cries about it is called un American. They could possibly be called a terrorist sympathizer. Look out, NDAA here is what you were made for!!!
I reiterate we need to be looking at our leaders, as a whole. Not these kids who are only doing what they have been taught.