Thursday, August 10, 2006

Egregious Excuses

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

Chickenhawk Jackasses

Yesterday (8/9/2006), in newspapers across the nation, Americans were subjected to yet another announcement in which our government - or agents acting directly on behalf thereof - assumed that our collective intellect was somewhere close to the "mildly retarded" mark (see last posting). In a not-so-stunning announcement, the Bush Administration drafted a proposed amendment to existing war crimes laws that would eliminate threats of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating and degrading prisoners [Story - Washington Post].

Interestingly, rape, murder, and torture remain on the list, while cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment of wartime prisoners (in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions, to which the United States is signatory) would be just fine. What I want to know is just what these jackass chickenhawks - remember, everyone in charge up there found an excuse to avoid Vietnam, the President and Veep foremost among them - who are presently playing at war in the sandbox consider "torture." Included on the now-acceptable list:
  1. forced nudity
  2. doggie leashes
  3. simulated acts of homosexuality
  4. wearing women's underwear and doing the "peepee tuck"
So, to clarify: forcing naked men to wear women's underwear and dog leashes while piling them on top of one another in stem-to-knothole position is just fine, but outright killing of them is not; and let's face it, a good number of people would prefer to die rather than be forced to engage in this. Sounds like torture to me.

To those of you who are ready to tell me all about the "terrorists" who would "gladly" do this to all of us, remember this: after lying to us about weapons of mass destruction and getting us into an unwinnable war - nobody has ever been successful in waging a modern war on two fronts simultaneously: witness the breakdown in Afghanistan because our forces are stretched too thin - our good president decided that the war in Iraq was not about WMDs at all, instead, we're there to promote the spread of democracy and Western values (that last one was implied rather than stated outright, but is no less true). How are we to set a good example when we encourage such behavior? It is, after all, encouragement, albeit backhandedly so. We prosecute "the troops" - all of whom we actively support - but after the brouhaha, we pass a law to allow our political appointees to abuse our prisoners - for whom we are setting a "good example" of "democracy in action" - in the exact manner for which we prosecuted "the troops."
currently on miPod - "In the Fen Country" - Ralph Vaughan Williams