General David Petraeus, top military commander in Iraq, was upset at a recent survey which indicated many combat troops would not report a member of their unit for killing or wounding an innocent civilian. “We can never sink to the level of the enemy,” he said. “We have done that at times in theater and it has cost us enormously,” referring to the torture and humiliation of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib facility.
The survey indicated only 40% of Marines and 55% of soldiers said they would report a member of their unit for killing or wounding an innocent civilian. Petraeus said, “I was very concerned by the results because they indicated willingness on a fair proportion of soldiers and Marines to not report the illegal actions, if you will, of buddies.” General Petraeus believes it is important to observe the law of land warfare and the norms that civilized nations have adopted governing the conduct of land warfare…So the first step is that we’ve got to.. make sure that folks remember that that’s a foundation for our moral compass…and anything we do that violates that is done at considerable peril.”
Information from Army Times
I find it disturbing that no one points to the unethical behavior of our nation’s leaders who, by their immorality, set standards for our society. President Bush deliberately lied for the reasons of war, and one has lost count of the lies told by Rumsfeld and Cheney. A basic problem in Iraq is that leadership of our nation is in the hands of men and women who will not allow any law of decency to hinder their efforts at gaining what they term “victory over terrorism.” Is it any wonder this attitude filers down to lower level commanders and eventually to the grunts fighting in the front lines.