Retraining Our Troops

by James Glaser
June 8, 2006

The Pentagon has announced that our troops in Iraq are getting a refresher course on ethics. They call it "core warrior values training." No, I have no idea of what that is, but I think this training has come about because American troops are getting caught murdering innocent Iraqi women and children.

Our troops can probably get away with killing Iraqi men by saying they were burying a roadside bomb or firing on our troops, but it is hard to say that about an infant or a mother with a child in her arms.

Back when I was in Marine Corps Bootcamp, they must have thought we understood the ethics of warfare, because we had no ethics training. I assumed, and I guess the Corps did too, that we understood that killing innocent civilians was wrong no matter what happened. I think we had that training from our parents, our church, and even in our public schools. Some how young Americans today failed to learn there are some things that are universally wrong, like killing kids.

So someplace in the combat zone in Iraq they have a classroom, where the troops can come and learn about right from wrong. It is hard to study a new subject when you are worried about staying alive,

Maybe we are not the right people to be bringing new ideas, like democracy, to the Iraqi people. Just maybe we have a lot to learn before we start telling other people how to do things. When we have to explain to our troops that women and children are not to be killed, and that innocent Iraqi men are not in "season," we have a problem. Our troops are not ready for prime time warfare. The very troops we are retraining in ethics are the troops who have been training the new Iraqi army. I think it is time to say "stop," and give some real thought to what we are doing over there.

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