Here is an email I received in response to one of my essays.
Hey man, I did 2 deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. My 2nd deployment to Iraq contrasted the 1st in which we were tasked to work side-by-side with Iraqis in improving infrastructure in the Ramadi and Fallujah areas. These were the very same men that were shooting at us about a year prior. I’m not 100% sure why the atmospherics changes so drastically but my guess is that it was a combination of counter insurgency taking affect and us paying off the insurgent warlords (more likely). When my tour was up in Fallujah, I noticed that MSR Michigan (notoriously known as RPG (Report Program Generator) Alley) dad solar powered street lights and horticulture projects going on all the way from the clover leaf traffic circle to the bridge. That was towards the tail end of 2008.
I guess your are unaware that you just confessed to two counts of a capital war crimes. Did you truly not know what you did is a hanging offence? You are a military buff. How come you never read anything about Nuremberg trials at the end of WWII (World War II)? Granted a fish as small as you will not likely ever be prosecuted, but we are still going after relatively small fish Nazis in their nineties. Even if all you do did was peel potatoes you aided and abetted a aggressive war. That is a hanging offence. The USA is a waning power. It will not be able to protect its war criminals from prosecution that much longer. Surely you have noticed Bush, Cheney and friends don’t ever visit Europe. I did not make up the law. I am simply telling you about it because you were too stupid and horny to kill to check the legality of what you did before you leapt. Even if I could knew for sure I could get away with murdering someone, I still would not do it. To me, murder is seriously wrong. Apparently, you do not share that view.
Later on I spent time in Helmand Province, Afghanistan with a reserve unit. We were in one firefight and couldn't return fire because collateral damage would have been too high.
Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan attacked the USA. You had no more right to be there than Hitler had to be in Poland. You had no right to kill anyone, no matter how surgically.
The rest of the time our unit leaders were going to Shuras to work with Tribal Elders to come up with solutions to improve the Afghan villages that surrounded our patrol base. We held more than 20 clinics where medicine was administered and locals could come in and get treated. By the time we left theater we were in the process of building schools in which even girls could attend.
Let’s say the Chinese invaded the USA, tortured your brother to death and killed all your family. Then after a decade of pummelling they put up some solar powered street lights. Would that make it all ok? Don’t be ridiculous.
You can call me and those I served with murderers all you want, I don’t really care.
You killed people illegally. That is the definition of murder. You don’t have the excuse of self-defence. You went to the middle east to pick a fight because you enjoy fighting. You liked it so much you signed up for a second tour. You don’t have the excuse of defending your country. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq attacked the USA. Your country attacked them to confiscate oil (Iraq) and lithium (Afghanistan). You are just a hired thug. Under what possible twisted logic could I call you something other that a murderer?
I’m actually back in Afghanistan working with Doctors Without Borders. I’ve seen a lot of good things out here and a lot of bad things. People like yourself choose to focus on the bad. You being 65 years old, I would assume that you know that most things in the real world aren’t black or white. Stop being so toxic.
There are no possible grounds to excuse what you did other than blind stupidity. There is no conceivable good deed that erases a capital crime. You are like a guy an death row knitting socks for orphans hoping it would exonerate him. Murder is the most serious crime. You have not even shown remorse for your crimes, just denial. You need a heck of a lot more suffering before anyone should consider absolving you.
I would like to propose to you that high divorce rate in the military has mostly to do with 19-year-old Privates marrying their high school sweet hearts. I mean these are kids marrying kids but we expect them to be successful even though the demands of service will crush something that is already fragile.
I believe that if the military put an age restrictions on marriage then statistics would be more similar to their civilian counterparts
I don’t follow. Are you suggesting the military reject young marrieds? Can you show military people marry younger that others? CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio has done dozens of shows about married couples or various ages trying to deal with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), serious injuries, brain damage or just returning from combat generally. These are incredible strains on a marriage. Look at the statistics. There is nothing that ruins marriages like military service. It is as bad as drug addiction and is often combined with alcohol and/or drug addiction.
Ok — I was about to close your page then noticed a couple other issues that contrast my own observations.
