Double shame for America

Saturday, September 24, 2005

As the country continues to reel from the spectacle in the New Orleans Superdome and Convention Center, a new disclosure reminds us that there is more unfinished business in America. In Tips for the Times on this website, readers can find a front-page article from the New York Times that relates how three soldiers of the 82nd Airborne have finally, after 17 months of trying, have broken through the stonewalling of the Pentagon leaders by contacting Senators John Warner and John McCain. The substance of their testimony is that beatings and degrading treatment of prisoners in Iraq was constant, that it continued after Abu Ghraib, and that it was done out of boredom, “for fun.” The most striking detail concerns the complicity and the silence of the leadership.

What does it mean to “support our troops”? Surely it means developing leadership that will protect the young men and women from their own worst instincts. Surely it does not mean bringing them home having become accustomed to torturing human beings for amusement. Surely it means outrage that this should have been allowed.

I have always admired the Army as the most egalitarian of the services, but my admiration is draining away. Where are the Dwight Eisenhowers and the George Marshalls? Doesn’t God want our voices as Christians to be raised on behalf of our armed forces? Is this good training for them? Where are the “Christian soldiers”? Doesn’t anyone care about this?

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