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(Promoted by DarkSyde)

Do you know what a soldier is, young man? He's the chap who makes it possible for civilised folk to despise war.

~ Alan Massie, A Question of Loyalties

The feeling about a soldier is, when all is said and done, he wasn't really going to do very much with his life anyway. The example usually is: "he wasn't going to compose Beethoven's Fifth."

~ Kurt Vonnegut Jr., City Lights

We don't think much about the soldier.  We think about the men and women of our armed forces, the families they leave behind, the equipment they are or are not given by the State.  We think about the rightness of their mission, or the probable chances of success.  It has become a common phrase of our times that we all "Support Our Troops", but we think little of what that means, beyond their pay and benefits, and whether or not we send them to battles worth fighting or not.  But what of the individual soldier, who goes where he or she is told, to do the job they are assigned by leaders they will likely never meet?

Robert Heinlein wrote, "A soldier accepts personal responsibility for the safety of the body politic of which he is a member, defending  it,  if need be, with his life."  I think that is true, even though I suspect most soldiers do not know that about themselves.  They volunteer for jobs that would make most of us quail in horror, to travel to places they have never heard of and can barely pronounce, and to do their sworn duty, which is often to kill and maim people who they do not know, and often whose faces they cannot see.  It is a harsh duty, and one that carves out fragments of men's souls to carry out.

So why do they do it?  Because they have faith that they are not monsters.  They have faith that these monstrous duties are in service to noble ideas, put forth by the leaders of noble nations.  And that is the compact that we as citizens of a democracy have made with them.  We tell them that not only can they do these things, but that they must, and that they are righteous.  To that compact we have as a nation offered established rules, such as the Uniform Code for Military Justice, and have ratified treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions.  It is those rules, those laws, those treaties which allow us to tell our soldiers that they can do what we order of them and that they can still maintain honor, and integrity, and that one day they can return to their homes and communities with their virtue intact.

I myself have seen war.  I have obeyed orders to attack strangers.  And I have seen what happens when those boundaries that allow men to be soldiers and still remain men are violated.  So I hope you will believe me when I say that when you claim too much of a man's soul in service of the sense of personal responsibility they feel for the safety and well-being of the society of which they are members, you are stripping them of their status, their self-awareness that they are honorable members of a good society.  It is possible to take away all that a man was, and all the promise that his future held, without leaving him dead or broken upon a battlefield.

When we hear of the acts ordered of and committed by units such as Task Force 6-26, it is a common reaction for us all to deplore the acts committed in our names.  It is a good reaction, and a sign that we are a people of morals and values that go beyond our own instincts for survival at any cost.  But usually, we think little of the cost to the men and women who are ordered to commit those acts.  We think little of what has been done to them in our name, and what they have done in service of us.

They were soldiers once.  They were proud and honorable men and women who took it upon themselves to protect all of us and our way of life.  Do you think they are proud today?  Do you think they will come home with their honor intact?

Otto van Bismark, no stranger to ordering men into battle, said, "Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."  To that I would add that anyone who has seen the eyes of a man who has followed his orders down the path to inhumanity would think hard before giving that order again.

Nearly everyone here despises our leadership for many reasons.  But I would like to add this one to the list of grievances: do you suppose our leaders have thought hard about what they were ordering our young men and women of the armed forces to do?  Do you suppose they thought about what they were asking from our soldiers, and what it cost those soldiers to do as they were ordered?

There are many in America today who have little sympathy with those we torture and torment.  They are our enemies, they say.  They would do worse to us if the situation was reversed.  Maybe so.  But those young men and women who we have turned into torturers and inquisators, they were soldiers once.  What are they now?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 03:41 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you all for reading (139+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SME in Seattle, Mike S, MattK D1, vicki, Go Vegetarian, George, vtdem, elizsan, April Follies, ogre, sheba, MrHinkyDink, cedubose, Hornito, Ashami, Hollywood Liberal, Pandora, janinsanfran, SusanG, sara seattle, Debby, just another vet, wu ming, UTLiberal, OLinda, Ugluks Flea, TarheelDem, frisco, ilona, Matilda, MarkInSanFran, exNYinTX, Jerome a Paris, perro amarillo, Disgusted in St Louis, joynow, bronte17, cbythesea, northcountry, cskendrick, macdust, anotherCt Dem, elveta, HippyWitch, PsiFighter37, highacidity, CalvinV, buckeyekarl, scamp, high5, CanisMaximus, javelina, peraspera, Miss Blue, bwren, CoConut, sele, Serendipity, Oke, kredwyn, BarbinMD, Nina, greenreflex, Eddie Haskell, DH from MD, barbwires, Cat1133, One bite at a time, DarkSyde, kd texan, adigal, Marc in KS, Kane in CA, joesig, bloomer 101, pattyp, deepfish, Bodean, ejmw, Simplify, drewfromct, amRadioHed, skeptigal, homeland observer, dansk47, majcmb1, Pam from Calif, Green1010, Karmafish, nwsound, Phil S 33, joseph rainmound, unfounded, collapse, optimusprime, wiscmass, Jlukes, word is bond, churchlady, LithiumCola, Ghost of Frank Zappa, Krusty, jeffinalabama, mariva, taracar, occams hatchet, Progressive Liberaltarian, trashablanca, chicagoblueohio, kraant, midvalley, Roosevelt Democrat, Ruffledfeather, BlueInARedState, Kimball Cross, Ellicatt, Chincoteague, turning blue, InsultComicDog, Wary, sailmaker, blueoasis, KazHooker, vome minnesota, alwaysquestion, curmudgiana, Iranaqamuk, Andy30tx, sharilynn, llbear, lazybum, DemocraticLuntz, vox humana, sarayakat, combat rock, frankzappatista, Dreaming of Better Days, Kira April, worried dem

    And if possible, with all that is happening, I hope you all enjoy your weekend, and that we not forget that together, we can find a better way.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 03:38:32 PM PST

  •  through the tears (7+ / 0-)

    I will keep this wonderful diary. thank you, thank you.

  •  here's another comment from a soldier (5+ / 0-)
    joesig says:

    "I'm home.  About the article: don't believe the hype.  If someone doesn't know the difference between a task force and a unit...he doesn't know enough to write the article.  Although the part about frustration was fairly right on.  Picture holding the kind of guy who happily saws off heads.  Now picture Joe Good Grades from the alphabets trying to question him.  All I'll say."  

    by joesig on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 02:59:35 PM PDT

    I don't know what the story is, but the NYT seems to have a lot of sources, hope joesig writes a diary about what was going on over there...

    -6.63, -3.59 If we shall fail to defend the Constitution, I shall fail in the attempt.

    by spoon or no spoon on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 03:54:48 PM PST

    •  We've learned that (0+ / 0-)

      most of the prisoners held by the US are innocent guys.

      Some poster above pointed out that the majority of US soldiers don't engage in abuse, but then I read this;

      Picture holding the kind of guy who happily saws off heads.

      Evidently joesig sees all Iraqis as the same. Why should we look at US soldiers differently?

      Restore Democracy! Denounce the GOP (Georgie's Orwellian Party)!

      by high5 on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 12:12:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  clarification? (0+ / 0-)

        Don't think he meant all Iraqis were the same. He meant that imagine there actually was someone from a beheading squad that you had captured, and the person interrogating was clueless. joesig is pretty squared away.

        -6.63, -3.59 If we shall fail to defend the Constitution, I shall fail in the attempt.

        by spoon or no spoon on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 05:35:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Squared away (0+ / 0-)

          Of course joesig doesn't mean all Iraqis.  Just Iraqis that have been captured and brought in for interrogation.  

          Picture this: 300 men ranging from 14 to 67 are brought in.  What do you know about them?  Initially, absolutely nothing.  Just a bunch of men.  Some scared, some defiant, some stoic.  Your superiors want to find out what, if anything, these men know about insurgents in the area.  Your superiors also want these men to stop giving passive and tacit support to the insurgents.  Ideally, your superiors would like these men to come running to you to tell you whenever insurgents show up in the future.  

          So you ask them: "what do you know?"  The scared men will say, "I know nothing."  The defiant men will spit on the ground.  The stoic will remain silent.  

          If you have a clue, if you have studied interrogation techniques used successfully by military intelligence and police inspectors, you know that getting a scared, defiant or stoic person to open up is a long process.  Sometimes a hopeless one.  

          But you don't have that clue.  And your superior doesn't just want answers, he wants them right now.    So he tells you, "It's time to take the gloves off."

          You hesitate.  You know these men were not caught fighting, because you've gone on patrols before.  You know they were just taken from their homes.  Maybe there was an AK47 in the closet.  Or a new Casio wristwatch on the dresser.  Or the man blocked the door to the bedroom because his wife was in there undressed, so you had to knock him down to get into that room and standard operating procedure says anyone "resisting" is to be cuffed and detained.  Or you found four men together in a back room, and that's suspicious.  

