After careful reflection upon the recent incident in Abu Ghraib, I came to some conclusions:

I'm infuriated with what happened over there. I'm infuriated that a squadron of asshats have managed to single-handedly disgrace our country in the eyes of the international community. I'm infuriated that Lynndie England and her squadmates are incapable of doing anything except justifying their actions by slinging blame at some shadowy "higher-ups" rather than accepting the fact that they acted with gross irresponsibility. (I don't mean to single her out. They are all responsible, but she is the only one that I have read statements from.) I'm infuriated that some members of the armed forces of the country that is supposed to stand for freedom and human dignity treat human beings as if they were both animals and a convenient commodity.

I read some accounts of those in the armed forces, especially the Navy. I read about how officers would remove their wedding rings before shore leave, under the caveat that "What happens at sea, stays at sea." I read a man's observations that less than one quarter of the married men on his ship remained faithful to their partners while on duty. I read about the scramble to find easily available prostitutes once the ship hit shore. It may seem as if I am drifting from the subject, but it stands to reason that the way that a person treats others in the sexual arena will mirror the way that they treat others in all other aspects of life too. The type of people who act in such ways as this cannot be expected to act honorably in the field of combat. A man who cannot even honor and respect his own wife is not a man with the principles so desperately needed in war. A man of this nature is not a man who needs to be a soldier. But unfortunately, men of this nature appear to be common in the military. It bothers me that those soldiers who serve our country honorably are tarnished by the acts of such childish halfwits.

And now, there is this. The torture, sexual assault, and humiliation of prisoners of war. I can't say that I'm surprised. These are not the type of men that I wish to have defending the honor, pride, and security of myself and my country. These are not the type of men that I want associated with me at all.

To those who defend our country with honor, pride, and principle, I salute you. I respect you in the highest form possible. But the actions and mindsets that I have listed above are not those of an honorable warrior. These actions are not those of men (and women) who believe in and are willing to defend the sacredness of the human spirit. The actions of these men and women reflect horribly on us all.

Handing a man an M-16 and a pair of combat boots does not make him a hero, it is his actions that make him as such.

If anything, a group of people who have such an awesome power to take life as our Army does should be those with the highest reverence for life and humanity. But I have found, in general, that men who do such things as being regularly unfaithful to the women at home who love and support them, degrading women by purchasing them on a street corner like any other disposable commodity, gangbanging women on videotape, and sodomizing bound and hooded prisoners with glowsticks have little, if any, true reverence for their fellow human beings.

The God Emperor in the Dune series had the right idea, I think. How?

His entire army was comprised of women.

His explanation for this, once uttered, is quite simple. Women hold the cradle of life, which makes them, naturally, more reverent towards life. Women are able to find the needed test-against-death experience (through childbirth) that most men are only able to find in combat. This removes the variable of the psychological need for battle that most men experience on some level or another. When a force is comprised of people who are reluctant, but still willing when needed due to loyalty to a cause, to take life due to reverence for it and who are possessed of a psychology that does not include the need to aquire personal power through domination of some sort, then that force can act quickly and decisively to accomplish the goals that need to be met, while maintaining dignity, respect and honor for humanity, even the enemy. I don't think an army of women is the answer, but I think that an army that is carefully screened to weed out individuals who are not of this persuasion would be a damn good place to start.

But unfortunately, I believe that a cross-section of our society will uncover more animals than human beings, and the careful screening process that would be required to separate the animals from the men does not exist. And to make it worse, many of those that we are fighting against are also little more than animals.

The result?

Death, destruction, and finger-pointing all around. Thousands dead, thousands more wounded, lies, torture, and the systematic deception of the public to garner support for the war. On BOTH sides.

I am sad and shamed in my heart at the state of my brethren. I wish I had a solution, but the only real solution that I can think of is a complete paradigm shift in human consciousness. And I can't see that happening without an extremely traumatic event to catalyze it. This makes me very scared. I want humanity to make it to the next level without having to kill most of us off in the process.

But my hope continues to die.

I am aware of the brutal decapitation of Nick Berg by Al Quaida members, but due to certain discrepencies in that series of events, I have chosen to withhold judgement until more information is available. If this act was actually carried out as reported, then it does indeed make me sicker in my heart than anything above. But at the moment, I am not sure that it happened as it was reported.