Friday, June 02, 2006

The Cost of Innocent Lives in Iraq too Great

Dear President Bush,

A third charge of American soldiers deliberately killing innocent civilians has been leveled regarding an incident from a March raid in Ishaqi. The outcry from Iraqi leaders and the public should concern you. An international perfect storm is forming in the region, one with a similar negative impact on your administration as last summer’s Hurricane Katrina. No one wants to see innocent people suffer and die unnecessarily.

Your response is “ethics training” for soldiers being deployed to Iraq. Yet, is a lack of individual ethics really the cause of these incidents? What other factors play into the purposeful death of innocent civilians? Does sending soldiers with active post traumatic stress syndrome cause them to see a threat when one does not exist? Does PTSD result in soldier’s entering a retaliatory rage when others might not?

What impact has lowered recruitment standards had on the “ethics” of soldiers? Are people with psychological conditions joining up when otherwise, they would have been screened out? Are people being recruited who don’t have the mental faculties to make the fine distinctions as to what constitutes ethical behavior? Do you recall Lyndie England’s half wit defense for her role in Abu Ghraib abuses?

If the behavior is widespread enough, it is part of the system. Leaders need to understand the components of the system and how they interact to produce such an outcome. Ethics training might get at some of the causes, but my guess is it won’t hit the major ones.

When leaders fail to love their neighbor, their warriors’ creativity is unleashed. I suggest you look in the mirror as the first cause resides there….

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