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View Diary: Why we need to leave Iraq ASAP-from someone who is over there. (223 comments)

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  •  I suspect is is psychological self-defense. (none)
    Military personnel & their families need to believe this kind of stuff. They need to believe this war is worth the sacrifice. Otherwise life becomes intolerable.

    I suspect there will be a huge explosion of anger in the military community when we finally do get out of Iraq and they realize the truth about why we went in there, how we fought the war, and what it has done to our military. They could turn from being among Bush's strongest supporters to among his biggest haters. And unlike your average dimwitted wingnut, the military people will not be as vulnerable to a "stab-in-the-back" theory, because they know firsthand what Iraq was like.

    "I'm having trouble with my boy." -- George H. W. Bush, 2004

    by Shiborg on Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 02:31:12 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Faith (none)
      I agree with your first point, not sure about the second.  Right now, they need to believe they're risking their lives for something important.  

      When they get back, they'll need to believe they risked their lives (and possibly crippled themselves) and killed civilians, who may or may not have been totally innocent, for something important.

      My grandfather lived in occupied Europe in WWII.  He was in the underground and did things that haunted him until he died.  He could live with it, because it was war and he was defending his country, doing something important and protecting his family and neighbours from a greater evil.

      Those guys are going to need to keep believing the same thing.  It may help keep the nightmares away.

      •  I have always been a WWII history buff. (none)
        The last few years I have been trying to interview people from my hometown who served, and reading a lot of first person accounts.  I am hearing stuff now I never heard before in terms of individual actions.  One book I read the guy related three different instances of them shooting POWs.  It was kind of interesting to see how his perception of those events changed as time went one.  

        We ask them to carry an incredibly heavy burden for an awfully long time.

        •  Yeah. (none)
          Even in our last "heroic" war, people did awful things.  I like to believe they did only what they thought was absolutely necessary to further the greater good, certainly my grandfather believed that very strongly, and defended his decisions until he died.  In his shoes, I probably would have done the same thing, but it was rough stuff to live with.

          Imagine how these guys feel.  My grandfather was older, literally fighting for his family and his neighbours, with a clear idea of right and wrong, and he was forced to make some really rough calls (and in an aside, he was fighting an occupying army, which adds an interesting twist to things).

          Unfortunately, what that means is that a lot of the guys (and gals) in Iraq are going to need to keep believing that they were fighting for our freedom, doing what was necessary to serve our president, who was right in everything he said, even after they get back.

          I hope I'm wrong, but there's only so much you can ask people to process.

          •  I agree, to some extent, it'll be a defense (none)
            mechanism.  I had to.  Perhaps that is why these stories from WWII didn't come out until recently.  I think a lot of them as they near the end of their lives, have to come to grips with the contradiction.  It ain't easy.
            •  Price to pay (none)
              It's a very good point, and one that isn't made enough.  We're not just asking people to sacrifice a few years, and maybe their lives.  We're asking people to sacrifice part of the rest of their lives, even if they get out in one piece.  All the more reason to only commit our military when it's absolutely necessary and unavoidable, with full recognition of all the consequences.  That's something that is not discussed nearly enough, and certainly not recognized by the current administration.

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