          But you hesitate.  So your superior tells you, "These are the kind of men who cut off heads."  And, as far as you know, they might be.  After all, what do you really know about them?  Nothing.  So you "take the gloves off."  And you rationalize your behavior by reminding yourself that these are the kind of men who cut off heads.  

          After a while, your superior no longer has to tell you that these men are the kind who cut off heads, because you are telling it to yourself.  And then you have got with the program.  You're squared away.

          "It's supposed to be automatic, but actually you have to push this button." John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar

          by Orinoco on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 11:04:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I see your point (0+ / 0-)

            I can see how that scenario could happen. In the concrete example of joesig I refer here, of course not being at liberty to divulge exactly, I have a reasonable expectation that his particular unit would have been involved in say, finding a house where the pattern of blood on the wall matched the pattern of a video beheading? So as of right now, I'm betting on joesig. And I think he was saying that, putting the wrong person to interrogate a beheader sets you up for trouble. I don't think he was saying it is OK to torture a beheader. In fact, the opposite is likely true.

            -6.63, -3.59 If we shall fail to defend the Constitution, I shall fail in the attempt.

            by spoon or no spoon on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 03:11:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Empathy (4+ / 0-)

    is a quality in short supply in this Administration.

    We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

    by occams hatchet on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 03:57:24 PM PST

  •  Well I think about the soldier every second (24+ / 0-)

    You don't know what I do for a living and I understand. But unlike bumper sticker people, I do actually, really support the soldier whether he's a green kid or a "hardened" vet every second of every day. He'd die if I didn't do my job. The political leadership is the problem, not the American soldier, sailor, airman, or marine.

    •  second that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adigal, deepfish

      Their only responsibility is to carry out their duty and refuse to obey illegal orders. The 4-stars and the civilian politicos are selling the US Armed Forces down the river again.

      -6.63, -3.59 If we shall fail to defend the Constitution, I shall fail in the attempt.

      by spoon or no spoon on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:00:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly (10+ / 0-)

      The political leadership is the problem, not the American soldier, sailor, airman, or marine.

      And this is why it is so infuriating to have your patriotism, etc., questioned when challenging the incompetence of said "leadership."  

      Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

      by Barbara Morrill on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:01:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Opportunity to reclaim servicemen (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Democratic Party has an unparalleled opportunity to become the Party of servicemen, so long dominated by the GOP.  This country's Republican leadership has destroyed the pride and honor in our military, and viley betrayed their trust and their duty.  And then, upon doing so, further betray them by unabashedly decimating their benefits.  The Republican Party doesn't respect you - after all you are of the people, and not of the Rulers.  As a party we must speak for the soldier as a human being; a mother or father, a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a neighbor, a friend.  Or no one will.

        Honesty had been the single trait most closely associated with Bush, but in the current survey "incompetent" is the descriptor used most frequently.

        by Progressive Liberaltarian on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:55:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (10+ / 0-)

      But I think of how many soldiers have to serve in units like Task Force 6-26, how many must guard Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and what there is we still don't know about.  This is hundreds, if not thousands, of soldiers given these duties.

      I'm angry with the General Staff as well.  Political leaders will always have their failings.  These men have a sworn duty to their subordinates.  We need not just better Presidents and Congresspeople.

      It fails my understanding to see how it came to this.

      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

      by Jay Elias on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:05:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deepfish, chicagoblueohio

        Their bodies live,
        But we (and they--oh, many hands on that knife)
        Have murdered their souls
        "Friendly fire," I suppose.
        Ordered by those we put
        And keep
        in power
        Commit crimes, do things
        We dare not speak of.

        Do not show us your pictures.
        We cannot see them,
        Or your scars;
        The ones that mar and twist your spirits
        Into things monstrous and terrifying
        Even to yourselves.

        That human beings laughed
        As these horrors were committed
        Sears my soul.

        Tears will not quench
        The white hot embers
        Such actions have laid
        Deep and wide across time and space.

        Horror and bloodshed
        And fed
        With more horror and bloodshed.

        Oh, god, Jesus would weep...
        Committed in the shadow

        Of the hooks

        Used by Saddam's horror-mongers.

        For national security.
        To protect America
        Cruelly used.

        One wonders...
        If Washington could have seen

        Those images

        --Oh, out, out, damned spot--
        Would he saved America
        And the world
        This horror
        By surrendering at New York?

        "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

        by ogre on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:34:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No shit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They hung Keitel and Jodl too.

        If we're dumb. Then God is dumb. And maybe a little ugly on the side.

        by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:58:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ummm, well, the air force has been (0+ / 0-)
        paying millions of dollars for faux "leadership lessons" from completely unqualified Republican shrills to "hone the preparation" of its officers.

        <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

        by bronte17 on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 07:49:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wrote about this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          yesterday,but the the Air Force is starting to concern me,what with the evangelist preaching going on at the Academy. I really hate to say this but they are starting to look like a bunch of wing nuts.And I don't mean that in a nice way.

          it tastes like burning...

          by eastvan on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 09:29:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I do too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pam from Calif, chicagoblueohio

      In fact, thinking about them - about these often young and sweet and innocent people is what turned me into a political activist many years ago. A beautiful diary. The Bushites are cold, cold people.

      •  They are psychopaths (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deepfish, Pam from Calif, blueoasis
      •  me too (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anotherCt Dem, lizah

        this sentance is the essence of the diary to me

        we think little of the cost to the men and women who are ordered to commit those acts.

        Ever since I worked in a PTSD ward for awhile. I think about that all the time. It has frequently been one of my comments in threads about atrocities. Torture dehumanizes the torturer and the victim.

        As if being called upon to simply engage in war werent enough.  yes, everytime I think of war, I think of it as a cruel dance which affects the victor deeply as well.

        Working in that Veterans hospital opened up my eyes and heart to the wounds of war.

        -6.13,-6.33 America's Security is not for sale

        by biscobosco on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 10:15:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps the secret is in your username.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deepfish, chicagoblueohio

      Those behind the scenes are slso very important!!

    •  What this diarist said so beautifully (0+ / 0-)

      is something that I think of often.  Our soldiers are the ones who were betrayed by this lying administration who chose to send them into a war of choice for the economic benefits. May the God of those who sent them see to justice, because we don't have any punishment fitting enough for  what they have done.

      I have to say, I often curse what is being done in our name, but have never stopped to think about what torture is doing to the one who is being asked to do it.  I KNOW it doesn't bother Bush/Cheney/Rice/ Rumsfeld, but I now see that it haunts those who are called on to be inhuman.  I cannot imagine living my life with the sin of torturing another human being on my conscience.

      Thank you for one of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking diaries I have read.

      The Democratic party - the party of sanity, reason and kindness.

      by adigal on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:45:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful diary. (22+ / 0-)

    I served, I fought. I have faith that the overwhelming majority are still soldiers.

    My visceral anger I direct toward the chickenhawks in DC or Wall Street who dehumanize and demean the profession of arms.

    Too often people think of soldiers as disposable parts in a machine.

    When you sow the wind...

  •  ow (12+ / 0-)

    Damn, that's a powerful diary. Tears here too. Those quotes at the beginning are painfully spot on..........

    I've been thinking about soldiers this week in all our angst to pressure our representatives to support Feingold's censure motion. There has been a lot of bitching about the EFFORT it takes to express ourselves to our leaders, why should we have to do it, etc, concerns about whether we might end up on some FBI or NSA list, why bother calling, etc etc. How feeble are we compared to what you've described here, compared to how much of themselves our troops have invested in fighting for our country?

    "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

    by Hollywood Liberal on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:02:23 PM PST

  •  I think we should all start (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ilona, deepfish, chicagoblueohio

    sending emails with pictures to the White House of the consequences to the men and woman they send to their war. I'm sure Bush doesn't read the email but maybe we can reach one soul who does read it and the pictures could find their way to Bush and Cheney.

    Another possibility is a mass protest of people carrying these pictures for those around the two evils ones.

    It's probably the best we could hope for - pictures because we know they have no interest in a first hand experience.

    -4.25, -6.87: Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:02:31 PM PST

    •  First, (5+ / 0-)

      I'm sure Bush doesn't read the email but maybe we can reach one soul who does read it

      you have to find someone with a soul.

      We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

      by occams hatchet on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:06:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Probably a long shot (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in the White House and I know I'm dreaming. When I wrote it I pictured the kind lady at our work who is at the front desk and who answers the phones. She's been there forever through many changes of management.

        Is there any chance such a person would still be a part of this White House staff? Don't know.

