Sunday, January 16, 2005

Prison Guards & War

I speak up about things in this world. I have been watching like the rest of the world. And there are some things I have kept quiet about while events unfurl because I am not sure about the details involved. Or I may lean one way, but my belief system says I should lean the other way.

This topic is brought up to make people think differently than what we are spoon-fed by media and the pacifists who cause division and discord to the U.S.of A. I am going to take a rather bold step here in defense of the Abu Ghraib soldiers...who are now on trial for allegedly mistreating the prisoners. (At the original time of this writing they were on trial, but now one has been charged.)

I do not agree to abuse. I will say that right out.
  • I do not agree to parents abusing their children.
  • I do not agree to children abusing their parents.
  • I do not agree to husbands abusing their wives.
  • I do not agree to wives abusing their husbands.
  • I do not agree to people in authority abusing people or animals within their care or hire.
  • I do not agree to spiritual leaders abusing souls.
  • I do not agree to law enforcement officials abusing people, and suspects are people,...UNTIL it has been proven -- key word with emphasis: PROVEN -- beyond a reason of a doubt that the people are truly criminals.
If someone is caught with their hand in the cookie jar per se, then I'd reason that's a good solid stamp of "PROVEN".

Of all those abuses, the last one is separate & unique. I should add to that last one: "in times of war." Yes, it is true that law enforcement officials are placed in a capacity of authority so it is possible they could fall under "I do not agree to people in authority abusing people or animals within their care or hire."

Within the large group known as law enforcement officials is a small group called Prison Guards. They get the glory job *sarcasm* of being housed in a den of dragons and are responsible for making sure those dragons are tame and accounted for. This means they must make sure the dragons are well-behaved, not up to "no-good", following instructions/directions, abiding by prison rules, and visibly present.

Imagine, being in this glorious position: Prison Guard.
Within each cage under your care is some form of snake or dragon.
The following are among the list of each of their histories:
  • One killed 20 separate women and had intercourse with their dead bodies before disposing of them.
  • One had drug connections in foreign countries where he imported them and then sold them to the poor, the homeless, the runaways, the children, & the naive in the slums of the cities knowing they will become hooked and seek his mules to feed their addiction.
  • One was part of a group of men who abducted children and sold them to slavery on the black market, abusing them as they saw fit.
  • One stabbed a man in a grocery store, turning the knife to make sure the wound was grievous, so the witness to the robbery would be dead - unaware he was caught on video camera.
  • One seduced children into trusting him and then violated their trust, taking advantage of their innocence by perverting it with photographs of their nakedness and uninvited touching of their genitals.
  • One found himself powerful by seducing women into a Master-Slave relationship, then turned sadistic after the consentual agreement was made, binding & gagging them, having his way with them, tormenting them with cuts and lashes, and videotaping it like a documentary to the point of commenting on where he stashed their dead broken, beaten, and bloodied bodies.
I don't think it's necessary to go on with their histories. I think it's pretty clear that these are men of moral turpitude. Their way of life is to gain for their life by destroying others' lives. And always that gain is to feel some sense of power...a sense of their own lives.

Put a group of these kind of characters together in the same den, separated once in awhile by cages, and you can witness the ego, headstrong, challenging, rebellious demeanor exchanged between each other from the eye contact to the puffed chest, clenched fists and stiff jaws. These are arrogant men. Each have done a crime and each want the other to know "I'm badder than you, so back off." Whether it is incredible arrogance or a pretense to mask their latent fears, it doesn't matter: The pride is still there. The ability to commit the crime already manifested itself.

Prison guards are placed in these dens that house such evil. These dens are nothing more than structures built to simply punish these immoral men by depriving them of their liberties. And why not deprive them of their liberties? Are they deserving of freedoms? In their greedy act to destroy another's pursuit of freedom & happiness, I would say they made a choice to destroy their own pursuit of freedom & happiness as well. To rob another (or others) of life, liberty, or happiness in order to corruptly gain riches, fame or power is not the kind of stuff we applaud in our society as a whole.

Here are the kinds of dangers prison guards face as a result of their glorious position:These stories are just a few showing accounts of attacks on prison guards.
Who is the goaltender to the door of freedom? Who is the last line of defense for these evil men to break through in order to get back into society?

