It is hard to believe this but I am generally a fairly content person. There are definitely things about my life that I wish were a little different. For the most part though, I have accepted that some things are simply the way they are and live my life around them. I also worry a lot which is troublesome. I could afford to worry less. I guess what I am trying to say is that I really do feel that I am fairly optimistic, full of hope, have a smile on my face and am generally content. Now that I have said that… doesn’t it make you wonder about my blog? My blog is rarely about uplifting things. It is often about frustrating things or things that have happened that are out of the ordinary. Rarely is out of the ordinary a miraculous event for me. It is usually another frustration – like my darn car keys!
I am not so sure why my blog does not show my happy face. Perhaps, I use this blog to process my thoughts. It is not too hard to process happy thoughts. Happy thoughts are rarely confusing and almost never keep me up at night unless I am looking forward to it so much that the anticipation is about to kill me. That happened when I went to Guatemala both times. The first time I was petrified and excited and the second time I was just plain excited because I knew I would have a good time.
So…. the real reason for this blog is an article I read in the newspaper about how an Iraqi contract interrogator felt after he returned from Iraq. His story is here:
The story is depressing. Obviously, it is very sad and horrifying to have to read about the abuses in Iraqi prisons that were perpetrated by the American military and by association – our American leadership. Somehow America’s stated mission of hope for Iraq took a very wrong turn.
This story is also uplifting. I have to admire this man despite what he has done. I can not understand how the man could participate in such abuses regardless of his orders. Although his ability to follow those orders mystifies me, it does not take away from his courage now. It takes great courage to stand up and tell people about something wrong that you have done and admit that it was wrong. It is so much easier to pretend that it didn’t happen and to sweep it under the carpet. He surprises me the most by admitting that doing nothing was as wrong as doing something.
"While I was appalled by the conduct of my friends and colleagues, I lacked the courage to challenge the status quo. That was a failure of character and in many ways made me complicit in what went on. I’m ashamed of that failure, but as time passes, and as the memories of what I saw in Iraq continue to infect my every thought, I’m becoming more ashamed of my silence."
How much easier would it have been to say, "What? I was just following orders." and blame it on someone else. As my mom always said, "Would you jump off a bridge if someone told you to?" Who wants to admit to a failure of character or any other failure? Strangely enough, only a courageous person seems to be able to admit to that.
How much easier it would have been to simply keep silent about it. Instead, this man puts his name and his email address to his story. He owns it. How many emails will be negative or abusive? How many emails will support him in speaking out? He wants to help our country and government learn from our mistakes. Like he said… it is so hard to learn from mistakes you actually know about. How much harder is it to learn from mistakes that you never knew you made?