TIME.com: Pattern of Abuse
Hat tip. And another.
The abuse we keep hearing about from Iraq has been a real shock to me.
I was an enlisted Army counterintelligence agent for five years back in the mid-'70's, and clearly remember the training we received on the Geneva Convention. There would have been no excuse for participating in such things, or for failure to report such things. "Following orders," it was stressed over and over and over again, was no excuse. Training on these things was not delivered with winks and nods, either. It was serious and sincere.
Though atrocities occurred back then, too, I'd come forward from that time with the clear impression that the chain of command at least tried to stay on top of things like this.
As little as just two or three years ago I was moved to write a letter to Russia's President Putin to protest the actions of Russian soldiers in Chechnya. One particular story had Chechen people forced to crawl gauntlets of Russian soldiers, who would beat them as they passed. One particular Chechen victim had been partially paralyzed and permanently tortured by a hammer blow to the spine. I was outraged, and the thought of such a thing happening at the hands of American soldiers didn't even cross my mind.
How stupid of me.
Along came Abu Grabass and stories like this, and I am disgusted and ashamed. It's not so much that these things happen as that the command structure seems so clueless. Complicit, even.
I would like to think that the officer class of the US military, being all christian and shit, would have a good handle on things like this, but apparently not.
During my time in the Army I met some of the best people in the world, and some of the worst. The latter seemed vastly outnumbered, though. Now I'm not so sure.