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Three score and ten or more

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I am not a military historian, nor even much of a military participant like
exMI, but I have just been watching the news, and the latest news is that a tv reporter from Australia is marketing a videotape that shows U.S. soldiers cremating a couple of Taliban soldiers who had been killed in a firefight, then taunting (with loudspeakers, if I understood correctly) other tribesmen to come down and try to get the remains.

I find my self angry on two levels: First, soldiers should be smart enough and ethical enough not to do actions that are in opposition to U.S. and joint command policy, as well as, probably, against the Geneva convention. Second, (and I am even more angry about this) that U.S. soldiers are stupid enough to do such actions in the presence of someone who is carrying a videocamera and shooting pictures. This action (and there is the possibility, from the pictures I saw on TV that the pictures could be of someone barbecuing a goat) if it happened as described, had to involve, at least, junior officers in the unit.

Officers, especially, should know better than to break policy, at all, and should certainly know better than to break it on camera. I have been pretty sanguin about the results of the Abu Graive (sp.?) investigations and the results that concluded with the conclusion (I know, redundant) that most of the problems were the results of the actions of lower grade, relatively inexperienced soldiers because an experienced solder, especially since every soldier has been told that you are not even allowed to photograph prisoners at all, would be smart enough not to take incriminating pictures and email them to their friends. The actions of the troops and their leaders in this recent report make you wonder. My basic though probably futile hope is that the thing goes back to the barbecuing a goat theory.


At 10:16 PM, Blogger Super Hip GMa said...

I sincerely hope as you do that this latest news ends up being a goat barbecue. This on top of Abu Graib is enough to break a person’s heart. I respect our military over all and wish they did not have to make the sacrifices asked of them. Inexperienced or not, they should realize they are supposed to be representing their country in this fight. May this be the last that we hear of this type of behavior. I like to think of our men in uniform as being honorable men. If we can’t hold ourselves up as an example of how to treat people, how can we ask it of other nations. (As Forrest Gump’s mom said, “stupid is as stupid does”)

At 5:14 AM, Blogger exMI said...

It isn't a goat BBQ. It is a combination of two events.
1. Soldiers were told to burn two bodies that had been killed the day before near their base camp becasue they were beginging to stink and frankly, having dead bodies lying around is unhealthy.
2. A Psyop unit therer decided to make the most of this oportunity to get some digs in at the local Talibs. (this is after all what they do) From what I know of Afghans this really wouldn't excite anyone except the guys it was supposed to annoy, the fundamentalists. Unfortunetly since it has become public now the Afghan govt is forced to take a stand and the US Govt, instead of saying, it sis war and stuff happens, will sacrifice two or three good soldiers to the expediency of press relations.


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