Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Responsibility for War Crimes

In his latest post, Matt Taibbi has this to say about the ethical lapses of young soldiers in Iraq, whether it is Abu Ghraib, youtube videos of soldiers smashing taxi cabs, killing innocent civilians, or what could be considered atrocities (while I disagree on the personal culpability of individuals for their own actions, I agree that the greater responsibility for all of these sins lies at the feet of those that put them in this untenable situation)...

It's not that I don't believe these stories, and not that I don't want to hear them. I'm just wary of sullying the debate over this war with a referendum on the behavior of young soldiers who have been placed in an impossible position, sent to fight in a strange and hostile place with no clear mission and no detectable strategy for securing peace or victory. In my mind, all the people in the Bush administration and in Congress and in the media who got these kids sent there in the first place have to be the first ones held responsible for whatever those kids do after being thrown into the fire. I just don't yet have the stomach to start pointing the finger at a bunch of teenagers and twentysomethings who never should have been sent there in the first place.

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