Who to blame (redux)

So it looks like Professor Osgood is helping me make up my mind about who to blame regarding Abu Ghraib. Here is a graf from what he wrote in today ‘s Washington Post:

Military sociology has at its core two powerful insights. First, military organizations reflect in many ways the societies from which they emerge. If a society condones brutality and lewdness, you will find soldiers beating prisoners and copulating with one another while their comrades take souvenir snapshots. If a society has no norm of chief executives accepting responsibility for their corporations’ moral and financial failures, do not expect generals to line up to say: “It happened on my watch, and I therefore offer the secretary of defense my resignation.” In some measure, societies get the militaries they deserve.

Second, to control the use of violence amid the terrors and hardships of war, armed forces must create unusual institutions, mores and habits. When the country sends men and women to war, it asks them to endure physical and mental misery — heat, dust and hard labor on the one hand, separation from home, boredom and fear on the other. Government equips these men and women with devastating weapons, and even when it attempts to limit their use of force, it must give them great discretion. Unless subjected to thorough training, relentless discipline and solid leadership, normal products of our society — individualistic, hedonistic, often unreflective and rarely far-sighted — will act badly. For that reason, Abu Ghraib reflects not merely the actions of a few sadists who somehow slipped through the net but a broader failure of military leadership.

In the end its us.