Haditha – A Lesson Unlearned

I was commenting on Jessica’s post over at 4 Zillion when I realized that my opinions on this subject are too strong to not post on the events at Haditha. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Americans soldiers killed about 24 people, including women, children, and babies, after a particularly difficult day for them in Iraq. I should mention, though, that ALL days are difficult in Iraq for both the Iraqi’s and the American soldiers. Still, that does not excuse the handcuffing and execution of Iraqi civilians, especially children.

My main concern is that the Army feels the only thing that needs to be done about this atrocity is to give mandatory Core Values training to all soldiers in Iraq. I see several problems with this. First, the soldiers have already received values training. It was drilled into their heads at Basic Training or during ROTC, even as they learned to shoot first and ask questions later. They were not taught to defuse situations, they were taught to handle them. Second, the problem is not that the soldiers don’t have training, it’s that they don’t have an outlet for the incredible frustration that comes with fighting an unseen enemy day in and day out. They know that the Iraqis who die are rarely the ones who have been shooting at them or planning the IED’s because all of that is done from a distance and the local population protects their freedom fighters. Our soldiers are dying, a few at a time, every day, and they have no idea who’s killing them. They’re tired, their tours have been extended over and over or they’ve come home and been sent back, they’re not properly equipt for a war. It is a war zone that will ALWAYS be a war zone. There is NO break. There is NO rest. Haditha and Abu Ghraib are only the fist incidents in which our soldiers have taken their frustration with the war and with their own government on the Iraqi people.

It’s not like it was in Vietnam. There, the soldiers had at least a little down time once in a while. There, the soldiers could sometimes see the enemy, and the dead enemy soldiers, and feel like they were making some progress. There, the soldiers also snapped and killed an entire village of people. With the way this war is being fought, and the lack of support our soldiers are receiving, it is only going to get worse before it gets better. We have learned NOTHING from the lessons of Vietnam. These soldiers need physiologists on staff at all hours so that they have someone they can safely talk to, though that would make us look soft in our own government’s eyes. We still have Vietnam Vets who are mentally unwell, and now we will be dealing with a generation of soldiers dealing with many of the same issues. It will not go well for them, or their families, if they don’t get some help. I have already seen my friends and family members who have come home changed. I don’t want to see it happen to the thousands of other men and women who are there, or will be there, because I think we all know that this war is going to last a VERY long time.


2 Responses to “Haditha – A Lesson Unlearned”

  1. 1 opit
    February 18, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    The “war” is on Lord Bush’s personal timetable. It ends January 1, 2009.

  2. 2 United We Lay
    February 18, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    I don’t think so. I think there’s a lot of trouble we can get into between now and then, and I think he’s really tying to start somethign with Iran. We need to keep a close eye on him.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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