Please bear with me as I organize my thoughts, here... So much has been said - and said well - already on other blogs that I read (Exultate Justi, Brutally Honest, and La Shawn Barber's Corner, to name a few) that I don't want to rehash the outrage about the murder of Nick Berg, or the media's relentless coverage and the liberal left's politicizing of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse.
On the radio this morning, we heard an interview with a gentleman from the Christian Peacemaker Team regarding their recent report on the prisoner abuse situation, as well as their concerns about general mistreatment of Iraqi citizens by our troops. Hubby-head got angry. We've heard too much in the last 24-hours-plus by people who feel that the prisoner abuse scandal justifies the brutal execution of an American civilian at the hands of terrorists. We've heard too much in recent days about the wrongs perpetrated on the Abu Ghraib detainees by our troops. It's all been politicized and shoved down our throats and we're being told that we've lost our moral right to be in Iraq anymore, if we ever had one to begin with.
I don't want to get into the "who is worse" thing - it's obvious to those who look at it rationally that the terrorists' actions throughout this war - from the attacks on 9/11 to the atrocities at Fallujah to the videotaped beheading of an innocent American - have been evils that far outweigh the abuse and humiliation perpetrated by a few American soldiers.
I don't want to get into speculation on how far up the chain of command their orders came from. Think of the movie "A Few Good Men" for a moment, and the lesson Dawson and Downey learned at the end. It didn't matter that they could prove they were ordered to perform the "code red" - the court martial found that they shared some of the blame for Santiago's death even though they were just following orders. I know I've never been in the military, so it's easy for me to say this - but I truly believe it would be better for a soldier to face charges of insubordination for refusing to carry out an unjust and immoral order than to stifle their conscience and then be brought to justice for carrying it out. There are probably all kinds of reasons why I am wrong on that statement. Some of you that I agree with on pretty much every issue may even be able to convince me why that's a stupid thing to say - it was, after all, based on a movie plot.
But whether the soldiers at Abu Ghraib did what they did on their own, or on orders from their superiors, the fact is that they should have known better as human beings. Shouldn't they? What do we really expect from our troops?
We expect our soldiers to represent the United States of America to the rest of the world. Somehow I'm afraid that we're expecting them to reflect a standard of morality and honor and decency that hasn't been present in this society in over 30 years.
How do we expect them to show courtesy and decency to the citizens of a country who has been ruled by a hostile dictator for longer than most of them have been alive, when we back at home can't show courtesy to our own neighbors... or our own families?
How can we expect them to be respectful of any religion when the liberals and the ACLU have spent the last 40 years trying to eradicate from public forums any trace of the religion our country was founded on?
How do we ask them to adhere to a code of ethics and morality that has been abandoned by our culture and ridiculed in the media?
How can we expect them to uphold the rule of law when they were raised in a society where many laws are never enforced, where the average citizen figures they'll ignore the traffic laws and drive however they want (as long as they get away with it), and where, if you have enough money for a high-powered attorney, you can get away with literally anything?
How do we expect them to be motivated by concepts such as honor, and to refrain from stealing and looting and breaking rules for their personal gain, when our whole culture is all about getting rich quick, with a minimum of effort, and God forbid that we should be troubled by such a pesky thing as a conscience?
How do we ask them to have respect for life itself when we at home are so sharply divided by the question of whether an unborn life has any value whatsoever?
Do we really think that these soldiers are better people than the rest of our society? That they've somehow been raised in this atmosphere and risen above it to become some kind of super-American, with a more evolved character and higher moral fiber?
I know that most of the people who read this weblog on a regular basis are either Christian or politically conservative (or both), and those who are neither but stick with me anyway are compassionate, intelligent people who care about their fellow man. We want the soldiers who are out there representing the American people to the rest of the world to be ... the kind of people we are.
Truthfully, I think we want America itself to be something better than it currently is.
All that said, the hubby-head and I are considering joining Nick in his "Operation Get the Good News Out" campaign. We've got some good men and women out there, who are representing America the way we want to be represented to the world, and the media isn't giving us jack squat to be proud of. Go see Nick and sign up, folks.