Matt Towery
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 For instance, would the public's opinion have been different on this issue had the events occurred immediately after 9/11? While pictures of female soldiers laughingly pointing at nude male prisoners may be disturbing, how disturbing would they be were they juxtaposed with freshly published pictures of bodies hurled from one of the Twin Towers?

 Some argue that those who are facing a military tribunal are scapegoats, offered up rapidly to the press and public in order to brush the entire issue under the carpet.

 Others, however, believe that the actions of these U.S. servicemen and women must be judged on a stand-alone basis, and that these particular soldiers should have stood up to any superior who might have ordered or encouraged such behavior. These are sticky issues for anyone, but particularly for those who have never served their nation in combat.

 Just as the nation seems closely split on almost every issue, the decision with regard to those accused of abuse is a virtual tossup. And from a political point of view, it becomes even more complicated. The critical "swing voters" who call themselves "independent" believe soldiers who were following orders should not be found guilty -- by an amazing 49 percent to 41 percent, with the rest undecided. So, conviction of these accused servicemen and women may not necessarily go over well with a critical group of voters.

 Some will recall in "A Few Good Men" that one of the convicted Marines explains to the other defendant why the jury found them guilty, even after learning that they were following orders. He says that the two servicemen were supposed to stand up for their weaker colleague.

 That begs the question of whether or not an Iraqi prisoner of war deserves the same such consideration.

 And if these trials are to follow the script of the movie, will there be charges filed against superior officers? Based on the results of this poll, America seems so unsure on the entire issue that, as Nicholson's character from the movie might say, "We can't handle the truth."

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Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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