Thursday, June 08, 2006

Another Contradiction in Terms: Military Ethics

It gets harder and harder to do decent satire these days. The real has become surreal, the truth is so twisted we cannot detect it. Yet hard as it is, satire is the only option. Here is one shot at it.

Military Ethicists on the Loose in Iraq!

DOD Announces New Rules of Engagement.

Military experts in ethics and the honorable warrior tradition are now on tour in Iraq in order to educate our soldiers about such issues as murder and torture. Meanwhile back home the military leaves the Geneva Convention article on detainees out of the new edition of the Army Manual. Must be because the folks who know ethics are out of town, providing remedial ethics to soldiers overseas just when we need them most in the Pentagon. In their absence it is not hard to imagine mr. rumsfeld’s ethics training.

So, Troops, here is your Ethics One-Zero-One Workshop, the new Rules of Engagement. Listen up!

Do not shoot unarmed babies three years of age and under. We understand your anger, but you must realize that it is bad publicity, and we simply cannot have it.

Before shooting unarmed children between the ages of four and seven, always check their birth certificates to be absolutely certain they are over three and you can prove it. If you cannot find the certificates, you may leave them handcuffed to their dead parents. That should be sufficient to show them who has the power here, and teach them how real men use it. When they grow up they will be sure to follow your example and perhaps add a few elaborations of their own.

If you must shoot unarmed civilians, handcuff them loosely so they do not show scrapes or bruises. Remove the handcuffs after they have been killed, and bury them very deep before you blow up their homes to hide the atrocity. It is less likely that anyone will look further under the rubble if they do not see the signs of burial.

Always establish a perimeter around such sites and post signs indicating “No Relatives and No Reporters Allowed.” “Cameras prohibited within 300 miles.” Confiscate all photos and videos taken by your buddies and destroy them immediately.

Always remember that some people may believe even the testimony of Iraqi ragheads – er, a -- civilians. After all, they’ve lied to our people fewer times lately than the DOD. So make sure no possible witnesses can testify.

Never serve in the Army as a private, corporal or sergeant. In fact, always enter the service as a major or a general. Privates, corporals, sergeants, even lieutenants and captains may be prosecuted for atrocities. To avoid such penalties, always be a high-ranking officer. Make that a condition of your enlistment. If possible -- to escape all accountability for anything and everything -- just be President.

That should about cover it for ethics, troops. Follow these new rules of engagement in every circumstance. That’s an order. Do as you’re told, and you will serve your country well. God Bless you all.