Words can not express what I am thinking right now after reading this:
If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.
“In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.”
There is a special place in hell for folks like Sey Hersh, who it appears would like nothing more than to turn our soldiers into villains. I have come to the conclusion that this war was a mistake, and that this administration was wholly unqualified to successfuly prosecute this war, and I think there are a lot of people like me out there who once supported this war and now feel the same way.
But if Sey Hersh and whatever cohort he belongs to thinks we are going to return to the ‘glory’ days when we villainized the troops on their return, he has another thing coming.
If Hersh has details or pictures about possible war crimes committed by our troops- take them to the military so they can be prosecuted. Otherwise, STFU.
Here is a front page NY Times story on our guys. Should these guys be reviled, Seymour?
A couple of years ago I asked you why you didn’t like this guy. I guess I have my answer.
On the other hand, maybe he just botched a joke.
I get chest pains when I think about the possibility that our guys, coming home, might be jeered and called baby-killers and murderers.
Annnnnd, John’s a Republican again…
But to suggest that the treatment of returning Vietnam war soldiers by a tiny, insignificant fraction of the anti-war left was part of a broader social trend, is misguided.
ps, the guy in the NYT article. History’s greatest monster!
FYI, it’s usually written as “Sy” (despite Seymour being the full name). But more importantly, I agree. This kind of rhetoric is tactically and strategically idiotic. I also think Hersh is, oddly, buying the Republican frame that Vietnam veterans were greeted poorly, when that was largely not the case (i.e. all the stories of troops being spit on are apocryphal). But whatever, he’s still wrong.
Any troops that have committed crimes (Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, rape in Iraq, Haditha, whatever) should be prosecuted individually, and it shouldn’t serve to tar the soldiers with a broad brush.
However, the intentional confusion created of rules surrounding interrogations, the extended tours of duty created via stop-loss orders, the lack of body armor, etc. are certainly to blame if some soldiers have reacted to their hostile environment even more inappropriately than they might have in “normal” war time. Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney and the other civilian leadership are to blame for this.
Which is why I get so pissed off when people say it’s “irrational Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney hatred” or that criticizing the “Commander in Chief” hurts our troops. You know what really hurts our troops? The people who unnecessarily got 3,000 of our soldiers killed, 15,000 of them seriously wounded and many of them subject to legal prosecution because of poor leadership and guidelines.
There’s nothing irrational at all about hating the Republicans for doing this.
You’re kidding, right? Look, either Hersh is a big fat liar, or the government *already had* those details, and they sat on them:
I’d also like to know how much of this the Congress might have seen:
I honestly don’t sense this myself, that’s (v. bad) wishful thinking on Hersh’s part. I think there are clods in the military who have conducted themselves disgracefully on many levels but that’s par for the course — actual combat only exacerbates it (says the guy who grew up in a Navy family and saw more than a little idiocy along the way, along with much excellence).
Right now more than anything the sense I get is one of frustration and sorrow instead than condemnation. There are a lot of ruined lives out there, irrevocably changed for nothing.
Bingo, John. While Sy has had a fantastic career as an investigative journalist — he does seem to be hungering for a return to the old “glory” days, ie, when he broke the My Lai story. But if he is going to accuse the troops in Iraq of being the most “murderous” US Army ever — he should first go to print and to the military with what he’s got. (I believe it’s gotta be both – simply submitting his “evidence” to Rumsfeld’s military would guarantee that – even if it is accurate – it would never be made public.)
BTW – my OCD compels me to point out that the proper form of the idiom is: If he thinks ___, he’s got another think coming.
The Other Steve
Hmm, that’s not in quotes. The other paragraphs surrounding this in the article are in quotes. Why wasn’t this? Was the journalist paraphrasing?
That’s appropriate. Even worse, in my humble opinion, is if our soldiers have been placed in a situation which has caused them to *become* baby-killers and murderers. (And, not in the collateral damage, war’s rough kind of way — more in the, Baghdad is incredibly frustrating, I’m going to take it out on whoever is closest kind of way.)
BTW, this is one of the best books about the returning Vietnam Vets.
And, since we all know Republicans are going to try and pull this trick again, here’s more about the myths surrounding the role of the media in the Veitnam war.
Again, there are a lot of atrocities being committed in this war, perhaps more than in the past by our troops, but besides the individual soldiers who are nominally to blame, I blame the civilian and military leadership. The former for creating the entire situation and making it worse at every turn, the latter for not standing up for those in their charge.
First off, not ALL the stories of bad behaviour (spitting, thowing dog shit) towrds a returning soldier are apocryphal. It did happen once in a blue moon. However, it has achieved epic status in the minds of many people.
The greatest crime against the soldiers of Vietnam was that they were largely ignored, shelved away because they reminded people of a very ugly war and time. There could be no Vicotry parade, with ticker tape streaming down on them…so there was for many years just nothing…they returned home and disappeared.
Hersh should come forward with the evidence and quit whatever the fuck he thinks he’s doing.
I hope that, and I think we have, learned a lesson from Vietnam. Whatever you think of the war…son’t forget the individuals, the soldiers.
PB- I am not going to argue that war crimes have not been committed, as I am sure there have been some events (perhaps many morethan I wish to acknowledge.)
I will, however, argue that Hersh’s broad brush here is unfair, and I refuse to allow all our troops tobe villainized because some may have done something wrong.
Now, unless you think the entire Democratic caucus should go to jail with Tom DeLay for his crimes, I think you would agree with me.
Soldiers are people who are doing a job, one that I sure wouldn’t want to do. They don’t get to decide where they go and I don’t see any reason to hold the Iraq War against them.
They’re just trying to survive in a horrible situation.
Whether vets returning from Vietnam were treated like shit is a myth or not, it’s irrelevant in this particular context, since Hersh seems to think it’s true, and thinks it should happen to sollders returning from Iraq.
If I shared your interpretation of what Hersh said, I would agree with you. However, after the recent Kerry idiocy, I’m loath to condemn Hersh without at least a bit more of a transcript of what he actually said. That is to say, I’m not convinced that he was villainizing all of our troops–and actually, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t do that in the first place. You know, Hersh gets a lot of information from the troops. Look at this excerpt from the article, and tell me who Hersh would be blaming, or who you would blame, if anyone:
The Other Steve
The very definition of war involves bloodshed, the key is whether that bloodshed is directed and disciplined. There are three situations where atrocities occur. Either the leadership is compelling them(as did Nazi Germany), or the soldiers have been abandoned by the leadership and are off on their own(call it the Lords of the Fly, or Vietnam scenario), or you have a few bad apples(as was the case in WWII on the Allied side).
