Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bad Eggs

The court-martials of four US soldiers begin this week accused of rape and murder of Iraqi civilians.  Two of the soldier face the death penalty!

The crime has, of course, enraged Iraqis and there have been calls for a review of foreign troop immunity from Iraqi prosecution.

However, at this point I would still trust the US judicial system (even the military one) over the Iraqi one.  At some point perhaps this would be a viable alternative.  If you commit a crime over there you should face their system of justice, whatever that may be.  However, considering the circumstances I understand why the US military is still trying their own soldiers.

As for Iraqi outrage, I have a couple things to say.  One is the penalty for guilt.  If the men are found guilty, and by now there is considerable evidence that they are (else why the court martial?),  The penalty is death.  How could Iraq impose anything stronger or extract more justice?

Second, I predict that we’ll start hearing a lot of moral equivalence rhetoric from the left about this in an attempt to show that we’re not so perfect either so why are we invading countries and trying to impose our moral systems on them (yadda yadda, you get the point).  This should be easily deflected, if anyone bothers to try, by pointing out that due to the variability of human behavior and the inevitable bad eggs in any basket you pick, it’s inevitable (and unfortunate) that some American soldiers are going to commit crimes against the Iraqi people.  You’re going to get this in any army in the world, so the differences in how you judge those nations of people are how we react to the crimes.

In the USA the crimes are not part of regular operating procedure, they are aberrations.  When they happen, leaders and citizens of the USA are visibly and righteously mortified, enough to truly want to get to the bottom of the case.  The people responsible are rooted out and prosecuted.  If the crime is vile enough, we will commit that person to death (in some countries “vile” seems to be switching religions from the state-sanctioned one, or speaking out against the leaders of said country).  That IS standard operating procedure.  How many countries can you say that about?  Are there really that many?

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