Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Watching the News

I was watching the CBS Evening News on Saturday. They did a piece in which they visited Allentown, PA and asked people how they felt about what was going on in the Abu Graib prison in Iraq.

One man, who had spent time in Iraq as a contractor, said that he didn't think it was such a big deal (I am paraphrasing.) He said something like, "you have to understand that the troops are under a lot of stress. They're away from home, they don't have much in the way of comforts, and they work very long shifts." Then, referring to the prisoners, he added, "these people are murderers!"

One woman they spoke to said that the events at the prison bothered her because they make Americans look bad.

Another woman pointed out that the soldiers posed for the pictures. She says that if they posed for the pictures, they obviously didn't think they were doing anything wrong.

Another man brought up the incident in Fallujah (I think) where they dragged the bodies of 4 troops through the streets. He said, "So, the prisoners were humiliated, at least they weren't KILLED."

The report went on. In it, there was not ONE SINGLE PERSON who expressed any displeasure that the people in that prison were abused!

IS OUR WHOLE COUNTRY ON DRUGS? Hopefully, it is just these residents of Allentown. Watching that report angered me to the point that I wanted to punch the television!

My disgusted response
First of all, I seriously hope that the rest of the country does not believe that everybody in that prison is a murderer. Some of those people are being held on suspicion. Some of them are being held for crimes which do not include murder. But let's just assume for a moment that all of "those people" (that has quite the racist ring to it) are murderers. AND let's assume that all the troops are under stress. My question is this: SO? If that happened to imprisoned murderers here in the states, would we feel that the treatment was appropriate? (May I remind you that this is the country where murderers get color TV, book deals, and basketball courts...) Hey, I am all about supporting our troops... but not when they treat humans like dogs. Poor little soldier... boo hoo. Sorry you are stressed. I know someone who gets stressed all the time... and he takes it out on his kids. Why is that not okay, but abusing Iraqis is?

I can agree with the fact that this whole thing makes Americans look bad. BUT, if you think that is the most disturbing part of this tragedy, then YOU arae just as guilty of making Americans look bad. To care more about how I look than about how someone else is treated. Disgusting.

Next, THINKING that you are doing something wrong has nothing to do with whether you are ACTUALLY doing something wrong. If those troops didn't know they were doing something wrong, then they are just as stupid as they are cruel. And, why wasn't anyone there to TELL them it was wrong... That tells me that this kind of behavior described the culture within that prison: it was fostered within that group of people (the company? batallion? the entire Army? who knows.)

Finally, the revenge deaths that have occurred on both sides of this war are tragic, and even humiliating. Even today we hear of the American civilian who was beheaded on TV as revenge for the prison abuses. I could easily write 5 more posts on revenge alone. But what kind of amoral response is it to say that a "lesser" crime is okay if it isn't as bad as someone else's? I gotta go Biblical here: People who spew such garbage have absolutely NO understanding of a holy God. Jesus said that anyone guilty of breaking one part of the law is guilty of breaking ALL OF IT. Therefore, dismissing a lesser crime as though it doesn't matter, is ridiculous. They are all sin in God's eyes. He hates it ALL!

The greatest of all the commandments is to Love God above all things and the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself. The whole situation in Iraq wreaks of hate, for both God and man.

The Politics of war in Iraq
Now, it wouldn't be opportunist America if someone didn't try to benefit from this situation. John Kerry's campaign gurus are circulating a petition via e-mail, calling for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. (And, for the record, I think anyone who believes that is necessary should sign such a petition.) If it is good for America (and, oh yeah, Iraq too) that Rumsfeld resign... then it is REALLY good for Kerry. It would give him lots o' leverage against the Republican party. But I, personally, think it is pitiful that such a petition has come from the candidate of an opposing party. If it is the right thing to do, then it should be done sans partisanship. The Kerry campaign hasn't missed that its candidate stands to benefit from the success of this petition. I guess I find myself wishing (again) for the politician to take the high road... in this case, by letting someone else circulate that petition and avoiding even the appearance of using it for his own benefit.

On my mind
Forgiveness. Second maybe only to love, (they're inseperable, aren't they?) How often do the people of this planet think about forgiveness? How often do we choose to do it? The power of forgiveness. Sadly, overlooked.


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