I didn’t blog about this event when it occurred, but the “orphaning” of an Iraqi family who accidentally ran a road block was one of the most shocking things about our involvement in Iraq (Be sure to read the original article about the scandal). Nothing speaks more than the corruption of the American military justification than its crazy rules of engagement. I cut out those photo from a magazine and keep it on my desk and look at it everyday. At one point I was going to email this photo to all my friends, but then thought, what’s the point? Pro-Bush friends are going to ignore it or protest, while liberal friends will only become more enraged. Does anyone really doubt that American soldiers are doing terrible things in Iraq? I’m sure the soldiers “didn’t mean it” (as if that’s supposed to exonerate them), and it will be written off as a cost of waging war.
Imaginathon reports a followup about the photojournalist being banned from military duty. Which is fine. When reading the original article I was struck by how neutral and nonjudgmental the tone was, when clearly the event deserved harsher words. I thought that Chris Hondros was letting his unit get off too easily, but maintaining a balance between access and journalistic commitment is a fine line to walk.
Imaginathon reports that an American charity has been set up to help the children. Apparently the standard military payout for wrongful death is $2500, something that is woefully inadequate (though it would serve some kind of justice if the person who killed the innocent civilian had it deducted from his salary). Actually, I don’t really fault the men in the ground in this case. I fault the military leadership for setting up ridiculous rules of engagement and poor planning.
About the charity. They have a nonprofit tax ID number and were written about by the LA Times (which probably investigated to make sure the charity was legit). BTW, making a scam charity out of this event would be a really clever money-raising scheme for the unscrupulous. Charitable acts don’t atone for heinous acts like this, but they make the shame of it a little more bearable.