But ultimately, anything that happens is the responsibility of the leadership, because it happens within an environment they create. In the case of the WWII bad apples, that was understood and there were soldiers who were tried and convicted of crimes.
I do not know what is happening in Iraq. There are definately a few bad apples.
But it also appears that we have some combinations of leadership compelling atrocities, and leadership abandoning the soldiers. Neither of which is good.
But I don’t think you can blame the grunt soldiers for any of this. It doesn’t appear to me from the article context that Seymour Hersh is calling for that sort of blame. He’s saying that things are bad, and if the leadership doesn’t get it’s act together on this that is a likely scenario.
Man, I hope that doesn’t happen… but I think it’s terribly unfair to blame the messenger for pointing out what the leadership is failing to do.
Matt…that is what is so perplexing…does he want a repeat of the 70’s? What a messed up decade, it is the reason Reagan won..not just Jimmy Carter, but the whole damn thing…from Vietnam, the protests, Watergate, the fall of Saigon…disco (j/k).
The saddest thing is in so many ways this is turning into Vietnam redux, he seems to want to go all the way. Go after the leadership if this is so bad, go after Rumsfeld, Bush, whoever…
I had a rather lengthy discussion with a staff sergeant this past weekend at a party. He just got out of the army a few months ago and had been on three tours in Iraq. He said that as he was sitting outside the armory waiting for the bus, people were driving by honking, yelling and spitting at him.
Disgusting and sad.
I don’t think that’s a fair reading of what we were told he said, either. In fact, Hersh never even said that it should have happened during Vietnam, just that it did happen.
From the context, it seems to me that the first paragraph John quotes is simply a paraphrase of the second paragraph, so I don’t think he was literally urging people to spit on returning vets.
But anyway, I agree with John, this kind of broad-brush condemnation of the military is out of line. I’m a big fan of truth, and it’s disgusting how so many on the right tried to minimize Abu Ghraib and blame the media as opposed to the responsible parties. And it remains scandalous how it’s always the “bad apples” at the bottom of the food chain who take the heat for everything.
But even if you could show me that Abu Ghraib, Haditha, et al happen every day over in Iraq, my default assumption is never going to be that every soldier is a villain. There’s way, way too many good people over there for that. I’d love to have a military where there’s more accountability and control from the top, and where we could be more confident that bad incidents will be investigated and punished – but you complain about the military you have, not the one you might wish to have.
I’d imagine Hersh has seen a lot of things that I can’t picture and wouldn’t want to picture, but when you venture into this territory you have to stick to the cold, hard facts. Spreading the word that our troops, collectively, are bad people is just not right.
It’s not the leadership’s fault. Ask John Boehner. Rumsfeld is doing a great job. According to Rep. Boehner, the generals on the ground have screwed everything up.
Wow. Where do you guys live, and how many people are we talking about? I’d seriously be amazed if anything like that happened at the bases around here.
Are you actually serious? Where was this?
The Other Steve
That’s really the heart of it. Americans were so embarassed by that war that they made no effort to thank the soldiers who fought and died.
The other problem was that many soldiers came back in shock, and because of the lack of general care for what happened, there was not a support structure in place to support them. As a result, a few went bad. This created an unreasonable stereotype that vietnam vets were insane, and businesses wouldn’t hire them for jobs. This furthered the anger.
The movie Rambo explored that experience(even if it was exagerrated), and I think it did a lot of good in building up some self-esteem and understanding.
Context adds something to the extracted quote…imagine what the video adds.
I believe our soldiers have been sent to an impossible situation and are under such extreme stress that there are bound to be occasions where they “snap”. This is not the fault of the military, which has been so overextended that it is on the verge of breaking. It is the fault of the incompetent civilian leadership which never really understood the situation and didn’t plan for anything other than their pipedreams.
I’m a liberal, and I believe Sy Hersch has done good work in the past, but I’ve been leery of him the last year or so. He’s been insisting we’re on the verge of going to war with Iran, but the midterms are here and it hasn’t happened. We’ll see what happenes after the elections. It’s frustrating, because he depends so much on confidential sources, you’re forced to take his word for things or not.
The Other Steve
It’s Perry. I don’t think he was serious.
Somewhere in New Jersey, I didn’t ask him where specifically. It was an interesting discussion (we talked for a few hours). He said that overall he hasn’t run into many people that have been pissed at him, personally, for the war. The vast majority of people have thanked him for his service and wanted to hear about his experiences.
But there are always going to be a few asshats, including some douche that tried to start a fight in a bar.
This time I am.
The Other Steve
It’s hard for me to imagine just how terrible it is over there. The leadership has placed these soldiers into a situation where they may be attacked by anybody at any time. It’s gotta put you on edge.
At least in WWII and Korea we had a front. You knew when you were headed to the front, and when you’d fought the battle there was an opportunity to go to the back and rest for a little bit. Sure there were always some dangers of random snipers, or whatever. But it wasn’t a constant state of being in the battle under fire 24 by 7.
I just can’t imagine what that would possibly be like.
“Just following orders?”
Oh boy, was it exaggerated, but I agree and was thinking the same thing. As was said above, there was the drug-crazed vet myth, too. That wasn’t from a bunch of commie hippies, but from “Americans”…the commie hippies are an easy target from the distance of three decades, but they stand in for all of us.
Sy Hersh has already turned his evidence over to the Pentagon. The Pentagon isn’t interested. Indeed, most of the war crimes were ordered by Rumsfeld and the top leadersihp of the Pentagon. The Pentagon continues to refuse to follow a judge’s court order to turn over the videos and photographs that Sy is referring to. Amongst those videos is apparently the video of U.S. troops just randomly killing Iraqi civilians out of frustration, and another video of National Guard interrogators at Abu Ghraib torturing naked children in the presence of their father in hopes of getting the father to break. Supposedly the wails of pain on the part of the children are heart-breaking. Among the photos are the photos of a young girl being raped. Rummy continues to refuse to release these, saying that it would cause the insurgency to rise. The judge rather acerbically says, “given the situation in Iraq, it appears the insurgents don’t need these photos for motivation.” The question of how to get U.S. Marshalls into the Pentagon in order to arrest Rummy for contempt of court is the only thing keeping him out of jail right now.
The fact of the matter is that U.S. soldiers are trained killers. If they were not, they would be useless. The whole point of an army is to kill our nation’s enemies dead, and if they weren’t willing and able to kill, that couldn’t happen. You put these youngsters, barely more than children, into a situation that they’re not trained to handle (anti-insurgency police work) and expect them to interact with people they’ve been trained to have contempt for (it’s hard to kill people that you like), and, as the saying goes, “sh*t happens”. Anybody who thinks it doesn’t probably also believes that the rumors of American soldiers collecting VC ears in Vietnam are just vile rumors. (Hint: I know at least two Vietnam combat veterans who will tell you that they were *not* rumors).
