Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Today, the following comment was posted under my comments section:

"The United States is also guilty of psychological operations, according to Physicians for Human Rights. "

The person who left those comments apparently thinks it apt to compare the US with terrorists we are fighting. While I haven't intended for this blog to be a place of political debate (though, I of course touch on some political issues), there are some things I would like to point out to "Anonymous" (the name of the person who posted it).

1) One of the reasons I am in the Army is to ensure we have the freedom to hold any opinion whatsoever. I think people like Cindy Sheehan and Micheal Moore are, well, stupid. But I am willing sacrifice at least a year of my life, or even to give my life so they can be stupid, publicly, without being persecuted. I think your comparison between the tactics of the US and terrorists is foolishly naive. But I'm glad you get to hold to it!

2) The US is not "guilty" of psychological operations. There is nothing illegal about psychological warfare. The question is what sort of psychological warfare is used. For example, dropping food for displaced Afghans (as the US has done) is a sort of psychological warfare- of the positive sort. So, psychological warfare itself is not right or wrong, it just depends on how we define it. Hence, purposely killing chaplains and other non-combatants would seem to be a poor comparion to taking naked pictures of a captured terrorist.

3) The comparison between Abu Ghraib, which is mentioned in the article above, and the tactics of the terrorists is a comparison that will always show the US in a positive light. Why? For these reasons: when we capture enemy combatants, they receive three square meals a day, access to religious services of their liking, as well as free Korans. If an American soldier is captured by Al Qaeda, he or she will be tortured mercilessly, videotaped, and then slowly beheaded in a gruesome manner. Which would you prefer, if you were captured?

Abu Ghraib was a terrible thing. But it is the exception, and not the rule. 99% of the time anyone captured by the US is treated in a very good manner. That is how we are trained (speaking from experience), and that is how we fight. Moreover, if you compare Abu Ghraib to the tactics of the terrorists this is what you get:

Americans in Abu Ghraib did (emphasize the past tense here) the following:
-Made terrorists get naked, scared them with dogs, humilated them and took pictures. The soldiers involved with this are heading to prison.

Terrorists continue (i.e., they are still doing this) to do the following:
-Purposely kill civilians (including women, infants and children) by blowing up car bombs near schools, Mosques and shopping areas; kidnap innocent people, torture and behead them; call for the destruction of the West and of Israel, and so much more. The terrorist who do this are celebrated by the cohorts.

Does it all even compare? No. I remain proud to be an American and a member of the Army.

One last thing: remember that, as Americans, we are free to debate this. When the Taliban were in charge of Afghanistan, do you think they allowed public discussion of their legal tactics (such as killing women who dared go into public showing their face, or dared go to school)? I doubt it!

So, while I strongly disagree with "anonymous" I appreciate living in such a great place where we can debate this. God bless 'ya!


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