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Commentary :: International
America had better change her ways
01 Jun 2004
"Maybe it's time for our country to look at our own moral stature before we go out to change others."
American News, June 1, 2004

When we watched "60 Minutes" and saw the pictures of American troops forcing Iraqi prisoners to do despicable acts in the nude while being photographed, we were appalled.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush are expressing surprise and regret for the behavior of a few "bad apples." As Americans, we don't condone this type of behavior. Right?

I wonder.

Look at the television programs offered on a daily basis. Sex and nudity have become much more acceptable even in prime time programming. Then there is MTV and many other special channels that show much more explicit activities. On the Internet, pornography is easily accessible. Our American culture has become very permissive. Madonna and Brittany Spears are the idols of teens and pre-teens as they strut across the stage scantily dressed. Eight- and 10-year-old girls are wearing clothing exposing their midriff.

Rush Limbaugh, on his radio programs, stated that these Iraqi prisoners "didn't even lose a hangnail, so what harm has this done?" We got our information from them, that's what counts.

Rumsfeld calls the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay enemy combatants, so we are not required to treat them as we would prisoners of war. How are those prisoners in Cuba being treated?

When our permissive American culture is seen in other parts of the world by other cultures, these people do not see these acts the same way as we do. The nudity in front of other people, especially in front of a woman and a camera, was humiliation of a demonic nature to the Iraqi men. The Islamic way of life is not our way of life. Do we have the right to impose our culture unto these people?

Our military personnel come from our American culture. They have grown up with the permissiveness and sexual freedoms displayed here. So why are we so surprised that our troops would do such a thing?

In history, there were other countries who were world leaders. The Romans had a high standard of living and prosperity. They became a permissive society. The Roman Empire was not destroyed by invading armies, but fell from within because of the lifestyle.

This war with Iraq was initiated by the Bush Administration; we were the invaders of a sovereign country. Maybe the people in Iraq do not believe in the same culture we do, but they still are as human as we are and humiliation is very hurtful to any human being.

As the world's only super power, we claim to have a moral high ground and claim we care about human rights. So we feel we must use our status to control any country that does not allow the freedoms and human rights to their people. I did not see anything in those photos of the Iraqi prisoners that made me proud to be an American. Sadly, I was sickened to think that our military personnel would even consider using sexual abuse for any reason. Rumsfeld seems to be pooh-poohing this incident and blaming those few bad apples for the way these prisoners were treated. Where is our moral high ground now?

Maybe it's time for our country to look at our own moral stature before we go out to change others. Most great empires in the world fell from within because they were too busy conquering others and neglected their own people. We had better clean up our own moral and social ills before we start crumbling from within like other empires did.
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