Furthermore, the U.S. military in Iraq has engaged in widespread war crimes, such as demolishing an entire city as collective punishment for the death of four mercenaries, something not allowed by the Geneva Conventions (although at least, unlike with Lidice, they didn’t just round up the entire population and execute them first… instead, they allowed the women and children out of the town before they razed it with bombs and artillery fire, it’s not really an execution if it’s done with a bomb rather than bullet, right?). On the other hand, they are, as others have pointed out, just following orders, and it’s proper to look at the people who are giving the orders, not the people following them. I guess. Being a good German is so HARD… just ask the 33% of Americans who are still good Germans following their Dear Leader.
So anyhow, it’s war, and sh*t happens in war. These men are going to have to live with their consciences for the rest of their life, and unlike Sy I’m not going to condemn them for doing what they were trained and ordered to do. Anybody who thinks soldiers are perfect little angels sort of doesn’t understand the whole point of a military (said point being to kill other folks, hopefully folks who are themselves trying to kill us). The Busheviks themselves, on the other hand, would rot in prison for the rest of their lives if there was any justice on this planet. There isn’t, of course. There is only brute force, the iron fist, and sometimes the velvet glove over said fist, one such velvet glove being called “democracy” and looking rather frayed at the moment. But oh, what a beautiful glove it was, during its moments of glory before the American population went insane and decided to trade freedom for an illusionary perfect safety (something which I blame on Ralph Nader and his ilk who raised an entire generation to be hysterical ninnies, but that’s another post).
He didn’t say it should have happened, no. But this:
is disgusting. It smears every solider over there.
What a complete asshat.
Oh. I lived in Jersey for a year, and actually…
That sounds a lot like the traffic that was outside my window. Well, maybe not the spitting.
Just so. To which I wouold add that our leadership has also reflected the sentiments of its base in regard to Islamic and/or Arab culture, sentiment revealed daily at LGF, redstate and Free Republic: Zero understanding, zero interest and zero respect. What else is new?
That was Ben Tillman, hardly a paragon of justice, talking about Filipinos in 1899. This war, like most, is a racket.
And note the source: The McGill Daily is a student newspaper, from William Shatner’s alma mater. Who knows how biased this 19 old reporter is,and whether he had any editors reviewing his work.
As a final issue, if he plays competitive chess with a score like this then it appears he may be a rather dim bulb in any case.
Sigh. Capelza, during the early eighties, I spent a lot of time helping out in a church in the middle of a city. I met a lot of Vietnam vets. The overwhelming majority of the returnees were just good, ordinary folk who’d fought in a terrible war, but, yes, there were a lot of others who were pretty drug-addled, and, yes, some of them were pretty scary.
Were there more drug problems after Vietnam than there were after, say, WWII? I don’t know, although I doubt it. What I do know is that the problem cases were cut adrift without enough support, and that they were very visible in society.
I think it’s possible to compare armies or talk about the conduct of an army as a whole without smearing ‘every soldier over there’. Maybe you don’t, though. What if I said that the American army in Vietnam was more violent and murderous than the American army in Korea–i.e., more violence and murder actually took place? Does that somehow then imply that every soldier participated or was responsible for this? And what if I then attributed the cause to their rules of engagement and their particular situation there? And now, what if the situation in Iraq is worse?
Of course, I wouldn’t argue that our army killed all of those Iraqi civilians, because they manifestly did not, unlike those mentioned in Hersh’s soccer game video. However, we as a nation still bear much of the responsibility for all of the civilian deaths there as well, for having started this war off in the first place. Not that I started it, mind you, but I am a US citizen–and the same distinction is at work here.
What I’m saying is that you could certainly talk about that as a purely academic issue, if you think it would be a good topic for your senior thesis or something, but in terms of ordinary discourse I just consider it out of bounds to make sweeping generalizations about how murderous our army is. Stick to specifics. It’s a big army and you don’t really prove anything by talking about it as a whole anyway.
Where I live, a lot still are. I think a lot of vets gravitated to commerical fishing, you can “be yourself” more. People are more accepting of other’s weirdeness. There are a lot of vets in our fleet. And quite a few living in the woods near my house.
Yes, there were and still are some pretty messed up vets, but I am talking about the early 70’s. Actually if you think about it, there were, beginning in the 80’s a lot of messed up people in general, when funding for people in need of psychiatric care was cut. The canard of “local care” became the catch all for dumping people who should have been “in care” onto the streets. I saw this happen, literally.
The whole “drug-addled Vietnam vet” thing was a myth invented by the Republican establishment to discredit the returning soldiers. They did this because the returning soldiers were very “anti-war”, and very willing to discuss what went on over in Vietnam. The establishment couldn’t have this, because it would turn the public even more against them.
So, they pushed three myths as a way to deflect any blame: The media turned America against the war, Vietnam vets were spat upon (not just once, but as a condemnation of the entire anti-war movement) and Vietnam vets were drug-addled, PTSD-crazed, suicidal/homicidal nut-jobs.
And, to top it all off, the third myth is now being pushed as something the liberals did (i.e. we hate Vets so much that spitting on them isn’t enough, we also wanted to discredit them by inflating the bad stuff that happened after they came back to American society).
I GUARANTEE THIS WILL BE TRIED AGAIN so be forewarned.
Harry the Hop
Some soldiers have committed atrocities, as is bound to happen when you place soldiers in the hellscape Iraq has become. Its likely that if there’s video evidence it’ll eventually make it to the public. All soldiers, fairly or not, will have cope with the fact that these atrocities will tarnish the reputation of the military.
From the article linked to, I don’t see that Hersh saying thats a good thing or that he wants soldiers to be reviled, just saying its probably what will happen. And he’s right, it is probably what will happen. Lets not kill the messenger here.
The irony is thick anyway. I was living in Humboldt County, notorious hippie haven then. A whole lot of vets moved there and lived in the community and the communes. I shared a house with one. There was NO baby-killer crap from ANYONE…more of an embracing men who had been through hell.
Anyway…I’d like to hear Hersh’s response to this.
No, this book is.
As for your book, THE SPITTING IMAGE: MYTH, MEMORY, AND THE LEGACY OF VIETNAM
Who Spat On Whom?
Of course these guys are liars.
