It’s like a scene out of the movie, A Few Good Men that starred Tom Cruise and Demi Moore, where the two Marines carry out a “Code Red” on a Marine for not following the code of honor.
A group of soldiers beat the hell out of one of their own for violating their own code of honor, specifically for over his fellow soldiers drug use and the deaths of three Afghan civilians. Unlike the movie, the soldier didn’t die, but according to one of the officials investigating the incident, the soldier was “beaten within an inch of his life,” according to AFP.
The military, naturally, promised disciplinary action and that’s probably what will happen. And they deserve whatever they get (and more.) About 10 soldiers are being investigated, although it remains to be seen what will become of the investigation of the drug use and the dead Afghans; in all likelihood, the investigation will conclude with prison sentences and declarations from the powers that be that the actions of these soldiers do not, in any way, represent the military as a whole.
Yet there’s something familiar about these soldiers actions – the cover-up. It brings to mind a few of the military’s own recent attempts at whitewash:
Gardez, Afghanistan – April 22, 2010
Baghdad, Iraq – July 2007
Haditha, Iraq – Nov. 2005
Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan – Nov. 2001
Add to this the wars and occupations – which are criminal to begin with – crafted in Washington by elected officials and the Pentagon that lead to these atrocities in the first place. Where are the prosecutions for their much bigger and more destructive crimes?
Conclusion – It’s not whether the punishment fits the crime, but the rank and position of the criminal that determines punishment.