Friday, May 20, 2005

The Other Side of the Coin

I've been very vociferous in my condemnation of Newsweek, to say the least, as has most of the right half of the blogosphere. I'm not an apologist or a cheerleader, though, and I must say that this article in today's New York Times, regarding the brutal beating to death of two Afghan prisoners, is very disturbing indeed. These abuses are real and documented, and quite unacceptable. If we are to retain our credibility on the right, we must condemn this sort of behavior as vehemently as we condemn the 'blame-America-first'-ers.

It's an open question, I suppose, whether the brutality of war and prison turns a normal person into a sadist, or whether these folks were sadists before they ever joined the military. I'm well aware of the famous college experiment that seemed to show that guards will inevitably become oppressive and cruel. It seems to me, though, that we need to try some sort of psychological screening before allowing people to have access to prisoners.

Regardless, those responsible must be punished, and severely, no matter how high up the chain. If you believe in American exceptionalism, as I do, then you can accept no less.

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