I’m confused. You link us to a story that states, “During his hour-and-a-half lecture – part of the launch of an interdisciplinary media and communications studies program called [email protected] – Hersh described video footage depicting U.S. atrocities in Iraq, which he had viewed, but not yet published a story about.”
Hersh is the same guy who broke Abu Grahib and My Lai. Given his track record of reporting that also contains evidence, if he claims he saw video footage of such an event, I lean towards believing him. His record seems to indicate we should give him the benefit of the doubt, wouldn’t you say? And as others have pointed out, much of the evidence is in lock down, held by the Pentagon and not to be released any time soon.
I can understand how your low tolerance for people who say things like “there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq” boils your blood, but to tell Hersh to STFU and go to Hell when Hersh’s record on revealing such atrocities with evidence to back it up is pretty damn good seems like you’re shooting the messenger, instead of being more angry at the politicians, military leaders and the particular set of soliders involved in these sorts of incidents who are responsible.
Andrei- blanket smears.
Pb – what Steve said.
I’m fully aware that some of our soliders have done terrible things over there. I don’t think we should whitewash that at all. But the specific incidents – Abu Gharib, Haditha, whatever else – are horrifying enough all on their own. Focus on them instead of making blanket statements about how murderous and violent our Army is.
There is another dynamic at work here, this time, that is different than Vietnam. So many of the troops in Iraq are Natl Guard…not regular soldiers. They have roots in their communities in a way that the regular military does not.
When they come home, it is really home, to their old jobs, houses, neighbours. We (that is my region) had a soldier called up at 52…it made the news. Sadly, he made the news again here recently, when he was killed over there at 53.
Another difference is the tours of duty are not once, but twice, three times…now THAT would lead to a stress I can not imagine.
Context adds something to the extracted quote
you must be new around here….Cole’s specialty is outrage over extracted quotes that, when read in their full context, aren’t outrageous at all.
Ok… blanket smears. I get that makes you angry beyond belief. I get that you might think Hersh should stick to his day job of being a reporter and not a judge of history or men in the public sector. (I assume that, I obviously can’t read your mind.) But you are asking Hersh to STFU and go to Hell unless he can procure evidence. Do you not believe his account of the soccer game incident? And if not, why not given his track record of reporting other wartime atrocities?
I know I for one am inclinded to not believe a lot of wartime atrocity stories that sound particularly heinous, but when stories like come from Sy Hersh, I have to take a few steps back and consider it’s very possibly true, not matter how ill it makes me. Simply because Hersh has a record to back this stuff up.
I’m not sure what I think about Hersh the man. Me personally, I care less about who Hersh is than the things he reports on. But the question remains for me, why do you not beleive Hersh? Unless I’m missreading you that is.
I get chest pains when I think about the possibility that our guys, coming home, might be jeered and called baby-killers and murderers.
Explain how the surviving Iraqis should feel about that you sick, solipstistic fuck.
When you sit back and think about things in a larger context, I think the issue (for Hersh and others) is that the United States military runs torture camps and that the majority of citizens were fairly unconcerned.
Apparently we have a pretty high bar for outrage. Unless Kerry says something stupid.
Meh. Andrei, I think John punched himself squarely on the chin about the evidence he reports; Hersh surely has the evidence he reports. OTOH, I, too, lose my temper about “there has never been an … army as violent and murderous as this one.” That’s one Hell of a claim — and given that American history includes Sherman’s army, not to mention Forrest’s Raiders, it’s one that I do not believe.
Because panties on your head is the worst/most horrifying thing you can do to a muslin male.
Worst then sawing a infidel’s head off with a scimitar or capturing and killing them and mutilating and booby-trapping the body.
Andrei- I think demimondian nails it. I have no problem with people rightly condemning folks who have done wrong- it is the sweeping statement that pisses me off.
Sy Hersh is a good investigative reporter when he’s actually writing, and backs up his stories with evidence (e.g. Abu Ghraib), but he’s admitted to being a lot less careful when speaking.
This sort of broad smear against the military is reprehensible and really speaks badly about his character. US troops are being killed and maimed and being put into impossible situations by a massive failure of leadership. That same failed leadership is what created Abu Ghraib and other atrocities, and abomonations like the end of habeus corpus and quasi-legalized torture. That same kind of failure of leadership created the mess in Vietnam.
Tell it to Congress, and to the Pentagon.
Abu Gharib, Haditha, Fallujah, Tal-Afar… Of course, some soldiers have spoken out or objected to the policies and practices they’d seen–or killed themselves:
Note to Nutroots: War Is Hell.
My advice for Sy is that he open for the Dixie Chicks. That would be a perfect audience for his anti-American claptrap.
Because raping women and children is the same as panties on the head. Well, if you’re a GOP congressman maybe…
Paul L, what happened to those two soldiers was awful, awful…I even went to JAWA to see, so I did follow your link.
Weren’t those soldiers killed in retaliation for Haditha? Again, not saying they deserved it all, but they were targeted specifically because they were from the same unit.
Someone correct me if I am wrong..I’m going by memory here.
The Other Steve
Filthy McNasty, President of the Nutroots Society finally gets it.
Which is why it is such a mistake to try to sell a war of choice and claim it will be limited action… we will be met by sweets and flowers.
Because there is never such a thing.
The Other Steve
I think you’re right.(assuming we’re talking about the same thing)
No action occurs in a bubble. A month before Abu Ghraib broke, there was a news story about how insurgents had been firing mortars into the women’s section of the prison. It made no sense, until you learned about the rape rooms.
This is the aspect of moral authority that the right wing nutroots doesn’t seem to understand. They say “They beheaded a guy! Therefore it’s justified to rape his sister.” But all that does is damage our own credibility in trying to stem the overall level of violence. Instead it promotes additional hatred of our soldiers, and the result is acts of revenge against soldiers who were unrelated to the original crimes.
It’s a rapid downward spiral and allows no way out.
It’s why the immoral Republicans cannot be in charge of this war any longer.
Pb – you don’t have to try to convince me that some of our people have done horrible things in Iraq. I’m as sickened by it as you are.
I still think it was a dumb fucking thing for Hersh to say.
As everyone knows, when you are in a downward spiral the only choice is to stay the course.
The Famously Obtuse & Willfully Dishonest Paul L could use a refresher, though, Pb:
What women and children were raped at Abu Gharib?
You must be thinking about UN peacekeepers.
BS, not even the same branch.
Haditha – Marines – 240 km northwest of Baghdad.
Captured soldier – Army – a traffic control checkpoint in Yusufiya, 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Baghdad.
Ok Cole and Demi… got it.
You need to catch up on the news cycle. There have been reports, coming from guys like Hersh, that the evidence in lock down from Abu Grahib shows some pretty nasty stuff. Obviously if true, the Pentagon doesn’t want to release it.