The Prison Guard.

Now forward to Abu Ghraib. This won't be a popular sentiment and certainly one that human rights activists would put down, but I'm willing to speak up about it. From another angle.

The purpose of a terrorist: To maim, kill, and destroy. By whatever means. Whoever it may be - man, woman, child. To them, death knows no boundaries. They don't believe in mercy. They believe in their cause. They want to make a statement. They have a mission. And they are willing to die for that mission. They are willing to take many lives with them in order to make their statement loud and clear; bloody and merciless; painful and obvious.

Now round up a bunch of these men with this type of mindset together and house them in the same den. Could you imagine? Arrogance beyond arrogance. That's what you'd find. If not - then you'd smell a strong stench of unbelievable fear. Fear so deeply rooted that even they cannot recognize it themselves. They would presume they were driven by the strength of their cause...or their god. But the truth is, they are more likely driven by their deepest, darkest, unspoken, uninvited, and unwanted fears.

Fear of not having control of their own lives.
Fear of not having control of their own destinies.
Fear of not being able to protect their loved ones.
Fear of not being able to call a place "home".
Fear of not knowing what will happen tomorrow.
Fear of being controlled by someone else.
Fear of being taken advantage of.
Fear of showing weakness.
Fear of being occupied.

These are men who wielded various weapons - guns, rocketlaunchers, bombs - freely and without check. These are men who held the power of fear over citizens who simply wanted to be left alone by them. These are men who have known war as a way of life - constantly warring against Israel on a day-to-day basis, other surrounding nations that set them off, and other tribes or other Muslim sects that do not believe as they do. Their mindset is to occupy or be occupied.

These are not men who were raised in a country that recognizes a Justice system; has organized school districts where education can be taught to pre-schoolers as young as three years old; allows for a variety of religions to choose from and the acceptance of that; believes and stands for liberty and democracy; believes that God has given certain unalienable rights to men that cannot be taken away and so was founded by earlier forefathers who were not only believers of God, but who believed that Government and its leaders are not there to prevent liberty, but to protect it.

These are men who were raised in uncivilized, barbaric, fend-for-yourself countries. Where if you were not the scorned, then you were the scorner. If you were not the tortured, then you were the torturer. If you were not the destroyed, then you were the destroyer. If you were not the occupied, then you were the occupier. Sometimes, you were both. Depending on what side of the line you happened to be on at the time.

All they've known all their life is oppression, tyranny, the strong hand of rule, lack of government, various zealous speeches spoken by various religious leaders who cannot even agree on the Islamic faith's principal doctrines, and unmerciful treatment by their own leaders. They cannot trust themselves let alone anyone else around them.

Round up these kind of men. Put them in a den together. Then guard them as prisoners.

If we thought the prisons of this country were filled with evil/savage men, then I don't think you or I have seen anything yet.

Let us be reminded that this war is about quenching terrorism. Putting an end to it. Stopping it.

I do believe in God and I do believe in forgiveness, but there is a time when mercy runs out.


You didn't know that?

Doesn't anyone read their Bibles? Doesn't anyone have faith in God?
Even if they didn't have faith in God, doesn't anyone read one of the most popular history books known as The Bible? The pages of the Old Testament are even lined with historical facts about the Middle Eastern countries and their inhabitants.

Babylon is now known as Iraq. Medes or Median is now known as Saudi Arabia. The Chaldeans inhabited mostly what is now known as Kuwait and part of Iraq. Armenia is what is now known as Turkey. Just some fascinating historical knowledge. The city of Babylon was being rebuilt by Sadam Hussein as a pet project. Did anyone know that? Well, I digress...

Mercy ends for the one who has done wrong and refuses to repent (show a willingness to make restitution; show a turning away from their former behavior; show a sincere apology).
Mercy ends for the one who, to their end, will show no mercy to others.

Yep. These are Biblical.
If any of those men (that claimed to terrorist acts) claimed to have any kind of faith in God, then they would know these things. They would know that even God's mercy can run out. But then, they would know about the Cross too...which would be a beginning to the end of their hatred, slaughter, and suicide.

Ok so where am I going with this?