        -4.25, -6.87: Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

        by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:11:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  sharpen your hatchet occam (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miss Blue, deepfish

        there is a fine distinction to be made.  

        to have a soul one must have a spark of the divine.  not one individual in this white house fits that criteria.  Quite the contrary.  they all, individually and collectively, commune and have sexual congress with minions of the devil, I tell you true.

        If we're dumb. Then God is dumb. And maybe a little ugly on the side.

        by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 05:03:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  To this I must humbly disagree. (2+ / 0-)

          ALL have a spark of the divine, and it is the lack of recognition of that spark in others or in ourselves that sends any one of us down the perilous road to inhumanity.

          Those in power may have lost their way, but in that case I take it as my duty to try to help them find that spark again.  They are human, however misguided - and I refuse to speak of them or treat them otherwise.  Then, you see, I will have lost my way, too.

          The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

          by vox humana on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:18:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It didn't have to be this way... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepfish, blueoasis

    Twelve years ago, Peace on Earth was within our reach.

    I was there. I saw it.

    A True Story

    Love Songs From Ground Zero

    by Subway Serenade on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:03:41 PM PST

  •  Rumsfeld (6+ / 0-)


    "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

    by Hollywood Liberal on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:04:08 PM PST

  •  Gen. Hal Moore, wrote We Were Soldiers Once... (23+ / 0-)

    And when I speak to him he says, "What a waste...what a waste"  He served in Vietnam.  He spoke with fury over the impending Iraq conflict three years ago.  He said "There's no exit strategy.  It's Vietnam all over again"

    He 83 years old.  A three star general.  And nearly every day goes to Fort Benning and visits the graves of his dead men and speaks to them. He believes he'll see them all.  He's tough, he loves the military, and he's haunted.  Hal knows that we have been led down a terrible path and he can barely speak of it.  And he's a lifelong Republican.

    •  I'm not usually a press-basher (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deepfish, wiscmass, Ellicatt, llbear

      But when I think about people such as Gen. Moore, Sec. McNamara, and all the others who are still alive and out there, it baffles me that their voices are not front and center in the media today.

      I seem to remember that there is something engraved on the front of the National Archives that pertains directly to them.

      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

      by Jay Elias on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:08:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you really baffled (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        that sane and rational voices for peace, the voices of men like General Moore and Secretary Macnamara--men who have learned from tragic and bloody mistakes--are not front and center on Fox News and in the corporate "liberal" media?

        I would be less baffled by the fact that the writings of Leo Strauss were never front and center in the Soviet-era Pravda

        Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

        by drewfromct on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:22:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  McNamara chose the Albert Speer cop out (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          He was able, in retrospect, to see that what he was doing was evil.  Remorse?  Probably not.  

          But at least they both fessed up to their stupidity.  There is some small consolation in that.

          If we're dumb. Then God is dumb. And maybe a little ugly on the side.

          by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 05:06:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You want voices? (0+ / 0-)

        This from the person who said that Susan Sarandon should "shut the fuck up" for using her voice. How ironic!

        Perhaps it is because of people like you that people do not use their voices?

        Signature Impaired.

        by gttim on Mon Mar 20, 2006 at 07:32:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Moore was a true leader (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler, blueoasis

      First off the chopper on an assault, last to lift off after...

      Lietenants are taught that the men eat first and that they do not bed down until all teh men are seen to.

      Would that the same lessons were beaten into the higher ups and political leadership.


      "Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight / That dance around your head"

      by deepfish on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:00:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        they are taught that.Some remember this very important lesson. others often forget it. All too often it is those (my quaint pet name for them is'troopfuckers')who at the end of the day ascend the higher elevations of rank. There are exceptions of course (any one have personal experiance with Gen Honore?. He does not seem,to me at any rate,to be aTF)and anyone who has spent any time in uniform has seen both types.

        it tastes like burning...

        by eastvan on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 09:37:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Joe Galloway (0+ / 0-) his recent article regarding his intention of retiring, stated that he intends to write another book with Hal Moore.  I really hope this is true.

      As sad as it is to see a straight shooter like Galloway retire, there may be a real gift in this.

  •  just more... (5+ / 0-)

    evidence showing just how divorced from reality the administration is. Men who have personally avoided combat in their own lives have no sense of the solemnity of a soldier's life.

  •  War is inherently immoral (9+ / 0-)

    Which means if you're going to start one, you better have a damn good reason.  WWII for example.  But war for the wrong reason is the biggest mistake that can ever be made.  Bush & Co. have made the BIGGEST mistake that it is possible for a human being to make.

    Oh when the frogs. . Come marching in. . Oh when the FROGS COME MARCH-ING IN!

    by pontificator on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:11:51 PM PST

    •  The biggest mistake a human being could make (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hoolia, adigal, deepfish

      AND it was a criminal conspiracy.  Double bonus.

      If we're dumb. Then God is dumb. And maybe a little ugly on the side.

      by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 05:07:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Victory has many fathers while (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deepfish, vox humana

      defeat is an orphan. Let me ask, how many of Kossacks would have been calling this war a mistake if US were winning. This is from a person who has opposed this war before it started.
      For every time US has gone to war against other countries and has won, the story of the vanquished has never been heard. Thanks to the internet, this is the first war where even small details are being made available. In all wars, good and bad (which is subjective), there are atrocities, tortures, killed civilians, bombed cities, but this war is different only because the images of victims are arriving home through the internet and we are not winning.
      But in reality, this war is no more bad than any other war.
      I still remember one blogger telling me, "Now that you have exercised your political freedom, take your SUV and enjoy some wine and steak", let us do our job".

      Congratulations to Jay for a very thought provoking diary.

      I have seen the truth. It doesn't make sense.

      by Ruffledfeather on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 05:49:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I strongly disagree (0+ / 0-)

        But in reality, this war is no more bad than any other war.

        This war was started on false pretenses, attacking a nation that was no threat to any other, at least at the time.

        How can that possibly compare with our involvement in WWII, for instance?

        The Democratic party - the party of sanity, reason and kindness.

        by adigal on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:52:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Should have clarified (0+ / 0-)

          This war is no more bad than any other war in its impact on soldiers, civilians killed, torture, and such other matters.

          I have seen the truth. It doesn't make sense.

          by Ruffledfeather on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 07:03:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  World War II was started (0+ / 0-)
          without provocation, too, based on lies, jingoism, and false pretenses. It wasn't a good war at all. It was as bad as any other war has ever been. Worse, considering the numbers of people who died.

          The difference is, WW II was started by the Germans and the Japanese. The war in Iraq was started by the US.

          This time, the US isn't the good guys.

          Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

          by Canadian Reader on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 08:15:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

            Who are the "good guys" in the Iraq war?

            (-2.75,-4.77) "Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose." Senator Barack Obama

            by Sam I Am on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 09:05:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Where is it written (0+ / 0-)
              that there have to be good guys in a war? Plenty of wars don't have any. The Allies in WW II weren't good in the sense that they refrained from doing bad things to innocent people. They were only good in the sense that A. they were fighting against the side that had launched an unprovoked aggressive war.

              Oh, and B. they also won, which meant they got to write the version of history that "everybody knows".

              Using rule A, it's pretty clear that the US is wearing the black hat this time, so anyone who is fighting to defend his country against unprovoked aggression gets to be the "good guy". Of course, that's a purely technical use of the term; it doesn't imply anything about them being nice people.

              The jury's still out on whether rule B is going to apply. I'd say not. The US may defeat itself, but if it does, there aren't going to be any victorious nations to write those triumphant self-congratulatory histories for the schools.

              Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

              by Canadian Reader on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 06:43:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  No excuses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, deepfish, frankzappatista

    If you commit criminal acts and don't follow the military code of conduct, which by the way says you have the right and should not obey an illegal order, then you are a criminal and should be treated as such along with the superiors that supportd and condoned any illegal activity, no excuses, no crying, no whining, if you do the crime then do the time.
    Being a real soldier means treating the enemy with the same respect we expect to be treated with, NO EXCEPTIONS.

  •  There is a noble line that is crossed ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... when one goes from being simply a citizen to a citizen soldier, one who is sworn to uphold the Constitution ...

    The oath for enlisted men and women states ...

    "I, ___, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

    ... and for officers this additional oath ...

    "I, ___ , having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of ___ do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

    Military service is noble until the oaths are forgotten or violated. The situation is especially egregious when officers and those in the civilian chain of command over them fail to remember their oaths and fail to live up to our nation's ideals.

  •  This (5+ / 0-)

    Do you know what a soldier is, young man? He's the chap who makes it possible for civilised folk to despise war.

    is so true, and it's enough to break your heart, if you think about it.

  •  Turn on the lights, and look. (13+ / 0-)

    The feeling about a soldier is, when all is said and done, he wasn't really going to do very much with his life anyway. The example usually is: "he wasn't going to compose Beethoven's Fifth."

