Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Alabama unit turned scandal into lesson

News staff writer
When the Abu Ghraib prison scandal erupted, members of an Alabama National Guard military police company tried to use it to teach future Iraqi police officers that a democracy reveals its faults and deals with them.

The 214th Military Police Company, based in Alexander City, has just returned to the United States after nearly a year's tour in Iraq. Unit members spent about half their tour training cadets at a Baghdad police academy.

Some weeks back, when photos and reports surfaced of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, 214th soldiers were still teaching at the academy. The company commander, Capt. Johnathan Clifton, said he discussed the controversy with classes of cadets and sought to use it as "a learning tool."

"We were trying to teach, you know, democratic policing, and ... they say, `You're not practicing what you preach,'" he said.

Clifton said he told the classes that even in democracies, there are people who break the laws, "but they will get punished for it."

Team leader Lt. Jim Napier said 214th members tried to teach the cadets about such things as democracy, women's rights, domestic violence and child abuse. "They didn't know how to take us and everything, but after about a week or two, they realized that we were there to teach'em and you know, a lot of us made some friends," he said.

Clifton said that in his view, most Iraqis want a functioning democracy, but they also want to have confidence in their police.

"They wanted their police to be respected when they came into the neighborhoods, and they wanted them to be enforcers of the law for the people instead of for the government taking it out on people," Clifton said.

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