I have no idea how our government thinks we function. It must feel that, in most cases, we're so blindly stupid that we barely have enough brainpower to keep our hearts beating, but a recent article in the Washington Post really takes the cake. Defense attorneys - military officers all, appointed for said purpose by our government - for soldiers accused of raping and murdering a fourteen year old girl and killing her family afterward actually had the audacity to use the "War is Hell" defense [Story].
As one witness called by the defense testified, soldiers patrolling a hostile region in Iraq actually had to face a threat of death. These soldiers - all of whom must have joined after we went to Iraq (they're still low-rank enlisted men) - evidently signed up to go to war and never thought that they would have to endure cold food or the threat of death. So, one night while having some drinks and playing cards - how horrifying - they came up with a plan to rape the girl and murder her parents and five year old sister. I suppose the latter didn't share her dolls or blocks with the soldiers.
I will admit: I never went to war. My father forbade my joining the military after his own service (two tours, 1967-68) in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. My knowledge, as such, is solely historical or secondhand. However, now as then, the vast majority of soldiers in hostile areas did not participate in disgusting acts such as this. Soldiers enlist. Soldiers fight in wars. I'm told that soldiers die in wars at the hands of other soldiers, and as such, that the threat of death is something that soldiers should expect. I'm fairly sure that premeditated rape and murder do not fall under accepted operational guidelines for our well-trained military personnel. As a matter of fact, rape and murder of any sort - especially the rape and murder of civilians - are prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and that the excuse of "war is hard on soldiers" is not an acceptable defense: there are none.
currently on miPod - "Andante Spicatto" - A. Marcello