Wednesday, May 04, 2005

One little vowel

There comes word now that Ms. Lynndie England isn't wrong - just sick. (Wing-tip to our friends at the Coalition.)

Lame-O. The big issue is of course the impact on morale and the support for the troops back home. There's another big issue coming into play, though, and that's the general mad rush (and yes, it is madness, not just a turn of phrase) to make all moral defects some other sort of defect. You're not wrong, my dear child - just deprived, or disturbed, or ill. The only guilty thing is your conscience, and it's time to be cured of that bothersome fiction!

Naturally, this means that nobody is responsible for anything ever. You might as well close down every criminal court and turn the buildings into psych wards. You can't punish a psychological condition. You can only heal it. See how much more kindly and humane that is?

Except... it means that instead of punishment, the detainees get treatment, whose effectiveness and duration are judged solely by the jailors. The end result is endless, indeterminate sentences, with those in stir subject to any amount of psychological meddling. (Why, yes, I did read "That Hideous Strength." Lewis really knew how to make a point.) Paradoxically, this is far worse than simply clapping the guilty in irons and sticking them in a concrete box for ten years. At least they know how long they've got left to serve, and at least their mind is their own, and not the playground of well-meaning fools.

What's more, treatment will be doomed to failure, because there isn't anything mentally or physically wrong with a great majority of these people. They're not deprived, but depraved; not sick, but wicked. They need to choose better, and then they will discover that they in fact become better. "Children learn what they live," the old poster says. Start behaving civilly and you become a more civil person. That's a lot simpler than a yakfest about root causes and trauma - which they will only resent. And in contempt, they will play the system. "Still sick, Your Honor," says the three-time rapist. "Low self-esteem," says the gang-banger. "Not breast-fed," says the pimp and the pusher.

So, it's crueler to the criminals themselves, and an absolute disaster for the innocent. Too bad the parents will have so little chance to keep them straight from the beginning. Raising children at all becomes an impossibility if right and wrong are medical conditions. The doctors, who know best (especially Dr. Phil and Dr. Ruth), will do it scientifically. And that's how you get such anti-concepts as, "He doesn't know any better," "they're going to have sex anyway," and "Whatever you believe is true."

And those concepts are hard to fight. Even the judge is buying it. Nota bene, friends - criminals are basically career opportunists. There are real children who really are born addicted, and adults who suffer real mental and physical illness. How will they get the help they need if their aid programs are clogged with able, clever wrongdoers?


nightfly said...

UPDATE - Bought and paid for.

I don't know the Uniform Code of Military Justice very well; wouldn't it have been more proper to allow the prosecution to suggest that Mr. Graner was trying to cover for his lover, and the mother of his child? That his testimony was somewhat biased?

And will any feminists in the crowd explain how it isn't condescending for Pvt. England's lover and the judge to say, "No, dear, you must not have known, we know better"?

The Barking Spider said...

Here are two Articles of the UCMJ by which all these clowns are probably being tried:

Any person subject to this chapter who is guilty of cruelty toward, or oppression or maltreatment of, any person subject to his orders shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.

22 years ago, when I was a young Staff Sergeant, a senior NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer, or No Career Outside)talked to us about a Lt Calley and the village of Mi Lai in Vietnam. We were told that we were OBLIGATED to disobey illegal or immoral orders. If W himself flew to Yabba Dabba Doo Prison and told Pfc England, "Darlin' why don't you get some of these prisoners nekkid and stack 'em up for me." She would STILL be guilty.

Toss in the fact that her official duties did not take her anywhere near prisoners.

All of them should get the book thrown at them, if only because of giving that drunk Teddie a reason to bleat.