The man who brought the Iraq prisoner scandal to light is now the most hated man in America.
Army Spc. Joseph Darby could not stand to see the abuse of Iraq POWs and reported the abuse to his superiors. That one conversation brought the US military system to its knees as other abuses were uncovered. Darby, had done the right thing. He had done what was expected of an American soldier under the Code of Conduct.
All his good deeds have done only one thing - Darby’s family has been threatened, their home vandalized and their property damaged. Darby and his family are now in protective custody – the first step towards entering the witness protection program.
Darby saw the abuse going on, he knew the Geneva Conventions, and he knew it was his responsibility to report the abuse, even if it meant turning against his friends, his unit, and his commander. He told his wife about the mental anguish he was wrestling with, and his fears about doing what was right and proper. With conviction, and a moral fortitude that is rarely seen in America, he stepped forward and gave his commander copies of the photographs that were on a CD.
Instead of being congratulated by his friends and neighbors, Darby and his family are now the victims of contempt, malice, and outrage. In a public interview, Darby’s wife said "We did not receive the response I thought we would. People were, they were mean, saying he was a walking dead man, he was walking around with a bull's-eye on his head. It was scary".
Mrs. Darby went onto say "I received a reality check from the people in my community where Joe and I lived," she added "I mean, I was an EMT, I was a firefighter … I helped these people every day and then this happened and it was like everybody turned, you know, and I was very surprised."
Even her family friends have turned their backs on the Darby family.
Darby’s action may have saved the lives of other Iraq POWs – we will never really know. But it is also a safe bet too.
Army Specialist Darby hung onto, and kept sacred, the highest values of the American fighting man. He defended those who could not defend themselves. Darby took to heart the words Truth and Justice. Rather than seeing his unit stoop to the behavior of the Hitler SS einsatzgruppe, Darby stepped forward to make a difference for the better. He did what a true American should have done.
What is most threatening is that America talks values – and when someone exemplifies those values, America wants that person dead. We speak about honor and we reward dishonor. Or is the real American value, do the crime and cover it up?
The next question is how will the US military revenge themselves on Specialist Darby. The military doesn't like honor either.