The Photos

I was a soldier. I was a sergeant, who taught five-hour training sessions on the Geneva Convention and the Laws of War. And I’m disgusted, and I hope you’ll let me tell you why.

The two soldiers in the photographs, as well as the others you may have seen in more recent pictures, will be imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. And they deserve to be, and more. Not only have they violated the military’s rules and international law, they’ve forgotten the reason why such laws exist, the moral imperative: whatever the horrors of war, the people on the other side are human beings, with families, with lives. Most soldiers understand that, and understand better than anybody else the horrors of war. Academics can cry for peace from their ivory towers, but soldiers are the ones being shot at, and they understand that the other guy is just like them, with wives, with kids, with lives. Just like them. —Mike Vitia

The Photos (Vitia)

A powerful, painful essay.