April 29th, 2004

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Thankful Thursday

1. For taking the C# class which made me a lot less afraid of code.
2. For the 20/20 program helping me get healthy.
3. For having an ex who still wants to talk to me after an unexpected emotional splat at him.
4. For sylvan joining Shadows of a Crimson Dawn with me.
5. For the general geekery I've been able to do latterly.
6. For the editor friend who is keeping me in mind for any upcoming contract work.
7. For my rejection from Glimmer Train.
8. For my fanciful imagination leading me on.
9. For cool new toys.
10. For my cat, Esme, being such good company, especially when I'm not feeling all that well.
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Horrific...

There are a series of articles running around about how seventeen soldiers, including a General, have been removed from duty for abusing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners. I've read the articles. I've seen the pictures that have surfaced. These pictures are so horrifying that I wish to God they were composites but they don't look like it. They look like smiling, happy, thumbs-up American soldiers and Reservists standing over, abusing and humiliating naked, helpless men.

As a former military brat and former member of the Air Force, I am deeply horrified and ashamed. I cannot believe our soldiers would do this. We're the frickin' good guys! At least, I thought we were. I'm starting to have some serious doubts about that. I cannot imagine what would possess these soldiers to do such horrible things to these prisoners of war. (They are prisoners of war, right - and subject to the guidelines of the Geneva Convention? Even if they aren't, they should NOT be treated like this.)

Any solider guilty of this abuse should be immediately court marital-ed. I know at least six soldiers have court marital dates in the works. I don't want this to be swept under the rug. I don't want those who are guilty to get away with it. I don't want anyone to say "He told me to do it." I want those smiling soldiers in the pictures to go to jail for a long, long time. Someone should have stood up and said, "This is wrong."

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said it best: "If we can't hold ourselves up as an example of how to treat people with dignity and respect, we can't ask that other nations do that to our soldiers."

He is so very right. You know if this was happening to American soldiers, there would be hell to pay. We need to be the right example. We need to not be the horrifying American empire that we seem to be becoming.

I will say this, though. There are a whole lot of really good people in the military. We should not judge the whole of the military based on the actions of these few soldiers. The guilty soldiers should get what they deserve and be held accountable for their actions. The ones who are there to do their duty, to serve their country and to do the best job they know how, should be lauded and supported. A few bad apples does not prove that the whole bushel is bad.
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