    ~ Kurt Vonnegut Jr., City Lights

    Look at the names inscribed in that tomb of "not going to do very much."  So easy to say, even easy, alas, to feel.  But so terribly false.

    They were going to love people, raise children, build homes with their own hands.  They were going to be sports heroes and celebrities, famous lawyers and doctors, important politicans; senators, representatives, governors... even presidents.

    We'll never know what most of them might have achieved--would have achieved--had those blossoms not been cut off (and for what?) before they'd even really opened.

    But every once in a while, there's a hint.

    Rupert Brooke:
    A young Apollo, golden-haired,
    Stands dreaming on the verge of strife,
    Magnificently unprepared
    For the long littleness of life.

    John McCrae:

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    Wilfred Owen:
    (I find I have to put the whole of this poem up)
    So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
    And took the fire with him, and a knife.
    And as they sojourned both of them together,
    Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
    Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
    But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
    Then Abram bound the youth with belts and strops,
    And builded parapets and trenches there,
    And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
    When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
    Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
    Neither do anything to him. Behold,
    A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
    Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

    But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
    And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

    Isaac Rosenberg
    Ah! if the day were arid, somehow lost
    Out of us, but it is as hair of us,
    And only in the hush no wind stirs it.
    And in the light vague trouble lifts and breathes,
    And restlessness still shadows the lost ways.
    The fingers shut on voices that pass through,
    Where blind farewells are taken easily . . .

    Ah! this miasma of a rotting God!

    Alan Seeger
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    At some disputed barricade,
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    At some disputed barricade,
    When Spring comes back with rustling shade
    And apple-blossoms fill the air--
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

    Edward Thomas
    Gone, gone again,
    May, June, July,
    And August gone,
    Again gone by,

    Not memorable
    Save that I saw them go,
    As past the empty quays
    The rivers flow.

    And now again,
    In the harvest rain,
    The Blenheim oranges
    Fall grubby from the trees

    Tim Cross observes, in The Lost Voices of World War I: An International Anthology of Writers, Poets & Playwrights, "A complete list of all poets, playwrights, writers, artists, architects and composers who died as a result of the First World War is an impossible task," but even so lists roughly 750 names--including only people who had already accomplished something of note in their fields. How many of the 9,000,000 young men wasted in that war might have done great things in the arts, sciences, medicine, and politics?

    There died a myriad,
    And of the best, among them,
    For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
    For a botched civilization,

    Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
    Quick eyes gone under earth's lid,

    For two gross of broken statues,
    For a few thousand battered books.

    -- Ezra Pound, 1920

    A "mere" 2300 or so Americans are the casualties, so far, of Mr Bush's pointless war, fought for causes demonstrably false and erroneous.  WHo among them were some of our very, very best and brightest?  We already know about Tillman.  How many more?

    "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

    by ogre on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:22:20 PM PST

    •  Recommend - if only for the Owen (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adigal, vox humana

      I prefer this one...

      If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
      Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
      And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
      His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
      If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
      Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
      Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
      Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
      My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
      To children ardent for some desperate glory,
      The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
      Pro patria mori.


      "Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight / That dance around your head"

      by deepfish on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:04:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kipling too (0+ / 0-)

        We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth,
        We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung,
        And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth.
        God help us, for we knew the worst too young!
        Our shame is clean repentance for the crime that brought the sentence,
        Our pride it is to know no spur of pride,
        And the Curse of Reuben holds us till an alien turf enfolds us
        And we die, and none can tell Them where we died.

        From Gentlemen-Rankersby Rudyard Kipling

    •  Amen (0+ / 0-)

      "here died a myriad,
      And of the best, among them,
      For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
      For a botched civilization,"

      Parody - another thing getting harder and harder to do in Bushevik America.

      by Carbide Bit on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:54:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The sad thing is (12+ / 0-)

    these chicken hawks,proven evaders and avoiders,have no concept of what a soldier is.The tenets of duty,honor and country are not their values.Therefor they will have no concept of the road ahead that waits these soldiers.Every one will be a changed individual(I don't care what anyone says,once you get on a plane and go overseas,you are changed to varying degrees).There is virtually nothing in place for them,for they do not carry(in some cases)visible signs of their wounds,but wounded they are.There is a huge responsibility to these people that this government is not capable of discharging.It will take years and a commitment to repair the damage.The Democratic Party needs to make this issue theirs.They need to become the party veterans and their needs.Republicans,by virtue of their ignorance cannot clean up this mess. The Democrats must make this one the central points of any action plan.There is noone else.

    it tastes like burning...

    by eastvan on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:27:36 PM PST

  •  So true (3+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the reminder. Many times I have written to pro-war bloggers asking why they don't enlist, if they think the war in Iraq is such a great idea. Either they don't respond at all, or they just tell me how stupid I am. Right-wingers like "Blogs for Bush" represent the true meaning of the term "chickenhawks."

    "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." - George Washington, 1796

    by djny10003 on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:30:21 PM PST

  •  This I know: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, deepfish, jfadden

    If enough soldiers truly believed that what they were called upon to do was immoral and disgraceful (as it is), they would simply refuse to do it, and the bloodbath would end.  It dehumanizes them to absolve them of any moral agency whatsoever.  

    Now you can lecture me that desertion or refusal to obey is too hard and too much to expect.  I suppose it's much easier to just give in and kill innocent people by the hundreds and thousands.  

    "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." -- Voltaire

    by WaitingForLefty on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:30:48 PM PST

  •  I Think About the Soldiers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, deepfish, chicagoblueohio

    Who wouldn't?
    I encountered one-armed men in Oceanside. Blasted-out men wandering, lost, in Marin County. Failed, needy men on the sidewalks in San Francisco.
    I'm married to a veteran.
    My dad is a veteran.
    It's a terrible job, and I don't recommend it.
    My nephew just joined the Army. Damn.

  •  You have described my father (12+ / 0-)

    It is possible to take away all that a man was, and all the promise that his future held, without leaving him dead or broken upon a battlefield.

    My father was in the Army during the period between Korea and Viet Nam. Until recently, we have always had a strained relationship.  Relatives who were sympathetic would often times tell me, "He wasn't anything like that before he went into the Army.  I don't know what happened and why he changed so much."  It helped me (somewhat) to understand, but it provided little comfort during those childhood and adolescent years.  I sometimes wonder how different my family life would have been if I would have had "the old Bob" as a father.

    Thank you for writing your diary.  

    "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by one of your inferiors." Plato

    by Ellicatt on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:41:16 PM PST

  •  The so Called Republican Leaders (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, deepfish, blueoasis

    of the Bush adminstration have viewed our beloved family and friends who are soldiers as little more than 'action figures' or 'pawns' to do their bidding for their neo con agenda.

  •  Nice job Jay (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, deepfish, chicagoblueohio

    War is the ugliest of business and without strong leadership the ugliest of the ugly rises to the top.
    One of the things we lost when we did away with the draft was the check and balance of people who didn't want to be there.

  •  When Imitating Rome, Go All The Way (6+ / 0-)

    It seems to me I learned in school that during the Roman Republic there were two consuls elected at a time. If a war started, or the Romans started a war, one of the two consuls was supposed to go out and take part in the war. The other stayed in Rome in reserve.

    That may have made some consuls less eager to push for war, unless they could be sure of being the one to stay in Rome.

    How would it be today, if the President or the VP actually got to go out and spend the duration of the war with the troops?

    Do you think the war would last long then?

    When you start a war, wouldn't it be good to go out and do your part in it as well?

  •  I am often troubled (7+ / 0-)

    ... by the orders our men and women are given and how they may be in contravention of the Military Code of Ethics or even the Geneva Conventions.

    I deplore the use of torture tactics to gather information. I am troubled with Abu Ghraib and the existance of Task Force 6-26. At this point, who do we blame and what do we do with them?

    I would never want to see our young men and women staring down court-martials and war crime tribunals. However, I am reminded of the Nuremberg Trials and the dismissal of "we were just following orders" argument and that worries the hell out of me.

    I want a serious attempt to root out systematic torture. I do not buy the "a few bad apples" explanation Bush Co. offers. I do not know how this administration can get away with "we do not torture" but at the same time, push for CIA exemptions from anti-torture legislation. I am just dumbfounded at the lack of WIDESPREAD serious upheaval over this in the media.

    •  Empire Time? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deepfish, Matt O

      Maybe we're moving from the Republic to the Empire. This is the way it changed in Rome. Under the first Emperors, Augustus and Tiberius, people stopped speaking out and started saying yes to everything. In fact, that's how those guys got to be Emperors.

      •  Disgusted (4+ / 0-)

        I am just disgusted with what this man has done to our country. Our credibility is in the toilet. Moral authority? We don't have any. We are not seen as the good guys anymore, it seems. Instead, we are the English Crown in the modern world.

