April 30, 2004

US Torture

The sad spectacle of US troops abusing prisoners demonstrates (once again) that democracy and freedom isn't about having a much better government than any other. It's about finding the bad apples relatively early, punishing them, and excluding them from further service so the rot doesn't spread. If Saddam Hussein was given a 25 year hard labor punishment when he first demonstrated that he was part of Iraqi rot, Lietenant, Captain, or Major Hussein would be a sad, disgraced figure in Tikrit trying to live down his shame for the rest of his life and Iraq would have been spared his rule.

1st world democratic republics have all the venality and nastiness floating around in their governments that other countries have. Their advantage is in their superior willingness to remove the rot. We are shamed by it. But we know that it would be worse if we covered it up. It is a heavy responsibility of citizenship and CBS did right by airing the story.

This is the central element of what has been so frustrating about false charges of abuse. The problem is real, it always has been. It is real everywhere because human nature is the same everywhere and everywhen. As wise men have said, human nature has no history. But crying wolf and falsely maligning soldiers makes it more difficult to sort the truth of abuse from the fiction of it. Fortunately, the system still seems to work.

Posted by TMLutas at April 30, 2004 08:37 AM