The airwaves have been soaked with the news accompanied by those “pictures” — pictures of American soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners.
To be honest, I don't see why everyone is so shocked about this. Not to defend these morons who weren't smart enough to get out of the army, but what do we really expect? Even though I don't believe this is a war, but what do we expect in a “situation” like this? I'm sure somebody will put an appropriate name on this “action” later. Like “police action”!
When I was in college, I worked for a carpet-cleaning outfit. Few years into my “career”, we hired a guy to help. He was tall, very skinny, and about 43. He had long hair and wore a mustache and beard. Your typical “Harley Dude”, if you know what I mean. He was actually kind of scary.
Having a bit of seniority, I pulled my boss aside and asked him, “What the hell man?” He smiled and said that he was a Vietnam Vet, couldn't get a job anywhere and as a favor to an old buddy, he decided to hire him. Now, my boss was not known to be a giver, but I didn't say anything. I much would have rather have young girls working with me, like he had always hired, but what the heck.
It made me quite uneasy though. It was right in the middle of the hostage crisis. I was a known Iranian in a small town, as White as America can get. The small town in Kansas had a population of about 25,000, which about 5,000 were students of the university and out of the 5,000, about 10 had dark hair and skin, excluding our basketball and football teams.
I started training the new guy in the “art” of carpet cleaning. He was good and picked things up quickly. I started talking to him and found out that he was actually a former member of the Special Forces, a “Green Beret”, as he called himself. This was as “Rambo” as they came. The more I found out about what he and his type of SF did in Vietnam, the scarier it got.
He would tell me that his unit would kill indiscriminately. Whatever and whoever stood in their way, including regular American soldiers, would be destroyed for the good of the mission.
He would tell me how they sat huts on fire and would shoot anyone trying to get out. He would tell me that he still hears the screams of the Vietnamese trying to escape the burning hut. However, it was funny that he would say these with a kind of a smirk.
He said that they would ask for R&R, which I didn't and don't know what it means in the army, and when they would be denied, they would go out and take it out on the locals by beating them, hanging them, or whatever it felt right.
One commanding officer told them if they want R&R, they have to kill so many North Vietnamese and to prove they had, they must bring back their ears. Actually ears for men killed and breasts for women. So many pairs of ears and breasts equaled so many days off.
I would listen to these stories while we cleaned people's homes. They would frighten me, for the most part, but mostly they made me hate war and the ever presence of America in almost every single one in the past century.
I don't know if this guy was telling the truth or not, and for the most part, I discounted his tails. But as I got older, the books I read, the articles I have come across and some of the movies and documentaries that have come out of Vietnam, make this guy look very good.
I recently met a young woman on the plane from Vegas to LA. She said she was writing a short story about her childhood in Cambodia. We talked for a brief moment about her incredible childhood and what she saw as a 7-year-old girl in Cambodia. I told her about my soldier-friend and she told me that wasn't half of what happened in the region.
I don't know what makes a man, a soldier, who thinks he's “defending” his country over 10,000 miles away from his “country”, do what he does. I don't know why for the past five decades America had to get involved in just about every unrest in every corner of the world. She sure hasn't missed a good war!
All I know is that most soldiers think that when bullets are flying anything goes. Raping a woman or in case of our proud Marines, “man”, is ok. Taking another human being's dignity is all right, while you're invading their land.
But it does happen. Iraqis did the same in Kuwait. Kuwaitis have been doing it to Filipinos. I am sure Iranians did it to Iraqis and they returned the favor during Iran-Iraq war, in which Americans had a role!
These may be a tough pill to swallow when it comes to human behavior in certain circumstances, but there is only one thing that makes all the other war atrocities different from what the American soldiers were doing in that notorious Baghdad prison.
Neither one of the mentioned countries above had ever claimed to be “PEACE KEEPERS” while raping and torturing the one's they were invading. None of them, I'm pretty sure, were ever claiming to be bringing them “freedom” while attaching them to electrical wires and making naked human pyramids out of them!
This huge misspelling of “Hypocrisy” that is being shoved down our throats and now the Iraqis must be corrected. Mr. President, the word is “Democracy”, which means social equality. The other one, which is the one you are practicing, as your forefathers did, means insincerity, double standard, pretense, and two-faced. I'm sure you know where each of these meanings fit perfectly with what you have been saying to the Iraqi people and what your soldiers are doing to Iraqi people.