War is ugly

Posted: Sunday, May 02, 2004

We have just been exposed to pictures of American soldiers abusing Iraqis and we are shocked. How could Americans do this? We are not bad people. How could anyone behave with such malice and disregard for humanity?

I marvel at our naiveté. How in the world can we be surprised when people put into a life-or-death environment sometimes crack? Do we really think war is this clean, honorable, "stand up and fight like a man" activity? Those who make that claim usually sit at a distance in a clean uniform on a plane or ship (or Washington) and press buttons to blow people up at a distance.

On the ground, war is hell. Why in the world does that surprise us? War dehumanizes everyone. We have been treated to month after month of being told our Iraqi opponents are terrorists and evil. Why should we be surprised when our soldiers treat them as evil things to be destroyed? This is what we have been telling them.

Atrocities happen in war. When people are treated like animals they act like animals. I will. You will. The obscenity is not what these poor soldiers did to their purported enemies. The obscenity is war itself - and the illusion that war makes the world a better place. Shame on us all for allowing this to happen.

Jonathan Anderson


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