Friday, 11 May 2007

Forget about Shock and Awe how about Shocked and Surprised NOT (as Borat would say)

Dear Friends,

Have a read of the article that appeared in the Boston Globe down below. Now the US Military spent thousands of dollars no doubt conducting this survey and study to find out what ? Something a school pupil would have been able to tell them from pure common sense.

Truly they never cease to amaze me.


An erosion of battlefield ethics
10 May, 2007

US TROOPS will never succeed in stabilizing Iraq if they don't take seriously the need to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis. The US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, is right to be concerned about a report released last week showing that many troops would not report a member of their unit for killing or wounding an innocent civilian. Petraeus said the results of the survey would require "a redoubling of our education efforts" to avoid abuses by troops in Iraq. In following up on the report, Petraeus and his superiors should also examine the role that the Bush administration's dismissive talk about the Geneva Conventions might have played in causing troops to turn a blind eye to misconduct by their comrades.

According to the report by the Army's own Mental Health Advisory Team, only 40 percent of Marines and 55 percent of soldiers surveyed last year said they would report unit members who killed or wounded innocent civilians. Almost as worrisome, only 38 percent of Marines and 47 percent of soldiers said non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect.

This is the fourth survey by the mental health team but the first that included Marines and explored battlefield ethics. The ethics questions, in addition to ones asked in previous surveys about the troops' mental health, were called for by General George Casey when he led the multinational force in Iraq. "We can't fix an issue unless we know about it," said Lieutenant Colonel Robert Tallman of Army Public Affairs in an interview this week.

The survey shows there is much to fix. "We can never sink to the level of the enemy," Petraeus said Monday. "We have done that at times in theater and it has cost us enormously," he said, referring to the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by soldiers at Abu Ghraib.

How serious is the military about ensuring that killings of noncombatants are reported? One test will be the steps it takes against three enlisted Marines implicated in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, in Haditha in late 2005, and four Marine officers in the alleged cover-up of that incident. Unclassified documents released to The New York Times recently make it clear that officers were worried about the public relations impact of disclosing the circumstances of the civilians' deaths.Rigorous prosecution of this case will reinforce the extra ethics training that the military has introduced since it first learned of the survey results in January. Troops would also get the right message if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who once belittled the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" and "obsolete," formally repudiated that description and acknowledged, as US military leaders have, that the conventions deserve to be adhered to -- as a protection both for civilians and for US troops who fall into enemy hands.

(Editorial by me, so they need to do the right thing not only for the civilians but JUST IN CASE THEIR TROOPS ARE CAUGHT and the bad guys can be nice to them, unbelievable. How about doing the right thing from the outset and not having any problems like not sticking your nose into some place where it is not needed or wanted. I wonder how many actual war crimes, murders, rapes have not been REPORTED ??)