The Wood Shed

You never know what you're going to find in the pile.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Where is the Outrage?

I’ve waited for a week and have yet to see an appropriate reaction out of our media following the torture and gruesome killing of two American POW’s in Iraq. They were tortured and then brutally killed at the hands of their captors. If the situation had been reversed, Americans committing war crimes against Iraqis or even insurgents, the media would still be on the rampage. Apparently crimes committed against our soldiers are not newsworthy yet accusations of criminal behavior by them demand that every talking head with a half-baked opinion pass judgment.

The two soldiers taken captive should have been treated as POW’s under the guidelines of the Geneva Convention. We would expect no less from a civilized foe. Therein lies the problem: we are not at war with a civilized nation, we are not even battling a nation. We are fighting against barbarians who don’t fight under a flag or a uniform, instead they fight for a fundamentalist religion that has not changed since battles were fought with swords and camels. Civilized warfare, a seemingly oxymoronic term to many who are paid handsomely to bring us the news, is the conflict of governments through standing armies and when one force succumbs to the other, the killing stops. Civilized men, moral men value human life even the life of their enemy. When a fighting force lays down its arms because it is outnumbered, out-gunned and the sensible thing to do is to preserve human life, that force is no longer an army. The same applies when you forcibly disarm your opponent. If he is disarmed and held captive he is no longer a threat. Terrorists, insurgents, Muslim guerrillas – whatever label you put on our current opponents – do not adhere to this logic. Their doctrine tells them that the only good infidel is one who has been “struck about the head” (their words, not mine).

I find it very disturbing that the media, our government, and the United Nations have not been more vocal about the criminal loss of these two lives. The same media that has been all too quiet on these murders is ready to crucify our soldiers and marines in an impossibly complex battlefield where mistakes will undoubtedly happen. This is not the beaches of Normandy where anybody on the bluffs is a legitimate target. This is urban conflict against an enemy that chooses to blend in with innocent civilians using them as cover and turning our own moral values against us. We cannot expect our troops to fight a surgical war in this environment knowing in the back of their mind that if they are taken captive they will be tortured and brutally murdered. This type of urban conflict is not laser surgery, it is more like chemotherapy: you hope to kill the bad cells and minimize damage to the good ones yet you know you will lose some good ones in the battle to save the host. What does it say to our enemy when we scrutinize our military so critically and barely mention when they are murdered in captivity?

Indeed, where is the outrage?

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