I want to talk about something I read over at The Angry Black Woman. She got it from this website, which I don’t know anything about. I googled a phrase from the transcript and found this post at Huffingtonpost.com explaining that there was a youtube video purporting to be an interview with a soldier who’d been a guard at Abu Ghraib and, I guess, this is the transcript from it. The Army is investigating to see if it’s real.
I want to say up front that I hope against hope that this is a hoax.
In the transcript, the interviewer asks the alleged guard what the most fun thing they did at Abu Ghraib was:
What was the most fun things?
The most fun thing, umm….definitely the women.
Yeah? They had chick insurgents, man?
No, they didn’t have chick insurgents.
Something goes down, they just grab everyone around, you know, fuck em. I mean, you gonna have 35 trials? No, you know. People are like, “Oh they’re innocent.” You know what, I don’t give a fuck. As far as I’m concerned, they’re all guilty. You know what? They should have kicked Saddam out themselves. Instead, we’re there doing the fucking job. We’re losing guys…..
Were those people in the World Trade Center guilty? No. Fuck them. They fucked us, so now we’re fucking them. Fuck them, dude, anyone with a fucking rag on their head is fair game.
….girl, she was probably like 15 years old. Yeah, she was hot dude. The body on that girl, yeah, really tight. You know, hadn’t been touched yet. She was fucking prime. So….
One of the guys started pimping her out for 50 bucks a shot. I think at the end of the day, you know, he’d made like 500 bucks before she hung herself.
She hung herself? How’s come she hung herself?
I don’t know. She wasn’t happy.
In their culture, it’s really shunned upon if you get raped. I guess she would have been stoned to death anyways by her people, you know. It’s fucked up.
She was fucked anyway, I guess. In more ways than one.
America, if this is real, I hope the Army hunts down ever person involved and puts them in prison for a long, long time. Repeatedly raping a fifteen year old girl until she kills herself and talking about that like it illustrates some fun time?
What do you say in the face of that?
It makes my blood run cold.
But here is my question for you, America: How the fuck do we bring these folks home?
Do you want to live next door to a guy who thinks a young girl being sold to his buddies and raped repeatedly is funny? Do you want him on your police force? In your fire department? Providing security at your schools? Drinking at the bar with you? What if you’re his wife?
I am probably naive, but I believe that, when we ask young men and women to go to war for us, we make a sacred agreement with them. We say, go and do this thing that we, under ordinary circumstances cannot do. Go and put yourself in these extraordinary circumstances and do these things that, if you live through them, will take an enormous toll on you, psychically and spiritually, and when you come home, we will take care of you, to whatever extent that you need it.
The Other Reverent never talked about Viet Nam. He never marched in Veteran’s Day parades or got a kick out of watching war movies. He never had a dog.
That always seemed weird to me, when I was growing up, because he clearly loved dogs.
Once he answered our questions.
“What did you do in Viet Nam?”
“I was in a K-9 unit. I was a guard.”
“Did you kill people?”
“I don’t know. It was dark. I shot at them.”
“Was it cool?”
When I was young, I was always struck by the attitude of the Viet Nam vets. You’d go to parades and you’d see the World War I vets, and even then there were only a handful, riding in cars or on a float or sometimes, carrying the flag at the beginning of the parade. And then the World War II vets and the Korean vets would come by, wearing their uniforms, if they could still fit in them, standing proud, marching with purpose. And everyone would clap and cheer.
And then the Viet Nam vets would come by, with their black flag and their leather jackets or their vests with the POW MIA patch across the shoulders and a few of them might be in standard issue uniforms, but most of them were in some kind of post-duty dress–boots and camouflage pants, but t-shirts. Or jackets, but jeans. And they didn’t march in step, but they walked together.
And those were all men we knew. Our fathers and our uncles and the men who lifted us up on their shoulders and gave us rides home from school. The men who pitched in to raise barns and raise money.
And there was always this long silence when they walked by, as if, even ten, fifteen, years later, we didn’t know if we should clap or not. And they always looked like they didn’t know if they wanted us to clap or not.
The looks on their faces, almost invariably, said, “God damn it, America, I love you, but fuck you.”
I think our execution of this war has suffered because our leaders should have served in Viet Nam and didn’t. I believe that with all my heart, that if our leadership understood the human cost, and how it costs and costs, the war would have been executed differently, if at all.
Few parents send their children off to war expecting them to learn to find raping and torturing people they know aren’t guilty of anything except being in the wrong place at the wrong time funny. I can’t imagine that many kids head off to boot camp thinking, “I’m going to end up doing things that will make the people back home afraid of me.”
We owed them our loyalty, as Americans, and we gave it. But they owed us sound judgment, clear thinking, concern for our welfare, a guarantee that the threat to our country was equal to the price we might be called upon to pay in defending it. –Jim Webb
I can’t help but feel there are two costs–the costs the soldiers must pay, with their lives, with body parts left in the sand, with their sanity; there’s a steep price they pay in order to be able to do what’s required of them; and there’s the cost to us, when they come home to us, and they’ve learned how to do things good people can’t do and stay good. You can’t think it’s funny to rape a fifteen year old girl repeatedly until she’d rather kill herself than endure any more and still be a good person; you just can’t.
Maybe you can be reformed, but not if no one ever steps in and makes that happen.
It’s trite but it’s true that, when you fight a monster, you run the risk of becoming a monster as well. That’s not even Sun Tzu; that’s just horror movie 101.
Is the threat we face in Iraq worth it? Worth even one of our sons turning into the kind of man who finds that girl’s rape and death funny?
It’s hard for me to feel that it is.
That’s why I hope this is a hoax.