The issue is in the courts right now. But be careful what you say as it shows you obviously haven’t been following the whole story. Unless you don’t mind publicly admittng you are ill-informed on the issues you have such strong opinions about.
I think that’s his speaking style, actually. Check out this interview, for example. I’m not voting for him in 2006 either!
The women and children in the videos that the Pentagon has been ordered to release, but refuse to.
Speaking of captured soldiers, how’s it going with the soldier that was kidnapped? Do you feel good that we’re taking orders from al Sadr now? Even at the expense of rescuing one of our own?
Paul…you are correct in that I confused what happened at Haditha with the arrest of a fellow 101st Airborn soldier of the same group for the rape and murder of an Iraqi family..the one where the girl’s body was burned.
How about a link smartguy.
As for my opinion of Seymour Hersh.
Bolton Holds Kucinich’s Feet to the Fire on Iran; Sy Hersh Article “Fiction”
The worst part of it is…what if Hersh is right?
There has been a nearly unprecedented clampdown on information not controlled or censored in some form or another by the Pentagon in regards to what’s happening
in the prisons and the units without an embedded reporter.
The brass has already covered up and lied before…why wouldn’t they do it again?
Ohhhhh…Bolton really schooled him…the same Bolton that took part in the “Brooks Brothers riot” down in Florida during the 2000 election. You really wanna use THAT guy to discredit Hersh?
Note, I am not defending Hersh, it’s just that a get a chuckle out of people who forget that Bolton was one of the window pounders that brought a halt to the first recount. Yeah, stand up guy Bolton is.
Hersh: “If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.”
Would is not the same thing as should. Hes not saying we should treat soldiers just like baby killers, just that he thinks he would. Its a subtle distinction, but unless Hersh comments as to what he thinks is appropriate behavior, then its unfair to assume that what he thinks people would do is what he wants them to do.
Hersh: ““In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.””
This statement is plausible. There is an American army that earned this particular distinction, it is not outside the realm of possiblity that it is this one. Furthermore, Hersh is claiming that there have been some pretty grievous atrocities committed by US Soldiers in Iraq.
As for the painting with a broad brush, Hersh is talking about the military in aggregate. If this military has had an unusually high percentage of bad elements, and that the majority are still decent people, that high percentage of bad actors still reflects poorly on the military as a whole.
To assume that our military cannot possibly be conducting itself poorly is to fall into the world view of the Bush administration. That doesnt mean we should pronounce the troops guilty, just that I think we should find out the truth before we shoot the messenger. And yes, figuratively speaking I think we should shoot the messenger if he is a liar.
Nice. John Bolton declares an article by Sy Hersh about Iran–sight unseen–to be fiction. I don’t think that says anything about Hersh, necessarily, because that’s what Bolton has always done with intelligence he doesn’t like about Iran:
If Bolton doesn’t like it, it’s probably true, and vice versa. I’m glad he wasn’t confirmed, at least.
OMG! Bolton says an article he hasn’t even read is false, and Paul L. cites that as a source! Absolutely classic. It’s Darrell-style “argument by Google”; there’s not even a thought process taking place.
Why is it inconceivable that our men and women in uniform are, in the aggregate, oppressing and murdering?
Americans aren’t inherently less likely to be war criminals than anybody else.
Should we spit on veterans coming home? No, of course not. Nor should we deny the truth because it offends our patriotism. Nor should we stop from condemning those who have committed atrocities.
Whatever, moonbat. I hope you’re happy when John Kerry, Seymour Hersh and Lloyd Bentsen win next week and destroy the country.
There’s too many links to point to as the filter at BJ will stop the post dead. So follow the Google trail yourself.
John, if Hersh “takes his evidence to the military”, you know perfectly well what will happen. It will, in fact, be exactly what happened to almost all the evidence of individual war crimes committed by US troops in Vietnam as well as Iraq — it will be carefully swept under the rug. What the hell do you think they’ve been doing with it up to now?
(By the way, as the New Republic’s decidedly non-radical writer Anthony Lane pointed out in his very detailed 1995 piece “The Legend of Colin Powell”, Powell played a central role in the My Lai coverup by being assigned to “investigate” it and then deliberately and very carefully not asking the crucial questions of the soldiers who claimed to have witnessed it — just as we now know he was repeatedly warned before his UN speech of the actual unreliability of the “evidence” he presented there of Saddam’s WMD program. Colin is not a “hero”. Colin is and has always been a professional opportunist, a go-along-to-get-along type who, however, always tries to leave himself an escape hatch for when the fertilizer hits the ventilating apparatus — such as whispering about his REAL opposition to such-and-such a policy to various reporters, without actually announcing it officially. He is, in fact, an American Sgt. Schultz, and somebody should urge him to read that section of the “Divine Comedy” in which Dante describes the fate of the Opportunists.)
I feel bad for the guy. Paul L, here’s a tip: if you see Michael Schiavo coming your way, run! Run like the wind.
Well, if John Fucking Bolton says so…
What the hell is the point of that link, Paul? And I’d contend, Kucinich is holding Bolton’s feet to the fire, while Bolton is evading the question by playing the old Cheney card, “I haven’t seen that report.” and attempting to discredit the source.
Get a fucking clue Paul.
I believe Hersh, much as it pains me. One day in the future, all of this stuff will come out and it won’t be pretty. That said, demi, John, Pb and others have covered my thoughts on blanket condemnations.
Read my comment. I said this is my opinion of Sy Hersh. I did not cite Bolton as proof of anything.
Let’s see the proof of:
1) U.S. Marines are actually operating in Iran.
2) Rapes at Abu Gharib under the US occupation.
Dustbin Of History
Why bother? You’ll just find another way to spin around the truth to keep your delusions of Pope George I and his party’s infallibility afloat.
Oh, like you’ll change your opinion when the videos surface. Then it’ll be “a few bad apples” or “war is hell” or some other rationalization.
Vote Republican: It’s Easier Than Thinking
Dustbin Of History
I also approve of Firefox 2.0’s spell checker. I can actually spell infallible now!
There are many more supporting quotes from both sides of the aisle. As long as measures are taken to punish all those responsible and make sure it doesn’t happen again, I support the decision to keep these things under wraps in order to keep the level of Anti-American sentiment from growing any worse. But it’s unfortunate that the public only remembers what they’ve seen, and this allows Rush to get away with saying Abu Ghraib was like a fraternity hazing. It’s just not true.