Suicides have been a concern even during the Clinton era. I remember reading about one of the top Drill Instructors in the Marine Corps who committed suicide between training cycles. Pretty much his marriage was falling apart which he figured was enough to end his life over.
You point out PTSD and what not but what about survivor’s guilt? Dakota Meyer — the only living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since Viet Nam — tells in an interview of himself nearly taking his own life. He was drunk and thinking about his buddies (and even the Afghan Soldiers he was embedded with) that were ambushed and didn’t make it out alive. He made it back and they didn’t and now he has to contemplate on why the rest of his life.
There are two basic reasons people commit suicide:
Objectively, you, Byron, have forfeited your right to live because you have committed a capital war crime. If that ever sinks in, you might kill yourself, even if other than that, your life were fine. I find it odd you can be so casual about what you have done. I presume your denial depends on racism. You must believe the people you harmed don’t count because they were the wrong colour or the wrong religion or the wrong nationality. Perhaps you use the Nazi excuse to yourself. Somebody else ordered you to kill. They certainly did not order you to enlist twice.
You will spin this however, you like though but there are no statistics of Soldiers coming back and offing themselves from putting babies in the microwave.
I never claimed there were, but there are some suicide stats:
Veterans, about 1 percent of the population, now account for about 20 percent of all U.S. suicides. source
Surely you are aware that suicide is a bigger risk that combat. Even the military itself has publicly wrung its hands over what could be done about it.
Wow, I can’t get over a lot of your material. You know 90% of those that deploy to Afghanistan don’t even leave the base most of the time.
Did you read the essays or just look at the pictures? You Americans are so cowardly you do most of your killing with remote control. You drop bombs. You use inaccurate drones where the pilot is in no danger at all. You snipe from 0.30 cm (0.12 in) distance. You travel around in armoured vehicles. You happily butcher kids to avoid the tiniest risk to your own asses. You are the pussiest military that ever was. I am surprised you will confess to that. You American soldiers are like Dick Cheney who goes hunting pheasants on a farm where flunkies hold up the birds in front of his muzzle.
But you will put up pictures of glorified Rambo type soldiers when in wondering if the next door they kick in is rigged to blow.
You just don’t get it. They have every right to kill you. You are trespassing in their country. You have no right at all to be there much less hurt anyone.
No service person that has enlisted in the past 3 years has been to Iraq and most of them will not go to Afghanistan.
Why on earth would I wait for 15 years to write about the Afghan and Iraq wars? You are commenting on very old essays. They are primarily about history.
They enlisted to give up their freedoms so that others can retain theirs.
Where did you get that? Some old John Wayne WWII movie? Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan could possibly hurt the USA. You have been there. You know that excuse for your behaviour is complete bullshit. What are they doing to do, invade with a flotilla of donkeys held up with sheep bladders? You are fucking with their freedoms not the reverse.
But carry on with your fear mongering.
Personally, I would love to see people like you get your fucking balls blown off or turned into a living vegetable. I don’t give a damn about a sadistic little shit like you. I care about your victims. I will do whatever I can to convince you and your ilk to cut to stop hurting people. I want to give you every possible reason I can think of that might turn you away from a life as a professional hit man. That it might save your life is an unfortunate side effect.
Fact: It is more difficult to enlist in the military and complete recruit training than it is to get into college. Per capita, more Americans in the service have college degrees and high school diplomas than their civilian counterparts.
I seriously doubt that for four reasons:
This one is free but the next one will be $5 (Canadian).
Fact: The middle to upper middle class is over represented demographically in the U.S. Military.
That will be $5 Canadian, please. You can send it by paypal to this address
I found your blog from the terminal lance page and their Facebook page. Your stuff is still towards the top. Maybe you should post what you really think about them.
Every once in a while there are wave of people who come to my website, sent by some right winger to be outraged. There is always the possibility that in thinking up rebuttals, they will realise the irrationality of their position. But mostly they just spout cant they read elsewhere that has nothing to do with anything I wrote. They always tell me how angry what I say makes them, but rarely present evidence why they think it is wrong.
I click on the Iraq War Links, what can you do After reading that, I do not believe that you are a troll but you’re, in fact, somewhat objective and fair with your analysis especially with how you handle the feedback. I don’t hate your site. This is on merit only because it is clear to me that you genuinely believe in what you have decided to publish over the past 10 years.