        The definition of Republican politics or conservatism is a contradiction of terms. They say they are the party of morality, but the biggest (and perhaps all) backers of torture are conservative.

        It is a constant annoyance and source of disgrace for me. I believe in the USA and what it originally stood for. Something that has been lost in the last five years.

    •  Stanley Milgram,,, conditioning (9+ / 0-)

      Most folks don't remember Milgram's experiments in the late 50's, in which he had an authority figure tell people to administer 'electric shocks' to people durning an experiment. His study was unethical, but the findings are still frightening to me.

      People will follow orders and put others at risk if told to do so by authority. Everyone? No. However, we members of society have been conditioned to obey authority.

      Soldiers have been conditioned to obey authority, also. This conditioning is a lot stronger and harsher than what the rest of the population gets. Is it brainwashing? No. It is conditioning, just like taking lunch at a certain time, showing up to work on time, or pulling to the side when you see an emergency vehicle behind you on the road.

      I don't want to see lower-ranked soldiers singled out for behavior that was ordered, or was 'allowed.'

      Soldiers depend on superiors to give lawful orders. If one questions an order, you better damm' well know it is unlawful before you refuse it. The consequences for disobeying an order are immediate. The legality of the order will only be decided at a later time.

      I can't recall any ethics classes for enlisted ranks. Code of Conduct? yes.  Rudiments of the Geneva convention? yes. Deep ethical and moral considerations? No way.

      I know what I am trying to say, but I am not having a lot of success in saying it-- there are those who willingly break the rules of warfare, and those who unwittingly break the rules of warfare. And then there are those who are told that the rules don't apply to this group, only that group.

      So, it is not cut and dried. If I am driving in a convoy, and following the speed limit, but dropping behind the rest of the vehicles, and a superior tells me to speed up, don't worry about the speed limit, is that a lawful order, or not?

      What are the immediate consequences if I don't speed up? I'll tell you-- I would get in trouble.

      So-- after months in a country in which deprivation and brutalization and stress are constant companions, can someone's judgement become, well, clouded or unclear? Yes, especially around the edges, those behaviors that may or may not be lawful, yet are small.

      Can this cascade? yes. Look at Abu Ghraib. But the failure is one of command.

      Before I get flamed, let me state that I am not condoning either torture or those activities considered legal by the Bush administration that I personally think are torture.

      But please remember, that if the administration orders someone to do one of these 'not torture because we say it isn't' tortures, that person is disobeying a lawful order.

      I hope I am showing some of the confusion and lack of clarity that a soldier faces here.

      Finally, what most every soldier, sailor, marine or airman wants to do? go home with life and body intact. I can state that a refusal to follow an order, lawful or unlawful, could result in being placed in a much more dangerous position than being arrested.

      So... a rambling post-- hope I made sense.

      •  Thanks for bringing Milgram into this discussion (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peraspera, deepfish

        His work is incredibly important in this context. It's been a long time since I read "Obediance to Authority" but the lesson that comes out above all is that everyone thinks they would not torture someone else, but the vast majority of people will obey an order to torture. It's a fasinating read and really should be required for anyone thinking about how to punish or prevent military misconduct.

        BTW, I'm puzzled that you called his studies "unethical." What was unethical about it?

        •  He didn't inform his subjects (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          about the nature of the experiment. The folks didn't know THEY were the subjects, they thought the people getting shocked were.-- informed consent

          Human subjects experiments are supposed to do no harm to the subjects. This one did psychologically harm the subjects.

      •  Another Study (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Don't know if it was Milgram. But the subjects were divided into 2 groups, the 'prisoners' and the 'guards'. They all knew they were part of an experiment. Yet, after a while the 'guards' started to do all sorts of crazy crap. Needless to say they all started wearing mirrorshades. Only a very few of the guards said screw this, this is just wrong, and got out of the experiment. Another psychologist saw the experiment and immediately called for it to end. It just went nuts.

        Power corrupts. This administration is proof of that again, if proof is necessary.

        And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (chuckle) is working very well for them. (Barbara Bush)

        by Krusty on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:13:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think it is worse than you state (8+ / 0-)

    and you state it incredibly well.

    I believe we have a strategic goal of creative chaos. For a continuous violence that will justify permanent occupation of Iraqi oil fields.

    I believe that a malevolent calculus was and has been in play. Deploy American troops to an area they know little about - That has a hostile climate and a hostile populace. Our troops cannot speak the language. They cannot even read the language. Now, arm them to the teeth especially with rifles(and hide their eyes with sunglasses to frustrate even a kind or understanding look). Arm them with Rifles that they hold in the air in phallic challenge in a culture wreeking of macho phallic power. A culture whose demographics is heavy with boys in their teenage years. Boys who are unemployed. Boys with nothing to do but daily confront the castration and impotence of their fathers.

    Now let nature take it course. Seething anger, animosity, incredible frustration and periodic outbursts by both sides is the predictable outcome. A lesson learned in Vietnam I might add.

    What you describe is not just a forseeable outcome. It is an outcome the puppetmasters are relying on. Mission accomplished. Evil - sadistic - mission accomplished.

    Play with the political process all you want Condi. The die has been cast and the Rumsfeld's of the world have rigged the game. Victory - they don't need no stinkin victory - they just need controlled chaos. That's why Rumsfeld always has that evil grin - he's outsmarted everybody and that's why he loves his job. He would do it for nothing. Hell he's paying to do it. 73 years old and still outsmarting everybody and bullying the Generals.

    Parody - another thing getting harder and harder to do in Bushevik America.

    by Carbide Bit on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:50:17 PM PST

  •  I'm reminded of the soldier's creed (3+ / 0-)

    Every day above ground is a good day.

    This speaks directly and powerfully to the inhumanity of this insane war.  One of the better diaries I've read in a long long time.

    If we're dumb. Then God is dumb. And maybe a little ugly on the side.

    by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 04:56:06 PM PST

  •  If thoes (3+ / 0-)

    who want war,had to go put their life on the line,(our gov. leaders and others), this would change war. America in ww2 was defending itself. Korea is still not over, Nam was not justified ,the same as Iraq. I felt the Gulf War was justified to a point,except the end when 'whoever' let the bad guys go free. Bush tricked almost the whole nation,and some of the world with his lies. Osoma admitted he and his attacked us, NOT sadam. Bush did this for 'personal gain', for daddy and for MONEY.  Thousands are now dead,thus he is..'the worst president EVER'.

  •  Reminds Me Of A Scene From 'A Few Good Men' (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Blue, deepfish, Matt O

    Corporal Dawson and Private Downey receive their sentence:

    On the charge of conduct unbecoming a US Marine, the members find the accused guilty as charged.  You are sentenced to time already served, and to be dishonourably discharged from the Marines.  This court-martial is adjourned.
    What did that mean?  Hal? What did that mean?                
    Colonel Jessep said he ordered the Code Red.
    What did we do wrong?  

    It's not that simple.

    We did nothing wrong!

    Yeah, we did.  We're supposed to fight for people
    who can't fight for themselves.  We were supposed to fight for Willy.
    Most people remember COL Jessup's (Jack Nicholson's) rant but this, not Jessup's bitter ravings, are what an American soldier (marine, sailor, and airmen) should be about.

    Bush and Cheney were never qualified to command these men and women.  It is beyond tragic.

  •  Third tour (8+ / 0-)

    My younger brother just found out that he'll have to do a third tour in Iraq.  He thought, with this last posting, that he would be able to avoid it.  He's done two combat tours already.  

    Ironically, he's told this next tour won't be in his regular billet.  He'll be "cross-trained" to fill in for army regulars because the army is stretched so thin.

    One branch of the service has spent an awful long time training this guy, and now, in a couple of months, the army's going to cross-train him and put him in a combat role to lead troops?  (He's a career officer.)

    I'm from a military family.  I gotta tell you.

    The way they're running this war is nuts.

  •  Well Jay,........ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepfish, Ellicatt

    between this diary, and others you've written (like the recent one about AIPAC), you've made me a fan.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Hornito on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 05:07:29 PM PST

  •  With tears in my eyes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepfish, Ellicatt

    I write this, thank you sincerely.

    "Ancoro Imparo." ("I am still learning.") - Michelangelo, Age 87

    by Dreaming of Better Days on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 05:21:59 PM PST

  •  War (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MikeB, Ellicatt

    I wrote a diary just the other day about an old soldier I know, now battling the last good fight. I won't link to it, since this isn't a diary pimp.

    Just a note to say you did good here - great diary, and add my favorite soldier quotes.

    It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it.

    I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.

    Two American soldiers and leaders of soldiers who fought one another. Strange, compelling, ironic and fitting that they had similar opinions and outlooks.

    God grant that the good soldiers of your Republic always remember their duty is to your constitution, and keep in mind just how undesireable war is.


