As the many posts on this newsgroup regarding the subject have confirmed, there has been enormous coverage of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, mostly at the hands of a segment of guards from one National Guard unit that certainly had leadership and discipline problems.
However, we tend to forget that the military, like our nation's police departments, and other public service organizations, are a slice of the American population. Let's try a little simple math. First, take the total number of US troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom during the time these abuses occurred. Then run that up against the number of servicemen and women involved in the Iraqi prisoner abuse. You can do your own math so I can't be accused of skewing the numbers but you will find the percentage to be miniscule. Now take the total population of the United States and bounce it up against all the violent crimes committed against persons nationwide during the same timeframe. Again, you do the math yourself but I think you already know what you'll find??.the percentage is SUBSTANTIALLY higher. You see, the military, in spite of a couple shitheads and such, holds itself to an astronomically higher standard and is much better than the society from which its members are drawn.
Yes, we all know all about the prisoner abuse; how could we not since it has led off almost every TV news broadcast for the last couple weeks. And, of course, some of our honorable Congressmen and women have almost wrestled each other for the television reporters microphones so they can make their pronouncements of shock, outrage and disgust. However, I'm about to show you another side of our military; a side that gets little in the way of publicity or positive pronouncements from our good Congressmen and women, or most anyone else, for that matter. Please read the item below, from the Marine Corps webpage and come away with a different perspective......................
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(May 6, 2004) -- Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh received the Navy Cross Medal from the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, during an awards ceremony Thursday at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Training Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Three other Marines received medals for valor at the same ceremony.
Chontosh, 29, from Rochester, N.Y. , received the Naval Service's second highest award for extraordinary heroism while serving as Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom March 25, 2003.
While leading his platoon north on Highway 1 toward Ad Diwaniyah, Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire. With coalition tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone.
He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, Chontosh ordered the driver to advance directly at the enemy position enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy.
He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack.
When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers.
When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.
"They are the reflection of the Marine Corps type who's service to the Marine Corps and country is held above their own safety and lives," said Gen. Hagee, commenting on the four Marines who received medals during the ceremony. "I'm proud to be here awarding the second highest and third highest awards for bravery to these great Marines."
"These four Marines are a reflection of every Marine and sailor in this great battalion," said Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada.
"The world would be a much simpler place if every one could pick and choose their obligations, but we can't and we shouldn't." Major Charles W. Whittlesey