Pardon the troops.
This I Believe
I believe hat we must pardon our armed forces for their indiscretions against prisoners and civilians in Iraq.
Years ago, as the young president of a small corporation, I found myself sitting across the desk from a bitterly complaining customer who railed against the treatment he had received by my sales department and, when he had been unable to prevail against the sales manager, brought his problem to me.
I have long since forgotten what the problem was or whether his premise had merit or not. But as I sat quietly listening to his long harangue, I remember vividly my shocked surprise and saying to myself: “My God, this guy doesn’t realize that he is complaining about me. He doesn’t understand that my employees were just following my instructions.” Not direct instructions, mind you, but I had set the tone in the general way I had always handled such matters.
This incident so strongly impressed itself on me that I have done two things: Obviously I have remembered vividly the situation. More importantly I have studied numerous business, political, and social organizations in an informal way through the many years since.
I believe that I can tell you what kind of treatment you will receive throughout the organization if you get to know the chief operating officer, or, conversely if the organization treats you with courtesy and honesty you will find the chief is an honest guy who is considerate and friendly.
I believe the President of the United States set the tone that gave the green light to the atrocities that occurred in the heat of battle or under the pressure to obtain the information their commanders expected them to extract from prisoners. I believe that without that blocking knowledge in the minds of the privates and sergeants, there is no restraining force in the minds of our forces in such incidents. That little blocker that keeps a person from crossing the narrow line of action was missing.
I believe, that the honest and straightforward administration of President Ford set the stage for healing the split in our Country as a result of the scandals of the Nixon administration, is an excellent example of this principle.
I believe our President came into office with all the earmarks of a bully. He refused the Kyoto Treaty in an out of hand fashion. He thumbed his nose at the United Nations and only half heartedly and begrudgingly accepted the role of the United Nations. I believe the President set the tone for these atrocities. I believe that we must follow the law and prosecute such offences at every level.
I am not suggesting that we impeach the President for his lies and bulling tactics; I do not know any of the troops involved in these incidents; but, I believe, while President Bush walks free for setting the tone of his war; his troops should also be walking free by being pardoned wholly and completely for their indiscretions. This I believe.
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