|Iraqis pissed at torture scandal|
Every armchair general worth his weight in pretzels knows the value of holding
the high ground in a military situations. Height offers a view of your enemy,
greater range for your weapons, and reduces the enemy's cover. However in this
age of instant replays live from the Baghdad battleground it's easy to forget
that however is just an extension of politics, and moral high ground is even
more important. For some US soldiers clearly forgot this and posed for photos
of themselves torturing Iraqi prisoners. The US has just lost the moral high
ground in Iraq.
Worse than that, the captors are clearly having a good time, with thumbs up
and smiles in front of their naked prisoners, apparently forced to assume
debasing sexual positions. After the failure to find WMDs in Iraq, the US
justification for war fell back to the liberation of Iraq from a torturous,
sadistic and undemocratic ruler - a description which now appears to match the
US occupation. They are even doing it in the same prison which Saddam's jailers
And the UK didn't fare much better as British troops seemed to turn an
apparent friendly competitive spirit with the US into a pissing contest.
War brings out the best and the worst of human nature, and there are
clearly sick and perverted people in every country, and in every army in the
world. The ones in the US army are apparently also stupid. It is astonishing
that the army training didn't prepare these people for this, let them know that
it was stupid, that it was illegal, and that (arguably most importantly), it
puts their colleagues at risk. How many American and British soldiers are
going to be killed as a result of the publication of these images?
The US army is busy court-marshaling the people involved and pointing out
that this is not a common occurrence. They will doubtless will take measures
to try to stop it happening again, but they are pissing against the wind. In
the eyes of the Middle East it is too late. The court-marshals will not be
given serious coverage on Al Jazeera, or other Arab TV stations.
The fight to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people has been lost. The
stick and carrot approach to dealing with foreign powers has failed. The best
that the US can now do is to install their puppet government and leave.
And the Iraqi prisoners? Well this prisoner now knows one more reason to keep
the high ground.