"It was not just these six people .... Yes, the beatings happen, yes, all the time."
A more telling statement, perhaps, came from Spc. Dave Bischel:
"We were constantly being attacked, we had terrible support ... also being extended all the time, a lot of us had problems with our loved ones suffering from depression. It all contributes to the psychological component of soldiers when they get stressed."
Absolutely right. These soldiers are being set up to fail, because they are stressed, they are angry, they have had their tours of duty extended, they work with the prisoners for too long, they lack quality supervision, they have poor living conditions, they lack adequate facilities and leaves to fully destress and decompress, they are regularly under attack, their duties are not rotated regularly, etc. Also, it is unreasonable, perhaps, to expect reservists to function at the same level of skill and with the same degree of training as seasoned army MPs.
Frankly, this makes me concerned. Why? Because there are LiveJournal users (who I won't mention) serving as reservist MPs in Abu Ghraib right now, and they have had their tour of duty extended past the initial year in Iraq, do work very long hours, don't have adequate time to decompress, aren't given enough leave, do have tough living conditions, and do face attacks on a regular basis.
Here is an exerpt from Maj. Gen. Taguba's report on the Abu Ghraib abuse:
"I find that psychological factors, such as the difference in culture, the Soldiers� quality of life, the real presence of mortal danger over an extended time period, and the failure of commanders to recognize these pressures contributed to the perversive atmosphere that existed at Abu Ghraib."
What is needed is more evidence of actual changes in policy in Iraq, and fewer empty promises out of Washington. We in the United States have had enough promises from our government, and Allah knows that the Iraqis have had enough empty promises. Only real, tangible, on-the-ground changes will start to heal the damage this scandal has done to our nation, not just at home, not just in Iraq, but worldwide.