The Salon II

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Are you kidding me!?!?!

EVery once and a while, I read a story online that is - to me - so outrageous, that it makes me jump out of my shoes. Today, it was this particular story:
BBC NEWS | Americas | Ethics lessons for US Iraq troops:

"US-led troops in Iraq are to undergo ethical training in the wake of the alleged murder of civilians in Haditha.

For the next 30 days, they will receive lessons in 'core warrior values', a military statement said.

Correspondents say Haditha, where US marines are suspected of massacring up to 24 Iraqi civilians, could have a huge effect on US public opinion.

The Iraqi prime minister has condemned the suspected massacre, adding he would conduct his own investigation"

Are you kiding me? Does the United States government, the great professional lecturer on human rights worldwide, have its head so far down in the sand, that it cannot even own up properly to its own (well its soldiers') misdeeds? Talk about a double standard!!

Let us, for a second imagine a case where Saddam Hussein's troops committed some massacre in Kuwait; and now let us imagine that our friend Saddam would come out and say that he recognizes that there is a bit of an issue, and that his soldiers would go through sensitivity training, or an ethics review course. Do you know how fast the United States would be outraged?

Why is it that the United States government is so blind to the common human nature of their soldiers. Why is it that the United States refuses to admit that its soldiers, like soldiers everywhere, sometimes let their position of total military supremacy get to their head? Is it a resurgence of the concept of "manifest destiny"? In other words, American soldiers are so much better morally than the rest of us heathens, and there are such exemplary human beings, that they could never commit massacres on purpose.

This was an attitude very much prevalent during the Vietnam war, and this is what led to John Kerry getting so much flac for denouncing their actions there. The US government is so blindly protective of its own soldiers, that they opposed the International Criminal Court, because they were scared that their soldiers would be judged unfairly, by anyone but Americans. The underlying assumption here, seems to be that US soldiers never really misbehave, and that the ICC would just invent charges to hurt the US' image.

Really? After Abu-Ghraib and the sham of a trial that ensued, which saw some lowly soldiers be reprimanded, and no officers even threatened, we can easily understand why the US wants to judge its own soldiers. But it is not surprising really. The United States has for a long time accustomed us to double standards: between Cubans and Haitians at the US border, between Hugo Chavez and the Saudi Royal family (and we can see which of the two is more democratic), between Arab and Jewish Palestinians... sorry, between Israelis and Palestinians, etc.

To this list the Bush administration has added double standards between Black and White New-Orleanians after Katrina, between conservative and liberal faith-based initiatives, between Muslim (even the legitimate ones) and Christian faith-based initiatives, and apparently - although this particular one, I have no independent confirmation, between conservative and liberal churches when it comes to IRS assessments of non-profit status compliance. Should I continue? No I think I have made my point.

Ethics training? I wish Kim Jong Il could say that he was going to give ethics training to his troops, and the officials in his regime. Does the US government realize that it has lost so much credibilty in the International arena, that such a statement is given as little credence as "Baghdad Bob"?

Ethics training? Are you kidding me?


  • It's not the soldiers who need ethics training first and foremost, it's their commander-in-chief.

    By Blogger Brian, at 7:16 AM  

  • Amen to that, brother!

    By Blogger TheMalau, at 7:26 AM  

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