All of which goes solely to the question of whether it’s likely that Hersh has evidence to back his claims. Either way, it’s appalling to blame hundreds of thousands of troops for the actions of dozens or hundreds of them. I don’t know if Hersh believes that all are to blame, or if he’s just saying that the public tends to be all-or-nothing about these sorts of things.
There is one general conclusion that we should take away from these sorts of atrocities, though. When considering whether we want to choose to go to war, we need to know that some good people will be forced to do terrible things, and some bad people will choose to do terrible things, and in a democracy, we all bear some responsibility for them.
Do you think the Pentagon should release the rest of the photos and video from abu Ghirab? If you really want to know what went on there, I’d suggest you contact the SecDef and let him know.
1) U.S. Marines are actually operating in Iran.
2) Rapes at Abu Gharib under the US occupation.
Now go away.
kevin lyda, co. galway
If Sy Hersh thinks abusing all returning soldiers is a good goal then he’s an ass.
That said, war is violent and murderous. In order to survive soldiers are forced to do things we are told never to do from childhood on. There are people who can handle that and come back intact. There are people who can’t, who commit suicide or otherwise shut themselves down. And then there are those who just keep on going – beyond violence and murder for survival to violence and murder for fun.
Soldiers are human beings just like all of us. Perhaps by not having a national service program we fail to grasp that. We fail to understand the hell we put them into when we send them to war. Those who brook no criticism of soldiers put them on pedestals few soldiers can reach. Those who criticise all soldiers have no grasp of the situations a soldier must be put through in wartime.
Michael Moore in F911 pointed out that when men become soldiers they sign up to a contract. They give up their freedoms to protect us under the understanding that those of us out of uniform will select compotent leaders to lead them.
In every war soldiers will kill innocents. And since we didn’t send enough troops, more of those difficult situations where soldiers have to react on too little info given in too little time to do their jobs. In every war most of those soldiers will come back haunted by those situations; those deaths. Some will be broken by it. I remember seeing a picture of a man who had returned from Iraq – 24 hours after the picture of the smiling soldier meeting his friends was taken he had killed himself.
Those of us lucky to only experience war through the cinema or tales told to us by those who have been there will never truly understand the painful memories men like that must feel.
Soldiers are not saints. They are not robots. They are people with all the nobility and frailty that entails. In the future we should respect those who sign up by asking tougher questions of our leaders and demanding greater accountability when they are sent off to war.
Urinated State of America
Well, let’s quote the grafs above John’s quote:
“During his hour-and-a-half lecture – part of the launch of an interdisciplinary media and communications studies program called [email protected] – Hersh described video footage depicting U.S. atrocities in Iraq, which he had viewed, but not yet published a story about.
He described one video in which American soldiers massacre a group of people playing soccer.
“Three U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving through a village, passing candy out to kids,” he began. “Suddenly the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming. Sixteen soldiers come out of the other vehicles, and they do what they’re told to do, which is look for running people.”
“Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control,” Hersh continued. “[The soldiers] open up fire; [the] cameras show it was a soccer game.”
“About ten minutes later, [the soldiers] begin dragging bodies together, and they drop weapons there. It was reported as 20 or 30 insurgents killed that day,” he said.”
I think this is a very thorny issue. First off, I want to say I generally agree that Sy Hersh is America’s greatest living journalist (a title he has credibly carried for decades)and no one (literally) has done more than him to expose the nefarious & horrifiying activities of the Bush administration. Having said that, yes, I think his specific comment here was pretty bad. HOWEVER, no one seems to be addressing the substance of his comment. While it is true that the soldiers themselves did not start this war, at some point it DOES become incumbent on individual soldiers to NOT carry out orders that are clearly immoral or can (and probably will) be construed as war crimes. The “I was just following orders” line hasn’t been considered a credible excuse for at least a hundred years, if not longer. If soldiers commit atrocities on the battle-field – up to and including torture, rape and murder of civilians and non-combatants, regardless of whether or not they were following orders – than they are guilty. Period. I’m not suggesting it is advisable or even a good idea to “spit on soldiers” or call them “baby-killers”, but there clearly is a disconnect between what soldiers have done in Iraq, and how they are treated by the media upon their return to this country. The tragedy and divisivness of Viet Nam papered over deep and abiding disagreements about how to deal with these issues at all. I don’t feel it’s appropriate to hold all soldiers responsible for US Foreign Policy, but, when individual soldiers KNOW that what they are doing is DEEPLY IMMORAL & FLAT OUT ILLEGAL, then they clearly have culpability for that. Bush isn’t prosecuting this war himself. It is the military that carries out his plans. I honestly don’t know what the answer to this is, but clearly, whatever the answer may be, it won’t be easy or pretty.
I wonder who’s really worse – Hersh, who definitely shouldn’t have made such sweeping statements, or people like Rush Limbaugh, who went the other direction and called Abu Ghraib a bunch of fraternity hijinks? John Cole has certainly condemned both in no uncertain terms.
At the end of the day, it seems to me that the enablers and excuse-makers have done an awful lot of harm.
Sy Hersch has been right about alot of things this administration and military has done. Most of his investigations were thought to be crazy and misguided everytime until his reports were corroborated later. For example, Hersch was the first reporter to report about the pre-war intelligence being “stove-piped” and how raw intelligence was going directly to Cheney and his Iraq Group and how that intelligence was being misused and abused to give the Administration a reason to go to war with Iraq. Hersch also broke the Abu Ghraib scandal. In both of these instances those on the right and the middle refused to believe Hersch’s report. Only now 3+ years later do we now see that Hersch’s reporting on abuse of the intelligence was how we got into this war, by a lying and sneaky Administration that refused to go throught the usual protocols and channels of intel gathering and interpretation.
99+% of those serving are men and women of honor. For Hersh to smear all of them with “there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq” is beyond disgusting. If some want to argue that isn’t what he meant, sorry, I must be too fucking stupid to see the delicate nuanced veils of meaning in his words.
Hersh as well as everyone else should be angry at in AF and Iraq in our names. Things like this…
(The above is from a story in Editor and Publisher 9/29/05. For some reason, I couldn’t get the link to embed properly.)
One of those witnessing torture alternative interrogation techniques of detainees back in 04 was an Army captain, Ian Fishback. Like many, he thought the new methods not allowed in Army field manuals for interrogations were approved. Until he saw Rumsfeld on TV in May 04 testifying U.S. forces in Iraq were following the Geneva Conventions. For 17 months after that, Capt. Fishback tried to get clarification from superiors. He didn’t get any. Probably because his military superiors weren’t getting any from this administration. You know, the one exemplifying new Republican responsibility and accountability.
