Up the complicity ladder... us!

The fighting voices of American ultra-conservatism, Buchanan, Coulter, Hannity, Limbaugh and the rest of the rabid pack, had an answer for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners from day one. No sooner had the establishment American media changed the story’s title from controversy to scandal, that they had cast these lowly MPs as “a few morons who have degraded the honor of both America and its military.”

Those voices were quick to admit this miniscule, if visible, stain on what they claim to be an otherwise immaculate white uniform made of 100% honorable intentions. While rebuking the actions of “just a few,” their disgust was not so much directed to the acts perpetrated, or to the perpetrators. For these American apprentices of neo-fascism, many confirmed disciples of Strauss; it was not so much the deed, as it was the embarrassment suffered because these “imbeciles” had been caught.

Among the more moderate conservatives, as well as for a vast majority of those with no political leanings, the feeling of embarrassment is not likely to be placated by the court martial of a handful of yahoos. Many of these people are asking that the military investigation be carried as far and deep as it needs to go to get to the truth… wherever it may lead. It is more than a gesture with them. Unfortunately, they are asking for the military to investigate itself… and the unlikely outcome of self-immolation.

Then, of course, we have those who populate the different gradations of American liberalism, many asking for a full investigation of both military and appointed civilians in charge. More than a few are beginning to pass judgment, already asking for high-rank military retirements, sub-cabinet level resignations… and Rumsfeld’s head on a platter. Systemic seems to be the word of choice, accompanying abuse, that has been quickly adopted by them. Yet, most fall short of naming the known chief government culprits. Perhaps they feel that Bush is at the end of his reign, and that calling for his abdication will serve no purpose with the election just five months away.

But the liberal s have it wrong… very wrong. A change in government come 2005 will not be enough to quickly mend fences with those we have hurt the most. Putting a Democrat in power who from the Senate had licensed Bush to invade Iraq will erase little of what has been written under the rubric of American military might. If there is a way for America to redeem itself before the eyes of the world, it would be by impeaching its Marlboro man. Such action could prove out to be of such epic proportions that even the Muslim nations might volunteer to give us a second chance. That is, of course, a dream of chimerical dimensions… totally unrealizable.

In world affairs, Americans are not partial to either giving apologies or receiving criticism. Not that other people are, but that Americans simply feel ill-at-ease in admitting wrong-doing. They don’t like to do it as individuals, and they don’t like their leaders to do it on their behalf. Thirty years after the Vietnam conflict ended, Americans are quick to point their regret that such war ever took place, but for qualified reasons: the loss of life and wealth; and the inability to win. The harm we may have caused the Vietnamese is seldom made part of the equation. Greater humility and compassion would bring our nation more loyal friends.

So who is to blame for what happened at Abu Ghraib, and possibly other military prisons? The “moronic six”…? Military intelligence…? CIA…? Generals Miller, Sanchez and Abuzaid…? General Meyers…? Secretary Rumsfeld…? President Bush? That’s where the chain of command ends, right?

Not quite. The chain of commands ends with us, the American people, who for the most part supported the invasion of Iraq , and a president who challenged both reason and most of the civilized world. We, Americans, are to blame.