    "Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight / That dance around your head"

    by deepfish on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 05:25:44 PM PST

  •  Thank you, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepfish, Ellicatt

    on this terrible anniversary day, for a diary that helps us think about soldiers, on both sides of the fence, in a deep and respectful manner. Beautiful diary.

    "If you're going through hell, keep going". -Winston Churchill

    by One bite at a time on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 05:30:55 PM PST

  •  so finally (4+ / 0-)

    I will say this, 'To my fellow fallen Marines, I will fight in your name here at home. Thanks to you we all have the 'chance' to live free. We will find the courage to stand up for you. You now cannot speak so we must speak up for you. We will not let freedom slip thru our fingers. We now know the battlefront is here at home.'...a fellow former Marine.

  •  Disrespecing war ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adigal, deepfish

    ... is both civilized and healthy, never more so than when society is in the grip of war fever. Even good wars are intensely brutalizing, inhumane, and disastrous.

    To achieve their goals, armies must beat humanity out of the soldier, at least temporarily and with respect to the enemy. May we never forget that.

  •  In the time I have spent here at DKos, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepfish, Ellicatt

    I can count on my two hands the number of times that I have felt compelled to print out a hard copy of a diary.  One that I could hold in my hands.  A diary that merited a tangible existence.  One that would be touched and "tripped over" and picked up repeatedly.  One whose physical incarnation would be a continuous reminder.

    This is one of those diaries.

    Thank you.

    (-6.75, -6.24) George W. Bush deserves a fair trial.

    by CJB on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 05:37:47 PM PST

  •  Why encumber a leader with such a burden? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."

    That's why our fellow citizens put in power men who have never had such an experience and are unencumbered by thoughts about the value of human life. It's easy to be a so-called leader when it's not your kids dying.

    Pathetic. It makes me despair for the future of this country. We (well, they) put in office actors (Reagan, Arnie) and other complete idiots (Bush) who are completely unqualified.

    Insert all your favorite expletives here. Grrrr.

    I leave you with Everywhere by Billy Bragg:

    Dig in boys for an extended stay
    Those were the final orders to come down that day
    Waiting to be saved in the Philippines
    You'll wait forever for the young Marines

    Now I believe to be here is right
    But I have to say that I'm scared tonight
    Crouching in this hole with a mouth full of sand
    What comes first
    the country or the man

    Look at those slanted eyes coming up over the hill
    Catching us by suprise
    it's time to kill or be killed

    Over here
    over there
    it's the same everywhere
    A boy cries out for his mama before he dies for his home

    All my life I wanted to be
    As clever and strong as my best friend Lee
    We grew up together along half Moon Bay
    Lee was Japanese
    born in the USA

    When Tommy was fighting Jerry along the River Seine
    Me and Lee we wanted to do the same
    Then they bombed Pearl Harbor at the break of day
    I was headed for these islands when Lee was hauled away

    They said look at his slanted eyes
    he's guilty as guilty can be
    Sent here as enemy spies to sabotage the Land of the Free

    I never got home
    my platoon was never saved
    That little fox hole became my island grave
    Lee got out of jail but a prisoner he remained
    Till he ended his own life to lose that ball and chain

    And they said
    Oh Little Slanted Eyes
    can't you forgive and forget
    And he said
    Oh Mr Friendly Ghost
    Can you catch water in a net?

    •  In a perfect world, I agree with (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DrReason, deepfish, llbear, Carbide Bit

      Iranaqamuk .. a society that has a real Draft, where the only possible 'out' is real physical impairment {with no pilondial cyst deferment for fat-assed loudmouths} is a society that chooses to go to war truly as the last resort.

      Charlie Rangel was serious in his attempt - he also knew that it would never happen. He deserves our commendation for pointing it out to all of us.

      Until we have a true democratic societies that spread the responsibility of military service fairly, we will always have unjust  war.

      "Rovus Vulgaris Americanus" nasty, soon-to-be-indicted co-conspirator -7.63, -9.59

      by shpilk on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:06:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amen - and the question that was never asked (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepfish, Ellicatt

    An excellent piece.

    And may I add, what I found so horrible during the 2000 presidential campaign was that this one question was never asked of either candidate:

    When in your life have you been forced to make a decision in which the life of another human being rested on the success of yoru decision?

    or put another way,

    What in your life experience has prepared you to send troops to war when you know some of them will die?

    (at the time I believed in McCain for that very reason as any wrong decision he made will in Hanoi could have resulted in the death of a fellow prisoner).

    Anyway, great post.

    George W Bush - Plame Duck President

    by T u g on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:00:02 PM PST

    •  George W Bush (0+ / 0-)

      had to make life-or-death decisions many times before he was president, when he was governor of Texas.  Many time he had to decide between life or death for people sentenced to execution.  Every Single Time he chose death.

      It was obvious then what he was.

  •  Does the world hate America? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepfish, truong son traveler

    .An article that has the audacity to claim that America is viewed positively in the world.

    Plus, this blog even claims to be able to out-debate progressives.  Please go there and put these idiots in their place..

  •  Peace is Patriotic! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MikeB, vox humana, worried dem

    Practicing deeds that keep and create a nation's Peace provides comfort away from suffering and hardships upon the indiviuals and their loved ones that go in harms way, risking all.

    So truly Peace is Patriotic

    "If we survive this and get back home then the government is going to give us a new Ford"!; WWII GI's rumor during the Bataan Death March.

    by generic on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 06:26:00 PM PST

  •  beautifully said (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you Jay Elias
    That was really well said.
    Thank you.

  •  The Vonnegut (0+ / 0-)

    quote reminds me...One of the Gold Star mothers had a meeting with *. She stated words to the effect that her dead son would never have the great life mapped out for him. * countered with "how do you know he would have a good life?"  Sometimes I don't know how much longer I can take this.

  •  I (0+ / 0-)

    choose not to go to war.

  •  Thank you for these reminders, Jay. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Especially powerful in light of our remembrance this weekend of those who've served -- and still serve -- in Iraq. I was asked to place the following poem on my blog, which I did today; written by a wife of a Vietnam vet, I hope they don't mind if I reprint it here as well with a link back to their PTSD support bulletin board.

    Thank you Soldier
    By Chris Woolnough

    Have you stopped to thank a veteran today?
    For the price of freedom they had to pay?
    Did you gaze into those distant eyes?
    Did you see the ghosts he can't deny?
    Did you think a soldier's heart was made of steel?
    Because he was trained to kill, he couldn't feel?
    Did you see the guilt written on his face,
    For the loss of life he can't replace?
    Did you know he mourns the lives he couldn't save,
    And walks with comrades in their grave?
    Did you remember the boy with innocence lost?
    Do you really know war's ultimate cost?
    Have you felt the blast of artillery fire?
    Do you have the courage it would require?
    Have you stood in trenches consumed with fear?
    Felt the enemies breath so very near?
    Have you walked with God on a battleground?
    Seen your brothers dead or dying all around?
    Have you stopped to thank a vet today,
    Or did you just turn and walk away?
    From the pain he'll carry for the rest of his life,
    Did you consider his family, his children, his wife?
    That watch him suffer in silence each and every day,
    As he's haunted by memories that don't go away?
    Did you care that the soldier is still pulling guard?
    That his heart, mind, and soul will forever be scarred?
    Do you know how he suffers from ptsd?
    Or that our precious freedom is never free?
    Do you care that he still hears the blood curdling screams?
    Or that he returns to the war each night in his dreams?
    Have you felt the sorrow of a combat vet?
    Or would you rather just forget?
    That war has pierced his hardened heart,
    And torn this soldier all apart?
    Would you rather our heroes just fade away?
    Or will you stop to thank a vet today?


    Please visit Chris Woolnough's online community at The Aftermath of War, Coping with PTSD. You'll find "a safe haven of support for those whose battles live on in The Aftermath of War."

  •  I was trained as a combat medic... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MikeB, Matt O

    ...during Vietnam. I was supposed to go but didn't. Thank God. Not because I didn't want to do my duty but because by that time, I had seen what war had wrought.

    An 18 year-old kid walking onto a ward in one of the old-style Army hospitals (Valley Forge Army Hospital- from what I understand it's not there anymore)and seeing two long rows of soldiers lining the walls, all of them wrapped in white bandages and plaster. Most missing limbs and/or in traction; many with terrible burns and other wounds. At night you would always hear quiet weeping after lights-out. Many would awaken screaming from their nightmares.

    I also worked the psychiatric unit there. Back then, the Army was still using electro-convulsive therapy for severe depression and "battle fatigue". Most of the patients weren't adverse to it as it induces some temporary amesia and seemed to quiet the dreams.

    Over 20 years later, I was working in a half-way house for chemically dependent men. We had a contract with the V.A. and I saw the many of the older Vietnam vets as well as the new crop from Desert Storm. P.T.S.D. was a problem then as it will be now with the Iraq war.

