Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bringing freedom to Iraqis, one at a time

I'm freely stealing this post's title from my friend Michael, who just sent along a story which must be read to be believed: an (almost literally) blow-by-blow account of how American soldiers and paramilitaries in Iraq murdered Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, who had been one of Saddam Hussein's highest commanders until he willingly surrendered to American forces in November 2003. Though at first we lied about how he died - of natural causes, rather than being beaten to death over the course of 16 days in captivity - it's common knowledge now that his American captors killed him. In fact, two soldiers have been charged with his murder.

Fine - I'm glad someone might be punished for this crime. But if you can keep your last meal down long enough to read the whole article, you will see that, as with the horrors at Abu Ghraib, the torture of this prisoner was systematic enough to have involved dozens, if not scores, of American personnel. And that's makes it even more heinous. I can make no bones about it: we are killing people like the Nazis did. Certainly, Gen. Mowhoush was a bad guy, and probably someone who could have faced trial for war crimes. And that's what should have happened. Instead, in the name of freedom and peace and all the other buzzwords, he was killed by those who purport to defend us. If a society's moral stature can be measured by how its powerful members can treat those who are powerless, then our society is shrinking from day to day.