"It doesn't matter what stupid reasons we went into Iraq, we're going to get a good outcome."
"Sure, I mean they've done some bad stuff in the prisons, but at least they're not cutting people's heads off."
"It looks horrible when we see the pictures, but we don't know what kind of information they were trying to get out of them."
I spoke once, was rebuffed with a snort. "Amnesty International and the Red Cross? They're so full of bullshit, you can't believe anything they say." I retreated; unwilling to engage in a debate I was sure to lose. Because my fellow students have rationalized. Every statement is a statement of fact followed by "but".
"Bush may not be the smartest guy we've got there, but it takes intelligence to become president."
Do they not understand, O Best Beloved, that there is no "but"?
Our soldiers, chosen representatives of our country, have transgressed on moral territory and we have been shamed. Our people have sinned, if you will. We are culpable. And to insist that the degree of our sin, visited upon an unknown number of victims, is somehow relevant to our moral stance is simply wrong.
We have claimed that our mission is humane and moral, that we bring peace, prosperity, and freedom to Iraq. We cannot make that statement and act in defiance of those self-same ideals.
We have done wrong. If we are repentant for that wrongdoing, we must face the consequences and attempt to make reparations. There is no but.