The recent news about Americans torturing Iraqi prisoners gives one pause. It is undoubtedly true that people have been tortured in every war since the beginning of history, so perhaps a shocked reaction to this news would be disingenuous. Americans are no better than anyone else, despite the grand rhetoric of our leaders. We are just as susceptible to hatred, violence, and sadism as people from any other country or culture. It is nevertheless disappointing to be confronted with the ugly evidence of this.
Our government invaded Iraq under a pretense of liberating that country. High ideals were the order of the day. The language used by our leaders has seemed hollow from the beginning of the build-up to this war, but never so hollow as it has over the past two weeks. Assuming the moral high ground means we will held to high standards of behavior. And that we will fall further when we fail to live up to those standards.
Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator who slaughtered thousands of his own people as well as thousands of Iranians during his country's long war with Iran. Removing him from power lifted Iraq out of the darkness of decades of oppression. But what have we replaced him with?
Despite the hard work and sacrifice of our troops and civilian workers in Iraq, this war is not something I can feel proud of. Our leaders have led us down the garden path and we have let them lead us there. Shame on the United States.
I can only hope that we elect John Kerry in November and that he is able to get a broad-based multilateral coalition in place to help lift Iraq out its anarchic state. God help us and God help Iraq if the present U.S. policies continue for too much longer. And may all the U.S. and coalition soldiers and all the Iraqi people live long enough to see this situation come to a peaceful end.