Basically it boiled down from civilian leadership that we want you to do it, but we won’t approve it. If you’re caught and it’s publicized, you’re the bad apple.
You cannot find cowards more gutless than those leading this admin. War crime type events Rumsfeld mentioned are far, far more a direct result of failed leadership than that of a “few bad apples.”
If someone was to say something like, “The current crop of HS graduates are the most unprepared for college in history,” some students and teachers may feel broad-brushed.
Or, if someone said, “The quality of American automobiles is inferior junk,” autoworkers might feel the bristles as well.
Howzabout, “Blog comments demonstrate on a daily basis that man is a descendant of shit-flinging apes.” Wait a minute fucko! Now your talkin’bout me!
All of these groups* may feel a bit swiped by a broad brush, but if they take a step backward, they may find that the brush is actually much broader than they originally suspected.
*Except for that last one. That’s just a load of fucked-up bullshit that some asshole crapped from their mouth.
Let’s see the videos and photos that Hersch has seen, and then let’s judge what he’s said. Let’s see the evidence before we jump to a knee-jerk reaction.
Why do you suppose the government won’t release them?
I became of draft age in ’75 when Vietnam was ending. I actually thought seriously about enlisting as most likely a fairly safe time to do service. However, I just could not get past the idea of being ordered/compelled to kill those who may not be deserving of death as my government had claimed. The photo of the napalmed Vietnamese girl running from her village was the image that stayed with me. Even though the particulars of this scene do not exactly fit the scenario I’ve described, it embodies the concept of bringing death and destruction on a scale that when individuals do it, it’s usually prosecuted. Though I think Sy Hersh’s wording is pretty clumsy, there is a case to be made that at some point, that following orders or to keep slogging for the sake of your comrades in arms only perpetuates the injustice. Sad to say, if the troops themselves made a stand collectively, they could not be ignored. Most people know however, that to go against the conditioning instilled by tradition and in boot camp is awfully hard to do; especially if only a select few are choosing that option.
My connection with an Iraq veteran is from the friend of a son who was with Marine 1/5 WPNS for the fall of Baghdad. Upon his return I asked if he was willing to share any of his experiences with me. The first thing out of his mouth matter-of-factly was “We killed people for no reason.” He had under orders fired upon vehicles that crossed the perimeter line. He and his buddies would then have to go and inspect the vehicle that they had “lit up” only to find dead and wounded women and children screaming in fear and anguish and howling in pain.
He loved the Marines and would have stayed but he was no longer going to put himself in the position to kill people that he had no justification to kill. He is not a baby killer to be spat upon, but at some point, the people that really know what is going on have to cease being killing automatons. I do not know if I would have the guts to swim against the tide like that but at least when I had to examine the committment one makes to military service, I asked myself honestly if I was willing to delegate my power of life and death over another human being to our fallible and often corrupt leadership. It’s why I have the utmost respect for IDF refuseniks, because if there ever was a case where the collective mentality is pretty uniform, it’s with the Israelis.
By the way, my friend’s son Adam was written about in this book, though not by name: A Table in the Presence: The Dramatic Account of How a U.S. Marine Battalion Experienced God’s Presence Amidst the Chaos of the War in Iraq by LT. Carey H. Cash. It mentions the firefight that earned him a Distinguished Action Award (not sure of the name) when an RPG hit their LAV (Bradley?) and he returned fire as he tended to the Marine who had literally lost half his face in the blast. He mentioned as an aside that he had “hated that guy” and that just that morning was telling him what a major @sshole he was. Yet his training was such that he performed as required because the wounded was not some guy he couldn’t stand but a fellow Marine that depended on him to get them out alive.
After 3 1/2 years of Iraq I will lean to Sey Hersh
on this topic.
After watching Iraq for Sale, I won’t put anything past us.
The Halliburton sacks-of-shit who send guys out to die in the desert driving a convoy of empty trucks just so they can charge the government another million bucks (and so, accordingly, Cheney’s stock goes up another hundred grand) already have their special place in hell.
But what really sickens me is that the generals running the show over there, like Casey, are only in charge because the previous 9 or 10 guys said “fuck this, I quit.” They already abandoned any pretense of honoring that oath they swore to uphold the Constitution when they agreed to smile and nod while this bullshit private army of ours tortures and kills whomever they feel like. It really is like the fucking concentration camps over there. They tell these Blackwater assholes that they will never do a day in a jail or in a brig for killing Hajji, and then act surprised at the atrocities.
But then again, The Arab Mind is on the official reading list and The Milgram Experiment is not.
startshapedscar — I’d be exceptionally surprised if the Army War College didn’t require a thorough study of Milgram.
1) Hersh has earned his way into the pantheon of journalists who, for me, now require independent corroboration before I make any assumptions about what they write or say. So as you say, unless there is more evidence forthcoming, I’d say he should STFU, and he should be ignored.
2) Speaking as an obnoxious longtime opponent of this war, and one who considers all who put on the uniform to be heroes, I see no problem holding both of those ideas in one’s head at the same time. I blame the civilian authority for everything going on in Iraq, not the uniformed services. While I was here during the Vietnam thing, I was too busy working and supporting a family to notice much of what was going on around me WRT to returning vets in those days. My recollection is that the vast majority of citizens were personally supportive of and sympathetic to the vets.
3) Nobody I know thinks that any of the aberrant stories from Iraq are anything but aberrations, and not representative of anything. Definitely not represenative of our fighting forces.
“there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq”
So what’s the criteria you use to judge this statement as false on its face???
What, there is just no way American soldiers could be violent and murderous???
We know that American soldiers can be violent and murderous based on plenty of evidence in our history, backed by hard facts, including Hersh’s previous stories on Mai Lai and Abu Ghareb.
Are all or even most soldiers violent and murderous???
Obviously not! Hersh is not saying that.
The question here is one of degree, one that reflects on the Army as a whole.
What number of civillian deaths would back Hersh’s statement? 50K deaths, 200K, 650k, 1 million or two? How many killings would it take for Hersh to be right?
I am not saying that his statement is true. But he is saying something, that if true, its something we should all be ashamed of, as a country. Its our Army and we were supposed to be the liberators of this country.
But obviously there is some number that most would agree is too many. Maybe you all should state where you would draw the line before criticizing him for him having stated that he has seen that line crossed.
WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER??? How many atrocities are too much for YOU??
Then bitch if his number turns out lower than yours…
Well, evidently they’re not teaching it very well. Look at what happened at Abu Ghraib. You tell people only “do what you have to do” and “we will take responsibility for whatever you do” and it’s pretty east to predict what’s going to happen. Shit, that’s pretty much the textbook example of how to get otherwise normal human beings to do inhuman things, without even threatening them.
