2. I’m glad to know the results got published (albeit with a delay, apparently for political reasons).
3. I’m glad to know that the vast bulk of the soldiers and Marines have gotten a clear message from their commanders that maltreating civilians is a no-no.
4. I’m not surprised that 30-40% approve of torture under some circumstances; after all, that means the average grunt has better morals than the average Senator or the average Bush crony, and the folks in the field are under a lot more pressure.
5. I’m not surprised that only half of them say they would report theft or assault by a comrade; that means the average grunt has better ethics than the average Congressman or the average cop.
6. It is surprising, and distressing, that only 30-40% think their NCOs and officers have moral or physical courage.
7. It is not reassuring that a twentieth report having hit or kicked civilians “when it was not necessary” and a tenth report having destroyed civilian property “when it was not necessary.” Remember, that’s when they didn’t think it was necessary. I suspect some of the respondents were giving themselves the benefit of the doubt. Precisely when would it be militarily necessary to kick a civilian?
8. It’s really not reassuring that between a quarter and a third admit to having insulted or cursed Iraqi civilians. Does the term “honor culture” ring a bell? (That’s why kicking is so bad: it’s a deadly insult.)
9. The survey asks whether the repondent would report a comrade for stealing from a civilian; the responses were about the same as for assault and destruction of property. Respondents weren’t ask whether they, personally, had stolen anything, but from the fact that the question was asked it seems likely that it’s been a problem. That’s bad news. Assault and destruction of property are wrong, but the line between justified and unjustified behavior isn’t perfectly clear. Theft is theft. And theft from the occupied population is likely to bring the mix of hatred and contempt that is most toxic to our cause.