Let's stand here in the middle of the road for a moment, where people are rational and thoughts are based in common sense.
make me sick. After all our talk about winning hearts and minds, after all our posturing about saving Iraqis from torture and rape, what were these people thinking as they committed these heinous acts? Not only perpetrating the acts, but videotaping them, as if it were some frat boy stunt that would get them laughs at the next keg party.
Left or right, Democrat or Republican, the one thing rational people can agree on here is that the people responsible for the torture must be held accountable and be made to pay the full penalty allowed under law, including death should that photo of the dead Iraqi prove to be of a person who died at the hands of these soldiers.
I specifically say "under law" because that is what America is about. Due process. Laws. Crimes being punished. What the soldiers in those photos did went against every one of those concepts. They became the enemy. And, if you paid attention to your mother when you were little, you would know that two wrongs do not make a right. In fact, adding wrong to wrong makes everything worse.
These men and women, small a group as they may be, have cheapened our efforts in Iraq. They have also committed a form of treason, in that they gave aid and comfort to our enemy by providing them with propaganda material that will fuel Arab hatred towards us for years to come. The result of the photos will be much more than head shaking, finger pointing and "you are just like them" accusations. The result will be heard in the forms of bombs and blasts and many more dead Americans. Should a terrorist attack happen on American soil and these photos are referenced as basis for the attack, then those soldiers will be responsible for the deaths incurred. Should our troops be attacked, ambushed, killed, tortured and their bodies paraded around like party balloons, those soldiers will be responsible.
The few moments of juvenile, scornful glee they got from demeaning those Iraqi prisoners will have repurcussions the soldiers never gave thought to.
And that's the view from the middle, where sane and reasonable people meet.
Should we venture to the far side of the street - go left or right, it doesn't matter - the sanity and reason start to shred. The farther you walk, the less comfortable you feel.
On the far left, you have the people who think this torture is a good thing, because it will make Bush's ratings go down. To paraphrase and sum up what the view from this side of the road is:
* Yess! Now we can just wait for Kerry's numbers to go up. Bush is so dead!
* This is the way all soldiers are. These guys were just stupid enough to tape it.
* All those women prisoners are being raped by U.S. soldiers every day. How can we logically conclude anything else?
* This is how soldiers have always viewed brown skinned people.
* This is worse than anything Saddam ever did. Let's just open our own torture chambers!
* The orders to do this stuff came from high up.
* They will get away with it because the Bush ass kissers will justify the action and demand that the charges - whatever they may be - be dropped.
* This is worse than 9/11. I hope there is another 9/11 just to prove that you reap what you sow
* These people are representative of all U.S. and British soldiers.
* They were really Halliburton mercenaries.
Yep, that's the far left, who look at the tapes and see a moment of victory.
Now, let's cross the street again and head over to the far right. To paraphrase and sum up:
* There are no bad soldiers, this is made up
* It's a conspiracy by the left, someone staged the whole thing to discredit our soldiers
* This can't be true, so al Jazeera must have made the whole thing up
* They were only doing what the Iraqis did to their own people
* The prisoners probably deserved it
* Man, I wish I was there to join in
* The Arabs made up the whole thing just to have an excuse to terrorize us again
* Oh, like Kerry didn't torture people in Vietnam
Most people will look at this and say, so what? These are fringe people. Ignore them.
But the fringe can no longer be ignored. Thanks to the wonders of the internet and other technological marvels that can spread information faster than you can say Conspiracy!
, the fringes are now being heard loud and clear. And if we are hearing them, then the radical Arabs are hearing them. And both sides will add something to their already poisonous mix of hatred, ignorance and violence that has been stirring for years. The far left will give them the strength and encouragement needed to proceed with their jihad, knowing that there are Americans who might very well cheer when their terrorist acts are set in motion. The far right will give them all the ammunition and evidence they need to bolster their beliefs that Americans are egocentric elitists who believe they can do no wrong.
The big problem, as I see it, is that nobody is paying attention to us folks here in the middle of the road. Those who seek revenge for these acts of torture will only look to the left or the right for their encouragement and/or evidence.
We are Americans and, as thus, we follow American rules, which tend to be civil. There are always going to be a few who won't play by the rules and it's usually those few that get the most press.
Of course, this all should get press. The soldiers in those photos should have their faces plastered on the front page of every newspaper around the world. They should be made examples of. And, because we are Americans, they will be found, prosecuted and made to pay for their actions. That's a good thing but, for some, it's not enough. For those who already hated us and now have turned that hatred up a notch, the soldiers pictured in those photos represent all Americans and, as such, America and its people must suffer. And we will. I truly believe that we will. I will, in advance, blame the guilty soldiers for any terrorist attacks that happen here in the near future, just as I will blame them for any ambush or attack our troops suffer today. It doesn't matter whether these attacks had already been planned; I am sure that many Arabs, looking at these photos today, will have a familiar phrase running through their heads today: Faster, please.
And the funny thing is, we all suffer. Far left, far right, somewhere in the middle, we all end up victims eventually as long as we keep giving the radical Muslims fuel for their fire. It won't matter whether you stood behind them or railed against them, either way we are pretty much screwed. All of us.
We can thank a few bad apples for making the next attack on US troops possible. We can thank the far left for cheering the Arabs on as their hatred rises and we can thank the far right for for their continued denial that there is such a thing as a bad American. We can thank every soldier who took part in the torture session. We can thank the US media for focusing on this in such a way that they make the stench of the guilty men and women permeate the entire armed forces.
I abhor what was done to those Iraqi prisoners. But I also abhor what was done to the very same people under Saddam's regime. I abhor the fact that thousands of people have come out of the woodwork to denounce these actions and (rightfully) vilify the soldiers who committed them, but failed to make so much as a peep while Saddam was torturing, killing, maiming and raping. And I abhor those who are justifying the torture and abuse of the Iraq prisoners while lashing out against Saddam's bullies for the very same thing.
Look in the mirror, everyone. How many faces do you see?