I received an e-mail from amazon.com today about this book: Stjepan G. Mestrovic, The Good Soldier on Trial: A Sociological Study of Misconduct by the US Military Pertaining to Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq (Algora Publishing, Aug. 3, 2009). Here’s a link. The author is a sociology professor at Texas A&M University. Professor Mestrovic has testified as an expert witness at several courts-martial, including cases arising from the Abu Ghraib incident. Has anyone read his book yet?
Here’s the publisher’s description:
A shocking follow-up study of Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq, the current work outlines the treatment of US soldiers who apparently were following their orders as they understood them and who were then accused of having committed war crimes. These include Corey Clagett and William Hunsaker, who were charged in the Iron Triangle incident, and Michael Leahy and Joseph Mayo (from the February 2009 case).
Chock full of quotes from documents and hard data, the book amply demonstrates that the US military has profound, systemic and immensely troubling flaws. In particular, says the author, the distinction between a good versus bad soldier as well as good versus bad Army has become completely, fatally muddled.
Here are some of the ironies that emerge from the facts: The Army treats its own soldiers, when accused of crimes, the same way it treats detainees at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, complete with sleep deprivation and chains and stress positions. The soldier prisoners even have to take showers and sleep in chains. There is absolutely no rational need for this.
In addition, when soldiers act wrongly as a result of their understanding of the assigned Rules of Engagement, how are the officers to be treated?