Tuesday, May 04, 2004

It is all over the news and the press is having a field day with this horrible news. It is deplorable, evil and contrary to every thing to which the country and army stands for. We all have some evil in our hearts and to what degree that we can control it determines how good of a person that we are.

The majority of the soldiers are good. They come from the same, towns, cities and families that you come from. They are your neighbors, friends, cousins, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers or other family relations. Generally Americans are good people. When a person joins the military, they have a rigorous background screening process to weed out the bad apples. Nobody with any serious crimes will be able to wear the uniform

When I was a commander in the US Army Reserve and National Guard, recruiters would come up to me with a young man, tell me that this young man has broken the law and to get him into the unit I would have to sign a waiver. I took this personally and I ask the wantabe troop into my office for a talk. My First Sergeant would be there with me and our bullshit detectors would be our only tools. On a few occasions I smelled something bad. I would tell the recruiter to get serious and stop trying to make their quota with these losers. Sometimes I would sign the waiver for somebody who was caught stealing when they were 13 years old, if they had a driving under the influence conviction or some other crime. The military is a way for young man or woman to better themselves. It was for me. They would say that they need money to pay for a university education, they want to escape the neighborhood that claimed the life of a sibling or for many other compelling reasons to join the Army. I would try to understand what they were going through and what motivated them.

Every time I would sign the wavier, I do it front of the future soldier and have a copy of the Uniform Code of Military Justice with me. I tell them that I or any other commander would use it in fair manner. But when used it would be swift and come down hard.

As I read the updates on this horrible cluster f#$@, it looks to me that another soldier brought this light. I am glad that it was not brought to light in some exclusive scoop in the press, but the chain of command is dealing with it, however a bit too slowly for a generation weaned on MTV and want instant gratification. I hope the press holds all militaries of the world to the same standards that they are doing to the US. In some other armies, this would be swept under the carpet or the perpetrators would be promoted. It looks like everybody involved will be pointing fingers at someone else, pleading stupidity, and other lame excuses. That is expected, rats will defend themselves. I wish the perpetrators would (literally and figuratively) do the right thing and fall on their swords. When UCMJ finally used, I hope they max out the sentences, and the perps will crack boulders into dust, glue the dust together and start all over again for 30 years. I understand Fort Leavenworth is a lovely place in the summer.

Here are more writings on this event by more eminent and eloquent writers. Here, here, and Phil Carter has some good insight.

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