As the last U’s combat troops depart from Iraq, the nation still has to deal with the legacy of what happened during the past seven years. Families of men who currently are serving sentences in Fort Leavenworth for crimes ranging from murder to assault. Their families argue these men were sent into a war based on lies, placed under extreme stress and forced into brutal and dehumanizing combat which left many with shattered nerves. The men at Fort Leavenworth could be in prison for up to 40 years although some will be released in the coming years. In many cases, the American soldier argues an enemy was reaching for a weapon or was posing some form of physical threat which resulted in resort to shooting them. The question arises as to whether these men deserve some form of the benefit of the doubt for becoming a murderer while in combat. If a society places a normal human into madness, does the individual have a right to claim society is as much responsible as himself?
Each individual makes decisions based on their moral compass. On one hand, the men who sent them into combat — George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld– are making fortunes based on their roles in the Iraq war while some soldier who cracked under stress rots in jail. We are on the side of compassion for those sent without compassion into combat for the wrong reasons in the wrong place.