By Michael Reagan
May 06, 2004
The price we are paying for this sad chapter in our military history will be calculated in American lives lost along with the good will the nation has earned over the years as a result of our being in the forefront in the struggle for human rights.
As a result of the inexcusable behavior of these men and women, we are now being forced to stand before the world accused of actions we have condemned when done by others. In the very same notorious prison where Saddam Hussein's henchmen inflicted the most unspeakable tortures on their fellow Iraqis, members of our armed forces subjected Iraqi detainees to humiliating treatment that involved both torture and threatened rape.
With insurrections against coalition forces increasing in both numbers and violence, when all our attention should be focused on the need to enlist the Iraqi people in the struggle against the murderous Islamic thugs killing coalition soldiers and Marines and their fellow Iraqis, the U.S. is being forced to defend itself against charges of inhuman conduct directed against helpless prisoners.
As a result of the growing scandal and the accusations that the U.S. is conducting a war not against terrorists but instead against Middle Eastern Muslims we have been forced into a position by just 13 soldiers where:
That the entire scandal is being overblown by the media, much of it clearly motivated by their anti-Bush sentiments, does not of course diminish the guilt of those who were involved. But it needs to be made clear that when the first allegations of torture and mistreatment surfaced, the Army launched a thorough investigation of the whole sordid affair and has made public the results of that probe.
The details are more than merely shocking. According to Major General Antonio M. Taguba, who headed the investigation, they included such outrages as threatening detainees with loaded automatics, beating detainees with a broom handle and threatening male detainees with rape. According to Gen. Taguba, the offenses were "intentionally perpetrated" by several members of the 372nd Military Police Company at the Abu Ghraib Prison.
These poorly trained soldiers, the General reported, were acting under instructions by military intelligence operatives conducting prisoner interrogations to "soften up" the prisoners and make them more cooperative during interrogations.
The fact that must not be overlooked is that the Army moved quickly to deal with the problem and made no attempts at a cover-up.
If there is a bright side in
this picture it is that the Iraqis and the entire Muslim world
will be able to see that when confronted with offenses committed
by our own people, the United States wastes no time in identifying,
trying and punishing the guilty - unlike the failure of their
own governments to come clean when similar or worse offenses
are committed by their people.
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