Like everyone, I’m absolutely disgusted by the pictures of Iraqis being tortured by US forces. One of the things that disguishes our military is its discipline, and this was a horrendous breech of military discipline. As LT Smash eloquently notes:
THE UGLY TRUTH of warfare is that there are no “knights in shining armor” who will always fight for Good. Evil lurks deep in the hearts of all men, and it doesn’t care what flag you wear on your sleeve. We are most vulnerable when we suffer under the burden of tremendous stress – but the ultimate responsibility to resist Evil lies with every individual.
Our soldiers sometimes do horrible things. Disgusting things. Cruel things.
When they do, we must not hide from the truth. Those repsonsible must be identified, prosecuted, and punished appropriately. There must be a public accounting for these crimes.
Because we are a civilized society, we must never give in to the temptation to brush aside such atrocities as “the way things are in war.” For if we fail in this responsibility, we will ultimately become no better than those we are fighting.
And that would be the greatest tragedy of all.
As far as I’m concerned, the military should make an example of these people – let the Iraqis try them. They committed crimes against the Iraqi people, and they should face Iraqi justice. This wasn’t a legitimate response against an attacker or an unfortunate case of collateral damage – this was simple sadism. Let them spend some time in an Iraqi jail – if they want to act like terrorists, they deserve to be treated like them.