Poor Leadership is Responsible for Iraqi Prisoner Atrocities

Essay by S.EftinkUniversity, Bachelor'sA, May 2004

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Donald H. McGannon once quoted that "Leadership is action, not position". The author of a recently published Associated Press article titled "Troops Reprimanded for Abuse", sited training as the reason for the abuse of prisoner in Iraq. I don't believe training should be solely blamed as the cause for these atrocities. I believe that poor Leadership is the cause for the behavior US soldiers demonstrated against Iraqi prisoners. As a recently retire Military Policeman from the United States Air Force, I find the actions of a few Army Soldiers to be an abomination against everything I spent twenty-two years protecting. This Associated Press article sited Seven soldiers, six officers and one enlisted, who have received reprimands and been relieved of their duties for actions resulting from poor leadership. The article slanted the perception of the incident as the lack of training being the key in the actions taken by the guards.

I believe even more apprehensible then the people who committed the acts, are the people placed in the leadership role that failed to lead. In my view, poor command or leadership is the cause of this brutality and should be held responsible, not inadequate training.

I can attest to the many hours of training that the Army provides its soldiers and anyone working with them, in regards to the protection of prisoners. As a military policeman I was assigned for four months as a guard at Camp X-Ray in Guantanimo Bay Cuba, watching Cuban Migrants. The training I received from the Army consisted of: one week of book or instructor led lectures, followed by two weeks of hands on teaching inside a mocked-up camp. Once our initial training was complete, we received additional training on a weekly basis ensuring our knowledge would not perish. Further proving my point...