I will never believe that this was unintended. Never.
The reasons why some things have happened in AF and Iraq are not as easily dismissed as being explained by findings from the Milgram experiment. Nor is it that complex.
Put yourself in their boots for a bit. During a tour in Iraq you can be working 12-18 hour days seven days a week. In 120+ degree sand/dust filled heat carrying 70 lbs of gear. You’re baking in your body armor. Could be your second, third, or even fourth tour. You feel miserable.
You know people who one moment were whole, the next were in pieces after an IED. In your FOB, you’ve forgotten how many times you’ve stood listening to a few words you don’t hear while another box is going through the gate for a trip home. Generally you don’t know who is in the box for a few days as family must be notified first. Others you know have been evac’d who will spend months, years, or a lifetime dealing with injuries. All of these people you consider like family and closer than friends back home. Also back home, not uncommon for marriages and relationships to fall apart from the separations and stresses. Your kids are calling someone else daddy or mommy.
Given all that, you could begin to really dislike those outside the wire. Or those you have in custody. They’re the reason you’re stuck in that miserable place screwing up your life while they’re wounding or killing your friends/family. If that were you, and your family around you was being killed in ones and twoes and some suffering great pain, would you feel like getting a little payback? Many do.
Which is exactly why there must be completely clear and well enforced rules. No ambiguity whether Geneva Conventions are to be followed or not. No playing cute with winks and nods about what is torture and what is alternative interrogation techniques. Because without those enforced procedures/rules to guide your actions and hang onto, it is far too easy for anger to make your decisions.
That is what we had pre-Bush II. No one in this country or any others felt the Geneva Conventions were ambiguous needing unilateral action to clarify them for their country like the Military Commissions Act. Those training as military interrogators were taught you don’t use torture not only because it’s inhumane, but because it doesn’t work and its ineffectiveness costs you. Comprehensive field manuals for services existed containing procedures in minute detail.
And then the retards were in charge. They and their support base were frightened. Geneva Conventions were not to be followed in AF, but were in Iraq. Then they weren’t, then they were. Things could be done outside procedure in interrogation field manuals. What could be done? No one would give an answer. We want results, but we won’t look too hard at how you get them. Get corroboration of what we believe to be true and their heinous plans to achieve it. If it gets a little messy, well it’s okay with the big civilian dogs as long as they don’t hear the details and it’s not in the news.
That’s how you get Abu Ghraib and worse. Retarded admin cowboys in charge. Ones with no sense of personal responsibility or accountability. Nor honor or integrity.
Yeah, I’m sure, but those weren’t the guys doing the torturing. The guys doing the torturing were the mysterious “contractors” held accountable to no one. The ones with no fucking honor or allegiance whatsoever.
I know this is somewhat off topic, because this particular story doesn’t involve mercs, but Greenwald’s movie depressed and angered the hell out of me. This whole war is such a sickeningly corrupt enterprise, there aren’t words to describe the men responsible. I suspect that the concerted effort (and if you watch the way the Republicans have shot down every effort to end the disastrous and completely unjustifiable reliance on “private contractors”, it is quite concerted indeed) to create a parallel military stems not only from a willingness to sell out anyone and anything just to make a billion bucks or two.
No, there are people high up in our government who genuinely relish the idea of having our very own force of brutes and sociopaths to scare the shit out of everyone. And let’s be real here, whatever you think of Blackwater’s merits, the average Iraqi sees them as being about as honorable as the Waffen-SS and not one single Republican sees this as a problem. Far from it. The mercs are, to quote The Usual Suspects, protected from on high by the Prince of Darkness. Why? Because certain monstrous individuals have decided that they’re the only ones who can “get the job done.” I would, in fact, go so far as to say that the architects of the war view Abu Ghraib and similar instruments of terror as the centerpiece of whatever the fuck we’re doing over there.
This isn’t so much a “war” as a confluence of every horrible, evil desire in America rolled into one. And the soldiers are, by and large, dragged along. But it’s getting harder and harder to respect the generals who hold their tongue over this shit. I’m talking about how the mercenaries were the ones giving the orders at Abu Ghraib. That doesn’t just happen on its own. The military is rotting from the head down and if these guys think they will be forgiven in 20 or 30 years for taking the coward’s way out because they didn’t want to lose their jobs, I suspect they are sadly mistaken. Rumsfeld is not the only bad apple in this bunch, sorry. Sure, they had to go down to the ninth- and tenth-tier generals after numbers one through eight resigned in protest, but they’ve found their merry band of hacks willing to look the other way. Understand that I mean no institutional condemnation of our military, as I have high school friends in every branch, two of whom are over there right now. But I think it has been deliberately twisted and crippled and that’s why shit like this doesn’t surprise me anymore.
From what I’ve read,today’s military more carefully cultivates violent and murderous behaviour in order to overcome the human aversion to killing that has prevented soldiers in past wars from actually aiming and firing at the enemy.
I’ve never bought the bullshit about the way VietNam vets faced widespread scorn.I grew in a blue collar neighborhood in the 60s-the kind of neighborhood that provided the fodder for VietNam.While I was too young(barely),my friends older brothers weren’t-none of them complained about war protestors.It was the war they complained about.People forget you were a lot more likely to get your ass kicked or spit on if you were a longhair or war protestor than if you were wearing a military uniform back then.
I can thank one of those guys for the political epiphany I experienced when he brought my friend and I to the Winter Soldier investigation in Detroit.I don’t remember crying at the time because I was a tough young kid.I saw a documentary of the hearings a few years ago,now that I’m older,with kids of my own,and had to keep drying my eyes.It’s not Sy Hersh who deserves a special place in Hell-it’s the motherfuckers who create the circumstances for the worst part of us show itself.
Pardon me if I’ve been simply boneheadedly not paying attention, but hasn’t it been a long long looong time for the Marine Corps (?) Haditha investigation (the one that “Time” “broke”) not to have concluded ? And for crimes to be charged where appropriate and for the potential burden of charges to be removed where called-for as well ? I’m all for due process and fair and careful prosecutions, but there seems to be more than an unnatural degree of langor involved here.
war crimes are real. But the soldiers should get good rest,armour etc.. and should believe in the war and should know their purpose and know what their goal is in this war. just because they took money from the government and signed a contract doesn’t mean they can be treated like cattle and expected to act like humans.
people , stop blaming the soldiers , its ur fault that u allowed this war !
Melvin J Trustaff
The fact remains: The generation of American men born after 1945 are degenerates all. They are not of the caliber of our "Greatest Generation." Small wonder that so many of them are committing suicide.