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BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Being responsible for war crimes

Nobody’s perfect — not even the United States army.

We were shocked and appalled to see the photos taken at a prison in Iraq maintained by U. S. soldiers. The photos depict Iraqi prisoners being humiliated and abused.

Ironically, the prison — Abu Ghraib — was used by Saddam Hussein as a place of fear and dehumanization.

People wonder how the abuse by U. S. soldiers could have happened. The army constantly receives support from our citizens. The soldiers at Abu Ghraib did not receive adequate training. The CBS news program “60 Minutes II” reported that the soldiers did not receive a copy of the Geneva Convention — a list of guidelines used to humanely treat prisoners of war.

This embarrassing moment was a humbling experience for the U. S. Army. However, our notorious moment was suddenly overshadowed by Al-Qaeda’s execution of U. S. soldier Nick Berg. Al-Qaeda posted a video online showing Berg being beheaded by an Islamic militant soldier, the Baltimore Sun reported.

This execution was Al-Qaeda’s response to the abuse at Abu Ghraib. The Islamic militants said they were avenging the events at the prison.

Their attempt to retaliate caused a reverse effect — instead of striking fear into the hearts of Americans, it instead motivated us to continue our war on terrorism.

In fact, Berg’s death caused opposite sides — President Bush and presidential candidate John Kerry — to be united for a common cause.

Bush denounced the beheading, saying it showed “the true nature of the enemies of freedom.” Kerry similarly said, “America stands together” against terrorists.

These events — the Iraqi prisoner abuse and the decapitation of Nick Berg — show how ugly war can become.

It can cause everyone to become frustrated with conflict overseas, and they begin to point fingers.

Are the soldiers to blame? Should we blame their commanding officer? What about Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld? What about our commander-in-chief — President Bush?

Instead of playing “the blame game,” maybe we should let the individuals take responsibility for their own actions.

As a result, all of their mistakes will be exposed and judged by their peers. Granted, it’s wishful thinking, but it can happen.

Besides, it’s the mature thing to do.

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