    I guess my point is, that there are different kinds of "war experiences." Mine was less traumatizing than actual combat. Thank God. But I have  seen the outcomes when our leaders are not good enough or too corrupt to negotiate any other way than violence. My experience has left me anti-war to my very core. As a former soldier, I understand the need to sustain our liberty by preparing for war. It is altogether another thing to put men and women in harms way for a unmerited, "pre-emptive" war. To do so is treason, in my mind.

    Jay, thank you so much for this diary. It made me weep but it also gave me strength. Please keep sharing your writing here.

    •  Thank You (0+ / 0-)

      First, I want to say that what you did and are doing are extremely commendable and I salute you for them.

      I suppose this is because I have never served but I do not feel fighting a war is always wrong. I believe our involvement in the Second World War was just. It is rare but I believe there is such a thing.

      I would have to ask you if such a stance could be altered with military service during a time of war.

      Again, thank you.

  •  This is a great diary.... (0+ / 0-)

    Some of the follow-on comments make me crazy, but it's s great, accurate, and heartfelt diary.  Golda Meir (I think) said it best, something like:  "We can forgive them for killing our children, but we can never forgive them for making our children kill theirs".  

    For whatever their faults and errors, the military members are committing their efforts and lives to serving.  When the critics of the soldiers are sending in their comments from the prison rec rooms after their sentencing for civil disobedience in protest of the war--then I'll listen to the "666" and "psychopaths" remarks.

    •  Oh fuck off (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:

      How about this in light of the USA's ignorance of International Law.

      "We kill their children, and we continue to make our children more loving global

      •  Wrong diary for your crap. (0+ / 0-)

        I know your type, the reflexive America hater.  You have a picture of a tragedy, and you lie to make it into an atrocity.  US soldiers bound children and then shot them in the head?  Do you think, maybe, they would have taken a picture of the "bound" bodies before the burial?  Oh, they forgot.  Right.  Know anything about ballistics and what that kind of wound would look like?  Trust me, there are piles of Iraqi on Iraqi bound and shot bodies in Baghdad every day for you to compare wound characteristics.  You're a Bush enabler, the kind of idiot opposition that earns him loyal followers.  You missed the point of this diary completely.  

        •  Every lost life is an atrocity (0+ / 0-)

          What do you think Joe? 37,000 Iraqis suddenly slipped in the bathtub? Could the US military have something to do with those dead people? Forget the thousands of pounds of bombs that we dropped on their cities, forget the WP and cluster bombs, forget bombing medical centers - no, you want me to examine wound patterns on photos so that the US doesn't get a bad rap?

          I'm recommending less kool aid Joe.

          •  You're an idiot. (0+ / 0-)

            You made a specific allegation.  Anyone with even the most minimal knowledge of gunshot wounds (and I have a lot) can tell in a second you are either a lier or a fool.  Yes the war is a tragedy and a tragic mistake.  Yes we have killed tens of thousands of people, many of them innocent civilians.  But that still does not allow you to spew ridiculous lies about American soldiers and make Bush look good.  Like I said in an earlier post...those soldiers are risking their lives.  Risk yours, you pathetic little coward.  Send me your next email from jail after you have committed your life to your cause.  Chain yourself to the white house gate.  Attack a Senator who voted for this idiocy.  Pour gasoline on your head outside the State Department.  Those service members are willing to risk their lives for their beliefs.  You...not so much.  

            •  C'mon Joe (0+ / 0-)

              What did I lie about? White Phosphorus? The tonnage of bombs dropped on Baghdad? And are you implying that my previous post somehow makes Bush look good? How does that logic work?

              I don't know your deal Joe, but I see that you have a bad habit of calling people names and prejudging folks who disagree with you, so I'm not sure an attempt to discuss the facts of this war is going to work here. But I'm curious nonetheless, what in particular do you think I lied about in my previous post?

              •  Still there? (0+ / 0-)

                What did you lie about?  Oh, the tied, bound, executed, war crime part about the incident you posted about.  As I said before, anyone with an ounce of battlefield or medical experience knew instantly you were, at the least, duped.  Look, you were wrong.  Just admit it and move on.  You are right that this war is a tragic mistake.  And yes, you do make Bush look good.  Anytime an American wrongly accuses American soldiers of atrocities, it makes Bush look good.  The soldiers are not the problem.  The war is.  Bush and all the Senators who voted for it, to include the last Democratic nominee and probably the next.    

                So I answered you.  Now answer me.  What exactly are you doing in your rage and zeal that approximates the risks those soldiers are taking?  Bloggers elbow and paper cuts don't count.  

                I'd be glad to discuss the facts of this war, assuming you know any.  I know this war too well.  My basic point, and I'll try to explain it again, it that by confusing the soldier with the cowardly and stupid politicians who keep him in this disaster of a war, you reinforce that the opposition to W is composed of hate America firsters.  It's not helpful.

                And I do call a few names.  Like Feinstein's idiotic proposal to make the battlefield more dangerous, if that is what you were referring to.  I'll go back to Iraq, willingly, because it is my job.  How about not making it harder?

  •  Why Must We Always Support the Troops? (3+ / 3-)
    Recommended by:
    JTML, theran, jfadden
    Hidden by:
    eastvan, jeffinalabama, llbear

    Are Colonels troops?  Are Generals?  Well, they started out as privates, sergeants or lieutenants.  They soon become entrenched in the bungling, bureaucratic ways that give us Pace, Myers and Abazaid [sic].  

    Sorry folks.  We don't need to support the troops without qualification.  This just doing my job, taking orders, for-the-Corp type of bullshit is what perpetuates this Rambo-esqe, Marion Morrison-type of machismo that sends innocent boys and girls into combat.  

    Today's privates are tomorrow's majors pushing Congress for ever-more expensive toys.  Today's majors are tomorrow's generals pushing civilians into uncompromising postions of life and death.  The military is built for and likes their wars.  Career-types need these wars to gain or establish their bona fides.  We must be less concerned with these "troops" and more concerned with the young men and women looking for a way out of the ghetto, the holler or the prairie.  These are the troops you may support without qualification.

    Support the innocents, not the troops!  

    •  It's Hard to Take You Seriously... (4+ / 0-)

      ...when you obviously know so little about the military that you mistakenly believe that generals start out as privates, when in fact almost every single general in every branch of the military started out as an lower level officer, not as an enlisted man.

      Maybe you should take a little time to learn something about the military before you issue a blanket condemnation of it.  Arrogance is a really bad trait.

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 08:22:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True (0+ / 0-)

        Privates are enlisted men. Enlisted men do not become generals. I think the highest ranking enlisted man is like Sergeant Major or something.

        Generals attended war colleges like West Point in New York or Annapolis and start their careers as 2LTs or second lieutenants. Others are ROTC cadets and do not get that high.

        I am in college and when or if I join the military, I would start as a specialist because I would be an enlisted soldier.

        DHinMI, I am no authority on the military but I have to agree with your last statement.

        •  Officer Candidate's School, Anyone??? (0+ / 0-)
          •  Okay, I'll play... how many people meet (0+ / 0-)

            the qualifications for OCS? how many apply? how many graduate in any given year?

            Second question-- how many of those (by percentage) rise above the rank of major? Lt. Colonel?

            do you want to keep on playing?

            •  Give me a few minutes to back this up. Off to (0+ / 0-)

              Google I go!!

            •  I'm back. 1.5 minutes. Sorry it took so long (0+ / 0-)

              MAJOR GENERAL LUCIUS THEUS.  I'll be right back with more.

              •  Back again. (0+ / 0-)

                4.3% of enlisted personnel come in with some college education.  After 12 years in service, 92.7% have some college education.  Sounds like they are on an officer track doesn't it??  Hmm, I wonder what years 12-20 have in store for us?  Since I know shit about the military, this came from Rand.

                •  5.0% of Officers in FY1997 were from the (0+ / 0-)

                  enlisted ranks.

                  •  Correct that. 5.0% without any college degree (0+ / 0-)

                    which might mean they were direct commissions.  

                  •  Now back to my real point. (0+ / 0-)

                    Sure, all must follow orders in the military.  All are beholden to the C-in-C.  I friggin get that.  I suggest that this bow down before the military mentality prevents us from questioning our military leaders.  These leaders can come from anywhere (which was the point you took most umbrage with - inexplicably I might add)- but they are ultimately accountable to me/you/ and 295 million other Americans.  

                    Why is it wrong to question their motives and actions on an individual level?  If Donald Rumsfeld can say it is just a few bad apples, why can't I say that it is more than just a few.  Why can't I question the integrity of these individuals and by extension question the system that these individuals make up.  

