A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

31 May 2006

At Odds With the Nag

I have a slight difference of opinion with Nag's take on the misery of Haditha.
Haditha is an atrocity. And the soldiers who committed the crime need to pay for it. But this does not make what took place there typical.

Most damning, though, is Nag's statement that:"These young soldiers were doing exactly as they were trained to do, namely kill Iraquis".

There is no doubt that soldiers are trained to kill. The definition of a military professional would have to include the application of political will by violence. However, no Western military actually teaches its soldiers to kill any one nationality or group.

To say so is to deprive of their humanity the vast number of doughboys who are just doing a thoroughly unpleasant job in Iraq.

To say so takes the responsibility for the murders away from the men who lost their control, forgot what they were trained to do, and did something shameful.

To say so takes the horror and outrage from Haditha by alleging that this is a routine event. The very fact of its enormous impact lets us know it's not.

If the American soldiers had been what are delicately called "insurgents", there would have been no outrage. That doesn't make the murders right, but perhaps it's important to remember that the "insurgents" are never brought to book for their suicide bombings, their massacres, and their inter-sectarian atrocities.

Most Iraqi victims in Iraq, at least since the formation of the interim government, have been killed by Iraqis. And I'm not seeing the same scale of anger against them.

That's because among the Americans, a massacre is considered repugnant, abhorrent, the act of cowards and thugs.

Among their opponents it's just business as usual.

And that's worth remembering.


At 12:56 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this was no abberation and they were doing what they were trained to do, there would be NO investigation OR court-martial.
You and I both know that soldiers are NOT trained to be mindless killers. We also know that extreme cases like this do sometime occur and are not considered normal or acceptable. When these men are in an enviroment where anybody else at any time is a potential threat to their lives, they can over-react with horrible results.
This whole thing is very much like Vietnam and similar things happened there - they just didn't get the same press coverage.



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