British soldiers abuse civilians in Iraq

Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:03

Originally written: 28 February 2005

United States soldiers had their 15 minutes of infamy for mistreating prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Well, there are probably other instances of infamy, but for now, Abu Ghraib it is. Now, three British soldiers have their 15 minutes.

A Corporal, and two Lance Corporals have been sentenced to between five months and two years in prison, and dismissed from the military with disgrace. They were found guilty of mistreating civilian Iraqi detainees in Basra in 2003. There is no justification for their actions. It is, however, somewhat bizarre that in an orgy of murder — war — there is objection to mistreating prisoners.

Soldiers are told to kill people who have been told to kill people. When there is a lull in the killing for a few minutes, they are told not to mistreat anyone. Killing them is okay, but do not mistreat them. Go out and get shot at. Watch your buddies get blown apart. Then, all nice and civilized, do not mistreat those suspected of looting a humanitarian aid warehouse.

Soldiers are taught to dehumanize the enemy, but then expected to treat the not-human enemy with the dignity due a human. If it was not so disgusting, it would be laughable. But it is disgusting!

It is a natural part of the current social structure which does it’s best to subvert our human nature. Human nature certainly does not include sending hundreds of thousands of young men and women — our children — into a slaughter-fest. Behaviour, warped by class-divided society, does that — not human nature. The ruling class of one nation seeks economic superiority over the ruling class of another by getting their workers to kill more of the other’s workers, than the other’s workers kill of theirs.

People get upset about the realities of war for a little while, but soon the propaganda of capitalism convinces everyone that there is no possibility of eliminating war and poverty, and everyone calms down until the next time that the results of capitalism are too awful to ignore. Then this process repeats.

If human nature was as hopeless as common “wisdom” proclaims, there would be far more instances of maltreatment of prisoners. But we would not care.

It is because of human nature that we get upset about “injustice”.

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