If there are people who are not horrified and outraged by the Abu Ghraib stories, I do not know them. Nor do I want to. I expect that every American should right now be feeling a bit of shame or embarassment to go along with their anger and shock.
Abu Ghraib can and will be compared to many things. Some will misguidedly - or, in Limbaugh's case
, ignorantly - compare it to frat house stunts. I see that as a partisan reach to justify something that deserves no justification.
Some are comparing Abu Ghraib to Nazi Germany, its guards to Hitler and his henchmen.
Hitler marched Jews off to concentration camps, where they were killed because of who they were. Killed
. By the thousands. At least 700,000 were killed in Treblinka alone, and that was just one of several death camps.
I'd say the comparisons to Nazis and Hitler are not only off base, but a blatant attempt to further demonize America and its troops.
Some are comparing Abu Ghraib to My Lai.
In My Lai, over 500 unarmed men, women and children were intentionally massacred. The soldiers went into a village and systematically killed anyone that was standing, including babies and praying women.
Abu Ghraib is not My Lai.
I am not defending the soldiers of Abu Ghraib here. I am not the one comparing the atrocities. I just want to point out why your
comparisons are baseless.
Now, let's put to rest all the talk of the notion that somehow all of our troops are guilty, all of our troops are torturers, rapists and potential child killers that don't care about the people they are supposed to be freeing.
does not seem to fit into that mold. What about Spc. Joe Darby
, who blew the whistle on all the abuse? Not LtCol. McNease
, who recently spread some Spirit of America love around Fallujah. Or Chief Wiggles,
who has done so much for the Iraqi people. There's Smash
, a great defender of freedom and denouncer of prisoner abuse. Try also BlackFive
or Sgt. Hook
For every soldier who deserves a court martial, you will find a thousand soldiers who deserve a medal. Which ones do you want to concentrate on? Which soldiers will your favorite papers/news channels give the most attention to? The few or the proud?
Let's move on to President Bush, our Commander in Chief. He is rightly pissed off at the stories coming out of Abu Ghraib. How you view his anger depends on where you sit. I see it as genuine anger, combined with a genuine sadness over this whole incident. I see his emotions not as reactions to the reactions but as reactions to the acts. There is a difference.
The left sees Bush's anger as something sinister. If he is mad, he's only mad that the pictures got out. He's only mad that the guards got caught. He's only mad because this might make him lose the election. It seems that the left has so demonized Bush they can no longer see him as having any human qualities. In fact, when Bush comforted
the daughter of a victim of 9/11 last week, the left had a field day trying to twist the sentimetnal moment into something sinister. So I suppose it's really not surprising when they doubt Bush's anger towards the Abu Ghraib guards.
I am however, surprised at Kerry's response. The quickness with which he and his campaign staff politicized
this awful story was astounding. They jumped on this as if they had found the magix elixer that would turn Kerry from a contender to a president. I wonder how many Kerry staffers and supporters are secretly rubbing their hands in glee over the Abu Ghraib scandal? You don't think it's likely? Oh, don't go and give me that how dare you
. You, the people who think that Bush giving someone a hug is a political manuever.
Here's how to tell the difference between moderates (be they Republican or Democrat or otherwise) and those on the fringes of everything:
The left fringe people are dancing in the streets, raising their arms in jubilation because this whole torture scandal means bigger numbers for Kerry. They are calling for impeachment and calling for heads rather than trying to find a way to fix this thing or punish the actual perpetrators, who are, last I checked, adults and responsible for their own actions. Well, what do you expect from the same group of people who think it's McDonald's fault that people are fat? They are comparing Bush to Hitler and Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz and using the word massacre
wontonly. Above all, Abu Ghraib is a victory for them. Even though they won't come out and say it, it's in their words and phrases.
The right fringe are justifying Abu Ghraib. They compare the prison with that of Saddam's prisons. They compare it to frat parties and juvenile stunts. They make claims of stress and poor guidance. They dismiss the use of the word torture
and make light of the situation by cracking bad jokes about Iraqi prisoners. Some even cheer the abuse. They also see this as a loss; not a loss for America's fight to maintain it's good name, not as a loss for Iraqi dignity and American pride, not as a loss for the war we are waging against evil in the Middle East; no, they see it as a November loss.
If you look at Abu Ghraib and cannot see it any other terms but what it means for November, then you do not understand what the war is about. You do not understand that this war, and this scandal, will reach far beyond your own backyard.
I am sorry for the Iraqis that suffered under the hands of American soldiers. I look at those pictures and I want to cry. Humiliation is a terrible weapon to wield. It has a bigger impact on a person than a knife cut or bullet wound. And the humiliation of these Iraqis will have a much bigger impact on America and the war in Iraq - even the war to save ourselves - than you think.
As a nation, we are taking responsibility for our actions. That is a good thing. Yet for some, it is not enough. Nothing short of an impeachment - or maybe a public beheading of Rumsfeld - will be enough. I don't understand the mind set of people who put the needs and wants of their own political agenda above that of country. Your first debt is to your country. The country that gives you freedom, the country that lets you say what you want, when you want, the country that allows you to break into a Senate hearing and shout down the Secretary of Defense and you live to tell about it, the country where you live, work, play and protest - that country deserves your respect if for no other reason than the rights you have to not
respect it. The right thing to do right now is obvious.
The wrong to to do is this: give the enemy ammunition. By making this a partisan story - and I'm talking to both the Rushes and the Ralls out there - you are doing a great disservice to the country that harbors you. By making this war about nothing but Abu Ghraib, all day, all night - and I'm talking to both the Reuters and Fox people and everyone in between - you are doing a great disservice to the great many soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq who want nothing more than to give freedom to an oppressed people.
Make no mistake, our nation is in a crisis right now. Our standing with the Arab community and, within that, our standing with radical, jihad crazed Muslims is at stake. We need to find some common ground or we will fail in this crisis. Failure means more terrorism, more death. Failure means a halt to the push for world peace. Failure in this crisis, right here, right now, does not bode well for our future.
When a nation is in crisis, it's people need to come together. Unfortunately, we have gone way past the point where that is possible now. But we need to find something, anything to agree on here, something that shows the rest of the world that we can act in concert, we can pull together for the sake of our country because if we don't, it certainly looks like we don't respect America and how can we expect our enemies to respect us when we are constantly making a mockery of ourselves?
The common ground is this: Abu Ghraib is a blight on this war. We must punish those responsible and by that I mean those that held the weapons, those that uttered the commands, those that took the pictures, those that were in the pictures. We must roundly denounce the actions of a few yet praise the actions of many at the same time. We must not call for heads to roll, we must not spit in the face of our president while a war wages and while our enemies are gathering force against us, using Abu Ghraib as another notch in their hate America suicide belt.
Yes, I know. I'm grasping at straws and talking out of my ass and living in a dream world. But remember, I'm not asking liberals to vote for Bush. I'm not asking Freepers to kiss a liberal on the mouth. I don't want you stop writing about how much you hate Ann Coulter or how much you hate Ted Rall (obviously, aimed at self
). America affords us the opportunity to do that and not really incur any damage from it. But the subject of Abu Ghraib - it's different. I'm asking that we take a long, hard look at what's at stake here and act appropriately.
Now, if I could just figure out what that appropriate action should be.
Day by Day by Chris Muir