Monday, September 24, 2007

Something Old and Something New

Here’s Old: Blackwater guards running around Iraq, shooting up people for no good reason, of which there have been reports for years. No End In Sight had a disturbing video of it:

I was glad to see the Iraqis have finally had enough. I hope the Iraqi government actually has enough power to do something about it.

Here’s New (to me at least): American snipers engaged in “baiting” by leaving explosive wiring and detonators in the road, then killing Iraqis who come by and pick them up (assuming that if they pick them up, they must be terrorists). The soldiers are currently on trial, and say they were ordered to do this.

We’ll see what comes out at the trial about orders, which wouldn’t surprise me. But at some point, don’t people need to take responsibility for their own actions? If given an order to murder people whose only crime is curiosity, shouldn’t you just say no, sorry, I’m not going to do that, and instead, report it up the chain of command?


brownie said...

"If given an order to murder people...shouldn’t you just say no...and... report it up the chain of command?"

The simple answer is yes.

But you and I know that life is very rarely simple. The order to do such a thing, I'm afraid, would not appear to be too out of the ordinary, given that the troops are most likely battle-hardened, weary of actual insurgents, and angered at having lost friends to road-side bombs. It's much easier for civilians, here, in our safe, sheltered day-to-day lives, to make a moral judgements about what is right and wrong than it is for soldiers on their second or third tour in Iraq. They see bad guys everywhere and they kill them before they are killed by them. I'm not saying it's right. But soldiers are not super-human, they are just regular folks susceptible to questionable orders that come from on high. Remember, soldiers have it drilled into them from the moment they enter the service to follow orders. Especially in combat situations.

I'm not excusing the soldiers actions, but trying to put myself in their shoes.

Dan S said...

Fair enough - it isn't an excuse, but it is the system they are put in that causes things like this to happen and for them to become blind to the consequences of their actions.

That's actually a fairly liberal response, brownie :) People should take personal repsonsiblity for their actions, but we need to understand the system they are in and how bad choices become easy options for people.

So, the question is how should the system be changed to prevent things like this from happening?

snarkbutt said...

Yeah, the following orders thing is rough.

I wonder if, instead of ascertaining whether or not they were following orders, we could prove whether or not they enjoyed it, or agreed with the orders, or thought they were doing the right thing. Then we could convict them for that. I know that would be impossible to prove, but hypothetically?

Fingtree said...

The whole thing is a sham!! Blackwater is the black eye that proves the corruption and reason the Neo-Con's have gotten us into this mess. These contractors have had free reign to run around like terrorist cowboy's, without responsibitity for their actions.
Even the soldiers of our armed forces don't like what they are doing there. Let alone that these contractors make in one month, what a soldier makes in a year! Follow the money! Research who Blackwater is and who they have been associated with. The problem with the people of America is that they don't research and ask questions prior to making judgments. This war has been a sham from day one. George W. Bush is an incompetant puppet. The 2000 elections that placed him in power (God help us all) was a sham. They keep spending money for Iraq like flowing water and wine, with no end in sight. I can't believe the tax payers of America are letting this disfuntion go on so long. But then again.......oh well, why bother

Fingtree said...

Here is a good start for anyone out there that has a desire to learn about Blackwater and it's foundation. Go to "Google" search engine and type in; Erik Prince. I heard today that Blackwater put on hold, plans to buy around 1800 acre's of land next to what they have now in North Carolina, due to what's happening with their situation in Iraq. I can only assume the worst with how they have gone about acquiring this land they are interested in in N.C.. Before I pre-judge them for what I would assume a sure bet that it's unscrupulous or unfair to the current landowners of that 1800 acre's, I will reserve my judgement until I fact find some research on this matter.
"Patriotism is measured in Gold currency and wealth"

Fingtree said...

Jeremy Scahill has a new book out, recently released called; "Blackwater". From Erik Prince, J.Cofer Black to Ken Starr and all of the millions in campaign contributions to ultra-conservatives to name a few; Rick Santorum, John Warner, Duncan Hunter, Mike Pence and Tom Delay, this book should be a must read for all American's and studied in every high school or college level curriculum. War for profit should not be tolerated! Unfortunately the Neo-Cons and the GOP have taken it to a new an unprecedented level of corruption.