Saturday, May 08, 2004

Low morale

You know, normal people can only be stretched so far before they snap.

Case in point: The torture of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib was perpetrated by overworked, undertrained, seriously stressed-out people who thought they were going home sometime last year.

Last June, Karpinski took command of the 800th MP Brigade, a unit led to believe it was going home shortly after major combat ended May 1, 2003.

Instead, it got a new mission: running the entire U.S. prison system across Iraq -- 12 camps and jails.

"Morale suffered, and over the next few months there did not appear to have been any attempt by the command to mitigate this morale problem," the Taguba report says.

And I thought I hated my job. I can't imagine what that must have been like. "You're going home! And by going home we meant you're put in charge of a run-down, hellish prison system with just about no training, resources, or restraint!"

Not that it's an excuse for their behavior or anything, but what did they think was going to happen? That the angry, undersupervised soldiers would all teach the Iraqis to sing Kumbaya? Probably some of these Americans were among the shockingly high percentage who still think Iraqis were responsible for 9/11.

I look around (yes, blogging from work again) at the Fox News-watching mouthbreathers I'm surrounded by here at work, undertrained, overworked, and stressed out to the last man, and wonder what they would do when put in charge of helpless, shackled people they thought were responsible for an attack on America and I don't think the result would be any different.

This is why Rumsfeld should resign. I cannot help but feel that his insistence this war could be fought on the cheap is responsible for situations like this, just like the corporate jag-offs I work for who are so insistent to keep us hopelessly understaffed in order to save money are responsible for all the pissed-off customers I talk to every day. I was 100 percent against this war from the start, but to fight it poorly and without proper preparation is worse than fighting it for the wrong reasons, but fighting it well.

If you have to go to war for no reason, at least don't be so terrible at it that situations like Abu Ghraib are inevitable.

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