Thursday, December 20, 2007

following orders

Enemy Combatant

Do you know what bothers me about this picture?

It's not just that this poor bastard is about to have his testicles torn off by dogs.
It's not just the abject fear you can read in his semi-crouched posture.
It is that those are American soldiers standing there doing that to him.
Soldiers who will one day come home and have to reintegrate into our society.
What are we turning our boys into that they have become capable of that?

Oh of course, how silly of me! Nobody wants to do that. I'm sure not even one of them enjoy doing that. None of them get hopped up on the power tripping nature of absolute authority. Oh no. Surely not. They're just following orders.

Let me address this from a different angle.

What if Hitler had won the war? Would the Nuremberg Trials still have taken place? When does "following an order" become a war crime? When does the willful harming of an unarmed individual become morally acceptable? How long does said willful harming of an unarmed individual remain morally acceptable?

That person standing there could be you or one you love. It could be your next door neighbor Rahzim who delivers pizza at night and goes to the community college during the day, who wouldn't harm a fly, but who was picked up for suspicion of being an enemy combatant.

Who are those people standing around him? Do you want your brother, spouse or son to be capable of doing that? What kind of psychological damage does it do to a person to be turned into an instrument of torture? When does a person stop being an enemy combatant and start being a person again?


Bob said...

Those people standing around may just be garden variety sociopaths, occurring 5.8 percent in males and 1.2 percent in females (per wiki). It's just another mental disorder. What turns my stomach is that their capacity is systematically applied by the military and other control systems and supposedly in our name and on our watch, which says something about what we are a part of.

Richard said...

Does it say "something about what we are a part of" or does it say that some do not understand what "we" are and ought to be?

It seems like a minor difference, but the former denigrates all Americans, their Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, whereas the latter identifies the fact that, out of 330 million people, there are many who do not understand what America is supposed to be.

Fiery said...

Bob- welcome to my blog! The question that bothers me, is "Is the military responsible for the creation of more sociopaths? Or just lucky in finding and recruiting the 5.8% males and 1.2% females?"

The so called "war on terror" is an exercise in idiocy. Torturing anyone for information to further the cause of idiocy is more idiocy.

When reality doesn't conform to the principle, then acting on that principle is a denial of reality.

Tommy said...

While some on the right try to downplay Abu-Ghraib (Rush Limbaugh comparing it to a fraternity prank, for example), what went on there filtered out to the Iraqi pople. It damaged our moral standing in their eyes.