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The World’s Oldest Hobby

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If the world’s oldest profession is prostitution, then the oldest hobby must be the abuse of power. Or maybe it’s adopting the mob mentality. They often go hand-in-hand, I guess.

So I don’t know why I’m surprised at the story and photos of the American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. But I am. I had heard the story — when was that, a few months ago? — that allegations had been made. But I think I either forgot about it or buried it in my brain’s denial cavity, because I only had a vague recollection of it when the story broke again this week.

I guess I like to think that we really ARE the good guys. That our military does the right thing, even when faced with people who are doing the wrong thing to them or people they know.

Hauntingly Familiar

All the photos are offensive, and even bizarre at some level: they remind me of fraternity and football hazing incidents I’ve read about, including one in neighboring NH about two years ago. In that story, a freshman football player returned from summer football camp telling his parents how he’d been sexually abused and humiliated. The “antics” involved anal penetration and “tea-bagging”. So this Iraqi stuff has a familiar, uncomfortable, “the adults are away and we’re in charge for the first time, so let’s abuse somebody” ring.

The photos of the female American soldier especially disturb me. It’s just hard for me to understand how a woman would find sexual assault and humiliation funny, since women are so often the targets of it. You’d think she’d be more tuned in to how much of a violation it is. But I guess the mob mentality kicked in for her, too.

I realize that soldiers in a combat zone have to develop some level of hatred for “the enemy.” Otherwise, how could they do what they have to do? How could they kill other human beings? I’ve heard stories, some told by an uncle, of how in WWII, American soldiers just had a blind hatred for German and Japanese soldiers. They needed the hatred to survive. At least they had Pearl Harbor and the Final Solution to work with. I’m not sure what our soldiers today are using for fuel.

You Gotta Do Better Than THAT

I am sure the military is nothing without its rules and regulations. There’s a procedure for everything, isn’t there? So I’m not buying the explanation that the soldiers hadn’t read the Geneva Convention before being assigned to the prison. I haven’t read it either, but somehow I know that forcing prisoners to simulate sex acts or otherwise humiliating and abusing them physically is just wrong and violates SOME rule or another. Obviously, at least one soldier knew it was wrong, because he reported it.

And I had to laugh at Ann Clwyd, Tony Blair’s envoy. After stating she was shocked by the photos, she added that the Americans acted badly, but hey, they’re no Saddam Hussein:

A small number of cases, horrible though they are — you cannot compare that with the tens of thousands of people Saddam Hussein was responsible for executing and torturing.

Yes, I’m sure those Iraqi prisoners feel much better now that they’re being tortured by Americans instead of their own leader. Lucky for us, Hussein raised the torture bar pretty damn high, so our boys and girls over there have a lot of work to do before they can catch up to him.

Broken Chain?

The situation makes me wonder about the chain of command at the prison. I would think that someone, somewhere up that chain knew what was going on and either ordered it, condoned it, or turned a blind eye to it. The question then becomes: How prevalent is that attitude?

Of course, there will be no convincing anyone in the Middle East that this is an isolated incident, or that these soldiers don’t represent the entire American military or even us civilians. So I’m sure this little PR event won’t slow down the “insurgents,” nor will it reduce the percentage of Iraqi citizens who want us out of there immediately.

Unfortunately, this handful of soldiers put their comrades in more danger by gift wrapping more “justification” for Arab/Muslim/Iraqi hatred of us. Let’s just say it’s not going to help us win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Or any of their neighbors.

I’m sure the people at home who know those American soldiers are shocked that they’re involved in an incident like this. But to a certain extent, it’s to be expected. But why is it part of human nature to gang up on the weak and to abuse power?

[Sorry for the rambling post. I just wrote and that’s what came out.]
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About bhw

  • Nick Jones
  • Eric Olsen

    When you put in URL’s, please make them actual links so we don’t get these longs strings of letters and numbers that skew the page. Thanks.

  • Nick Jones

    I don’t know how, Eric. Point me to the instructions.

  • Nick Jones

    Make that “Please point me to the instructions”.

  • Eric Olsen

    since, ironically, using the code to show you how to write the code makes the code not show up on the page, the easiest way to get it is to ckick on “view” in your toolbar above this page. Then click on “source” – this will show you all the code on this page. Scroll down about 1/4 of the way down until you come to “Top Posters.” My name is the first one. compare the code surrounding my name with the way it comes out in the sidebar with my name underlined in blue: that is the link code and any words that appear inside the code where my name does will be the link underlined in blue.

  • Nick Jones

    Oh dear…what code is that? HTML? XML? Java? I’ve saved the Notepad view of the source code so I can study it before I make an attempt to use any of it. Rather intimidating-looking.

  • Eric Olsen

    it’s html, ignore everything other than the “Top Posters” section where you can compare the code with the way it comes out

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    HTML is worse than Spanish.

    At least after three years of high school Espanol, I am still able to tell a Puerto Rican to “suck my dick” in his language.

    But a semester of HTML left me with the ability to make words in bold or in italics. And that’s about it…

    (And I got an “A”!)

  • Nick Jones

    Here’s hoping I don’t screw this up.

    The Brits were doing it too.

  • Eric Olsen

    Excellent Nick, thanks – you are now proficient in html.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Nice comment, RJ. Why in the world would you post that here?

  • Eric Olsen

    It’s my fault: I asked Nick – AND EVERYONE ELSE – to make their URLs actual links so the pages don’t get all distended. RJ was responding to that.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    My response was to this: “I am still able to tell a Puerto Rican to ‘suck my dick’ in his language.”

    I don’t mind the stuff about HTML. I guess RJ just can’t stop himself from revealing his ignorance.

  • pissmypants

    Those are the funniest pictures I ever saw. Those big fat Iraqi asses climbing all over each other sweaty. Ha ha

    The Iraqis love gay porn and man love!
    A real rainbow nation !!!!!

    LONG LIVE THE GAY SEX IRAQIS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  • http://www.jackejett.com jack e. jett

    mr/ms. piss-pants:

    sounds like you are kind of getting off on these photos.

    you are certainly entitled to this belief. however, i would be careful using the term “asses” when ending a post with ha ha ha etc.

    jack