My Lai brings back embarrassed memories to anyone familiar with the events there. An enduring part of the collective memory is the shooting of a Vietnamese man with his hands bound by a U.S. serviceman. Perhaps more than any other element of the Vietnam War, the enduring images and memories of stuff we, the United States as a whole, did wrong in that war has led to a collective guilty conscience.
    We have fought a lot of wars as a nation and one thing that has always set the U.S. apart is we did it “right”. We did not stoop to returning atrocity for atrocity, we did not engage in “illegal” warfare even when things were hairy during the World Wars and so forth.
    That is why the misdeeds of our soldiers in Iraq cause such angst. When we hear of soldiers who murdered helpless, innocent people it tends to make our blood boil. We want to believe we are better than that.
    It is not yet clear for sure what happened on the road by Hamdania. What is clear is Awad was killed and the evidence looks an awful lot like murder.
    It would be very easy to accept the belief that in a world where everyone seems like an enemy, the true enemy is elusive and hard to bring to justice, that such behavior is justified and acceptable.
    It is good that we as a society stand up and say no. It is right that we do prosecute our own. We are the U.S….we do it different. We do it right.
    Bacos gets it dead on correct when he says, “I wanted to be a respected corpman, but that is no excuse for immorality.”
    No matter how hard it gets, we cannot sink to the level of others. We must, as a nation, hold ourselves to a higher standard. There can be no excuses allowed for immorality.

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