Thank you. Thank you for being an officer. Thank you for staying in the military for as long you could. Thank you for being your brother's keeper. Thank you for your courage in the face of Secretary Rumsfeld and all other officers concerned first and foremost with their careers.
If you have not read General Taguba's story of investigating torture at Abu Ghraib, please do so now.
No matter how bad the news gets from Iraq, I try to take comfort in the fact that every soldier has free will, and in the end, can make his or her own decisions. They can choose life over death. They can choose to be humane. That for every soldier who tortures an inmate, there is one who refuses, one who dissuades others from joining in. That in casual and clutch situations, soldiers have the power to maneuver, to finesse, to do the right thing. That not everything is lost because a man like Rumsfeld is in charge.
Unfortunately, as documented so brilliantly in Seymour Hersh's New Yorker piece, this power to maneuver cuts both ways. The backchannels and the freelancing, while expected in wartime, reveal again what a free-for-all it is in this Iraq war, this horrible circus of death and greed that only the most dogged journalists have the stamina to keep up with, to keep braving the bombs and bullets to pull back the flaps of the tent.
So thank you, General Toguba, for believing in the rule of law when so many above you did not. Thank you for caring about the dignity and human rights of those we imprison. Thank you for exemplifying what we've always wanted to believe is inherent in the American character: fairness and decency.
And thank you, Seymour Hersh, for once again bringing painful, necessary truths to light.
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