Friday, June 02, 2006

Haditha

“War crime” is an oxymoron as war by definition encourages bad behavior.  We don’t know yet what happened at Haditha but the rumor and propaganda is already out of hand.  I don’t condone anyone killing civilians deliberately and I understand how it can happen accidentally especially considering the Iraqi situation.  Of course no one cares about Sunnis murdering Shiites, or Kurds killing Arabs, or Arabs killing blacks in Darfur, but don’t let the USA even have a small mistake and the world will jump on it promptly.

The citizens of the United States have a right to armed forces that can behave properly, and I think we do.  In every group there will be people who can not stand up to the stress of being shot at from various angles and combatants that look like civilians.  The fact that the armed forces are going to retrain their members in the ethics of warfare is ridiculous.  While good behavior must be constantly reinforced, if the training didn’t take effect when initially given it probably never will.

The most disturbing thing about Haditha, beyond the obvious, is that Marine Corps officers would lie rather than discipline their troops.  This abdication of responsibility is a more troubling aspect of the problem than simply a public relations one.  It seems to indicate a breakdown of morale, stemming from frustration of combat and lack of societal support from home, which could bear bitter fruit.  The last thing the United States needs is more self-hating liberals who tar everyone, but themselves, with the same brush.

The Vietnam debacle is and was overdone in the press and society.  Those soldiers were doing what the country, most of us, wanted.  Oh, today we deny it, but I was there at the time and remember quite well what happened.  The main reason for student outrage was the draft.  Today’s military is purely voluntary and though some deny it, everyone knows what they are signing up to do.  Thank God they do sign up.

Even one atrocity can not be tolerated but it can be put in perspective.

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