We've got a war going on and there are men at large who are out there aiding, abetting, and acting as terrorists. These are fiercer dragons than what we have holed up in our nation's prisons. And these criminals are being rounded up and placed into prisons for the purpose of:
  • punishment
  • confessing plans
  • confessing key figures/people
  • confessing locations
But because of their fend-for-yourself mentality and their combined fear and arrogance, they cannot bring themselves to an ounce of humility to even say "Sorry"... in any way, shape, or form. Why? Because they are not remorseful. They are not going to give away their cause. They believe some god is rooting for their cause. (I can point out Biblically that it is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob who is for their cause.)

"So kill me." They would rather die and taunt a prison guard with this kind of speech. If they die, then guess what? They get to be known as... a MARTYR. And this gives them great fame in their culture/mindset/religion. To be a martyr is of great importance to them. They've heard they can have so many virgins on the other side of life. Probably a palace too. (I hope they don't think they will have golden toilets and see storage houses full of body parts for people who are missing limbs.) I still think they're in for a burning surprise.

But at any rate... if the goal in harboring these criminals who are, would-be, have been, harbored, aided, or abetted terrorists... if the goal is to get them to CONFESS and their answer is KILL ME...then what measures are left?

They aren't afraid of dying.

So how do you make someone who is not afraid to die and would take you down with him...confess?

There is the question.
How do you soften that steel exterior?
How do you humble that stiff arrogance?
How do you bring a proud man to crawl on his knees?
How do you convince a suicidal killer to talk freely?

Yeah this kind of conversation is a hard pill to swallow. But we're having it. We NEED to have it. We're facing critical benchmarks in history that are going to make or break us. We're facing division in our very own country over many things. The myriad of lawsuits is just becoming ridiculous.

We need to have this conversation.

How do you propose to make an incredibly arrogant man (or group of men) who is not afraid of dying, who is ready to kill you, and who strongly believes in his group's cause... how do you propose to make him break down and talk openly, willingly?

Perhaps those of us who are not familiar with wielding a gun and witnessing firsthand the heads and bodies of our fellow teammates riddled with gunshots or blown off by a rocketgrenade or severed with a sword or splattered by a bomb...

Perhaps those of us who are not familiar with bullets literally zinging by our heads until you can almost feel them or ricocheting off of building walls nearby or the street in front of you...

Perhaps those of us who have never opened a sealed door to discover a cache of stored weapons that would make our mouths drop in awe and horror with the thought racing through our mind, "What in the world were they going to do with this?"...

Perhaps those of us who have never faced an unfamiliar language shouted at us as the person yelling the obscenities begins firing in our direction with only one thought: To kill us...

Perhaps those of us who have never been put in a position to witness children - CHILDREN - who don't look but twelve or thirteen years old or even younger wielding weapons to shoot at us...

Perhaps those of us who have never witnessed our buddy -- whom we were just talking to and laughing with about some of the things we missed from "back home" and with whom we expressed certain things we didn't like about this war -- suddenly snuffed out and shredded into a mangle of body parts because of a mortar that had been planted in the ground by these psychotic enemies and he just happened to step in the wrong place at the wrong time...

Perhaps those of us who have never watched a man of another skin color, language, and nationality -- whom we're not sure whether he is friend or foe -- walk into our living quarters where we dine together "as a family" away from our real families, stuck together on a mission and having bonded for a united purpose, suddenly explode into a million pieces, taking some of our friends' and teammates' lives with him, maiming others in the process, and destroying our "safe" harbor...

Perhaps we are lucky and perhaps we cannot understand why these prison guards would torture these men in this fashion.

We are not them. We do not serve in their shoes. We are not purposed with a duty and facing the same dangers they do. We get to sit back at home and watch all these casualties and reports of war from the comfortable positions of our sofas and dining room chairs. We can read about it in the paper or on the Internet from our plushy cushioned office chairs.

We have no idea what it is like.
We have not been there. And trust me, we don't want to be there.

But there are instruments designed for a purpose. People who are placed in positions to do their jobs. And whether we think it's humane or not to torment a dragon who has destroyed one or humble make him get him to willingly tell us what their plans are, where they are hiding, what locations are harboring weapons or key figures, and how they communicate with each other...

That is none of our business.

We are not serving in this war. We are watching it from a comfortable distance.