                    By way of a bad analogy, what makes for a bad corporation?  Bad people leading those corporations!  As an example, DKos indicts Wal-mart constantly.  Does this mean the dkos community doesn't support the checkout clerks trying to put food on the table.  Now how about that checkout clerk who rose in the ranks to the position of VP or gm of an individual store?  

                    In short, I believe that in order to question the system, we sometimes must question the individuals that make up that system.

      •  Well said. (0+ / 0-)

        And, in truth, the military is probably the most reliably anti-war organization after the Quakers. They do like their weapons systems, but generally believe that the most successful weapons, like the B-36, are never actually used.

        I've long made a point of watching the News Hour's honor roll of dead service people. Look at them as they go by in silence: these are good people. But when the most senior leaders want the law broken and rules trampled on, they WILL eventually have their way. Then good people are forced by the system to follow.

        They will come home someday. There will be a continuing price to pay.

        This is the worst presidency in the long history of a great republic.

        The worst.

        Slap those goddam hogs away from the trough. They've had enough.

        by perro amarillo on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 08:51:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Comanche Helicopters, Osprey, Tritan Subs, THEY (0+ / 0-)


          •  As I noted, they like their weapons systems. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Wars, on the other hand, are easy to start, hard to stop. They are dangerous and unpredictable. (See Viet Nam and Iraq) It is hard to find an example in the last hundred years of the military beating the drums for war. As with most well-established bureaucracies, they want stability, predictability and increased budgets above all.

            Viet Nam left our military's reputation and capabilites in a shambles. Iraq is exhausting the volunteer forces, demonstrating the limited capabilities of costly conventional weapons systems to defeat insurgencies, and wrecking military careers. They'd really rather be somewhere else, planning new weapons and schemes that would never be tested.

            It's the goddam chicken hawks who brought this on.

            Slap those goddam hogs away from the trough. They've had enough.

            by perro amarillo on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 11:54:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, but... (0+ / 0-)

        The poster's lack of knowledge about a class system in our military, and the extent to which that has become calcified, is no reason to dismiss the other things he's saying.

        Are there subtexts to the "Support Our Troops" slogan?  You bet.  They're not all as evident as the bumper strips distributed by the Republican Party in my area of California, the ones which read "Support the Troops and Our President", but that slogan is being used to extort blank checks to the Pentagon from our citizenry.

        I'd guess that DHinMI and the poster both recognize that active duty personnel have been used as political backdrops and wallpaper for Bush and the Republican Party, and we need to hold those folks who run the military services responsible for that misconduct.

        We're all in this together.

        by JTML on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 08:44:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Literary License. (0+ / 0-)

        Of course I know that the vast majority of senior military officers came out of the academies or ROTC.  My point is still valid.  

      •  Please read. (0+ / 0-)

        Today's privates are tomorrow's majors pushing Congress for ever-more expensive toys.  Today's majors are tomorrow's generals pushing civilians into uncompromising postions of life and death.

        •  More tidbits of information. (0+ / 0-)


          If you are currently in the Active Army and interested in applying for OCS.

          Active Army option is for current active Army enlisted and Warrant Officers. (Hold on a second, rub eyes, what?? Enlisted personnel can become officers?  I don't believe it.)

          Active Army applicants are selected by a Department of the Army selection board convened at the Human Resource Command, Alexandria, VA.
          Active Army applicants should contact their local Military Personnel Office for application procedures.

    •  I have never troll-rated a post before (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      perro amarillo, p a roberson

      Until this one. This one is just--trollish. You have no idea what the military is or how it is structured.

    •  One word before I (0+ / 0-)

      troll rate  (something I very rarely do because I believe even idiots should be allowed to speak) you.    


      it tastes like burning...

      by eastvan on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 09:20:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A soldier at the Peace Vigil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kira April

    This comes from someone who went to the Rockland County Peace Vigil today - which was well attended - over 100 people.

    At about 2:30, I introduced myself to a person that I didn't recognize.  He was a young man, perhaps 21.  He was dressed in only a sweatshirt.  Those that vigil know that this was not the dress of someone who was planning to stand outside long. [It was cold.] He told me that he was just driving by, and felt that he had to stop and thank our group for standing out in the cold.  He told me that he is energized by the fact that there are vigils and protests like ours.  He told me that he finds it easier to do his job, knowing that there are people who truly support the troops, working hard to do the right thing.  He told me that his two week leave ends Monday, and then he's back to Iraq, to finish his one year tour of duty there.  He told me that he doesn't have it bad there, he is part of Central Command, and, "There's a lot of soldiers who have it a lot worse."

    He couldn't stay long.  When you're down to the last 48 hours of your leave, you have at least 96 hours of things to do.  When you're flying back to
    be in a war, your good-byes to your friends and family take longer.

    I will not forget todays Vigil.

    an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

    by mightymouse on Sat Mar 18, 2006 at 08:27:42 PM PST

  •  A US soldier put a bullet in this child's head. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Last week.

    Empire Burlesque

    Noble my ass.

    •  Evidence? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      p a roberson, joesig

      Here is a link to the Reuters story you cite second-hand in your link. I'll leave it to others to decide if the words of Tikriti policemen (Saddam's hometown) are as neutral as you argue at the link. This Tikrit raid looks like a awful tragedy but I saw no evidence at your link other than repeated statements of 'We know this' and 'We know that'. You may know something but I'm not so arrogant that I can tease out every fact thousands of miles from Iraq based on vague press reports. You all but accuse a US soldier of shooting an infant in the head on purpose. That kind of antiwar propaganda serves Rumsfeld and Company better than their own.

      Ned Lamont for Senate "Baby, I say it's high time we rock the boat."

      by joejoejoe on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 02:27:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Soldiers - Heel Now (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    A dog is loyal to his owner regardless of how good or bad that owner is. Soldiers are no better than that. Your owner says "sickem" and away you go. Hard to glorify that. Why don't you worry less about how great you are for barking and biting and help us find you a new owner?

  •  Once I Was a Soldier..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CalvinV, joesig, llbear

    I was a soldier once, in the service of my country. there was an incresingly unpopular war going on then too which, like this one, was popular on the front end but turned sour over time.
    A young, unsophisticated teenager, I bought into the Conventional Wisdom of the time ("Weve got to fight them there or we'll be fighting them here") and enlisted for it, in the airborne infantry.
    What I saw there convinced me first hand that what we were doing there as a country and as an Army was wrong. So when I was discharged (honorably) I decided to protest the war.
    I have proteted almost every war since, including this one.
    Was I wrong to enlist in the service of my7 country? Was that bad? Well I sure was made to think so for a long time and, most amazingly, by the side I'm on. This still pisses me off, there seems to be so many of our side that still don't get it. Sure the other side doesn't get it either but thats why I vote against them.
    No it wasn't bad, service to one's country and community is a good thing by almost anyone's standards. But what was wrong was the way that urge to help was subverted by leadership into something that was entirely wrong for our country.
    The Right Wing has highjacked the appeal of the Left to the common soldiers through their Right WIng Noise Machine. They spend more time and effort on thought control of their own soldiers than they do to foreigners.
    But they haven't won and they WON't win. Because our side is right.
    Know why the Right always says that the media coverage of war is anti war? Because any true portrayal of war IS antiwar: war is the most awful thing in the world, everybody who sees it is revolted by it and wants no more of it. Evevryb sane person, that is. Its like ANY other bloody disaster that way. Anybody want another Katrina?  
    When war is portrayed accurately, especially the aftereffects and the collateral effects. Even Karen Hughes can't happyface dead bodies and wounded children.

    Our side should only be appealing to soldiers on a basic level: what can we do for them? Service to one's country is a noble motive and we want to have that kind of people on OUR side---because theyre our future leaders. These men and women coming back from the war went in as boys and girls and theyve learned a lot about war. NONE of them like it.
    Thats where we should start.


    by exlrrp on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 06:26:34 AM PST

    •  And that's the way it was - and is (0+ / 0-)

      I made no decision about the Viet Nam War.  I joined, went to Viet Nam, saw the war from a broad perspective as well as up front and personal,

      That's when I made up my mind,  and that's what's going  on with our military right now in Iraq.

      That war was wrong then. This war is wrong now. exlrrp and Jay - thanks.  Superb diary, excellent post.

      "Time to clean out the crap in Congress" - Jesus (D) Nazareth

      by llbear on Sun Mar 19, 2006 at 09:26:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Soldiers Are Responsible (0+ / 0-)

    Isn't the US military all-volunteer? It seems popular in this diary to blame the higher command for a lot of things, but as people enlist for this war or extend their terms during this clearly misguided operation, then I'm afraid those people have to take some personal responsibility for their role in whatever death and destruction they contribute to.

    I mean, I find it very hard to think of a more heinous and clearly bad decision than to agree to be a triggerman for this corrupt administration.

    How do war volunteers defend that decision?

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