We are not the terrorists. We should not grieve for their inhumane treatment. People who do evil to other people should expect nothing less than evil done to them. The tormentor becomes the tormented.

So from our far, safe, comfortable distance... what do we propose that these battle-weary and emotionally-scarred soldiers should do to deal with the terrorists and their aiders/abetters/providers/harborers/etc...who are placed under their guard?

What do we propose to these soldiers that will be an effective means of "breaking" these terrorist-criminals to the point they will talk freely? About where key figures are located? About where stashes of weapons are located? About locations of where meetings are held? About countries, names, places, plans...anything that will help us to win the war on terror so these men will stop killing people around the world to get their point across - whatever that point may be?

Am I condoning the prison guards' actions?
In times of war, when these kinds of criminals and terrorists are found with guns in their hands and either in the act of committing a crime or ready to commit one for an evil cause such as what we have been witnessing, then I have no problem with men and women carrying out their assigned duties to "break" such men by whatever means of humiliation.

Personally, I would prefer not to see the designs of these duties. The world was not ready to see it either. We just cannot stomach it. It's not the world we live in. There are people assigned to certain tasks and that's a task I would not be able to carry out. Assign me to guard the front doors of the prison and I'll be a better soldier. But assign me to do the breaking...and I'll ask for re-assignment. Nobody should be placed in an environment that they cannot handle. They should never be forced. The criminal & terrorist prisoners have no choice, but the staff and anyone entering that facility for whatever reason should not be forced to be exposed to that process. It puts them in a bad position. It puts the facility and those who are assigned to carry out their duties, in a bad position.

Had these criminals & terrorist prisoners been a bunch of men whose only crime was that they had been begging in the street because they were poor and had no food...then succumbed to stealing because they could not find the food they needed to stay alive...maybe aid workers were forcing them to have sex with them before they could get the food & that was a degradation they would rather not suffer, but would rather die first or steal first before bowing to that option...and then were rounded up and put into prison... If that were the case and then they were humiliated in this disgusting fashion, then I see no point for it and it's now evil on the side of the prison guards.

So what I am saying is, in light of the crimes committed by the prisoners and if the reason for these humiliations was indeed to "break" or "soften" the hardened men, then that is the purpose that should not be punished. The humiliation is justified. It serves a specific purpose. There is an end to it. When that end is met, then the humiliation will cease.

The fact that someone published some pictures is disgusting. Yes. That was just idiotic. To even take pictures... I mean this day and age of technology can be a great tool or a great destruction. There should be common sense or some kind of courtesy protocol invented for technology. Like the common sense courtesy protocol of "Respect Your Elders"...there should be one like "Don't Drive With Your Cell Phone Stuck in One Hand Up Against Your Ear" or "Turn Off Your Cell Phone in Church" or "Don't Take Pictures When You are Torturing Prisoners".

That last protocol should be a humane common sense approach. A moral common sense approach. But then, war brings out the worst in men... and women now we see.

Well, the thing is, we should not record the violence we do to others. We should not commit that violence to begin with...but in the matters of war where violence is a given, we should just not record that kind of stuff. Why commit to memory the things of pain and heartache and loss? If, in war, one wants to document buildings, places, and maybe people who are involved... just use common sense if you have any and try to find an ounce of morality within to judge rightly what would be edifying to remember later in history. For yourself and for all of mankind.

If these soldiers should be punished for anything, they should not be punished for doing their job. Even if their job description was to torment the criminals to "break them". That is a common war practice. It's even been done to our own Prisoners of War, except worse - not to break us, but to treat us like dogs. Just to do it. I find it disturbing to see that the soldiers/prison guards (I should say "prison guards" more because I believe there were reports that not all of them were soldiers, some were contracted) actually got a thrill out of their duty. It's a little twisted to think that when someone coined the phrase "I love what I do", there would be a time in history when that would apply to a job like this.

If anything, they should have been punished for allowing someone to document the events. To take pictures and then to publish them. That merits punishment. Lack of common sense.

FORT HOOD, Texas Jan 14, 2005 — Army Spc. Charles Graner Jr., the reputed ringleader of a band of rogue guards at the Abu Ghraib prison, was convicted Friday of abusing Iraqi detainees in a case that sparked international outrage when photographs were released that showed reservists gleefully torturing prisoners.

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