It is astounding to me that what I say is for anyone controversial: Don’t kill people who have done you no harm. People who do so are sadists. This is just a corollary of the golden rule that nearly all American give lip service to. To me this is utterly obvious. It also international law. Other people are not allowed to invade my country. If they do, I am fully justified in killing them. Conversely, I am not allowed to invade other people’s country. If I do, they are fully justified in killing me. Oddly, many people find this law controversial. They think there should be an exception for Americans. From where I stand, you are stark raving bonkers — criminally insane, while most Americans think my stand is just as nuts. They think it is perfectly ok for Americans to kill anyone they please for trivial or no reason, simply because they are the good guys by definition.
That said, my concerns are that your attacks are with involvement over there are misguided. Why do you flame service members when they aren’t the ones that decide the mission.
That is the old Nazi excuse. I was just following orders. You can’t use that. You volunteered knowing full well you would be either killing or doing support work to aid the killing of innocent people.
They are mostly compassionate, good human beings like yourself who want to make a difference (this is instilled simply from putting the uniform on everyday, same as first responders) — the are given directives by those put into power, leaders who are elected by the people.
Compassionate people do not attack others unprovoked. Compassionate people do not go half way around the earth to hunt fellow humans. You take murder much too lightly. Your personal denial is positively delusional. You are a whack job. You are unbelievably out of touch with the seriousness of what you have done.
So maybe your logic is flawed in a way. It is the people’s will for who is elected and by appointing leaders that means they generally support their decisions. So by default, wouldn’t the citizens who voted for the decision makers in the first place be guilty of treason?
It is not my logic. I am talking about law, not morality IIRC (If I Recall Correctly) read somewhere that even those who finance wars can be charged with war crimes. I have never heard of civilian voters being charged, though I agree all Nazis in Germany are morally responsible for the invasion of Poland.
Hey, that’s like driving the get-a-way car from a bank heist where the teller was shot dead, right? Therefore, most Americans deserve to hang but what Army is going to invade N. America and carry out the law? Good luck with that one. I’m sure most people will just give you a soldier shrug, so what then? What are you going to do, this all just sounds so idealistic to me.
It has nothing to do with me or my idealism. I am talking about the law, not how I think the law should be, not morality but what the law is today. You have broken the law. You have committed two capital (hanging) crimes. You were likely lied to about the law, to trick you into breaking it. My argument has nothing to do with morality. You committed and confessed to two counts of a capital crime. Whether you will actually hang for it is completely separate matter. Lots of people get away with murder. That does not make them innocent. If you think I am shitting you, read some books on the Nuremberg trials. One of the lead prosecutors Ben Ferencz was a friend of a friend of mime. He is still alive and has written on it. Also read up on the constitution-trumping treaty the USA signed when it joined the UN (United Nations).
In my eyes, you are no different from someone who confessed he raped and murdered his next door 7 year old neighbour. Like you, they would chastise me for focusing on the bad. Like you, they would want me to absolve them, agreeing they had done nothing seriously wrong. Just because you will probably get away with it does nothing for my revulsion. The puzzle is not why I am a horrified at what you did, but why so many of your fellow Americans see no problem with killing kids and your nation invading and plundering two countries that had done nothing to harm it.
Right now the USA thumbs its nose at the International Criminal Court. The USA signed a treaty agreeing to turn war criminals over for trial. It thumbs its nose at that treaty. It can get away this because it is the biggest financial and military power in the world. However, surely you are aware of the exploding US debt. The USA used to invade any country that used anything but US dollars for petroleum exchanges. They no longer do that and the US is losing what amounted to a giant tax on all world oil purchases. It was a massive free ride for the US dollar. America’s days are numbered as the #1 financial power. Without fabulous wealth it will no longer be able to afford a military bigger than everyone else’s combined. There will be pressure for it to comply with its promises. Consider that some Nazis were not brought to justice until they were in their 90s. A lot can change over 70 years. I am not arguing that you will hang, but that you should be treated that way and you stop kidding yourself that you have done nothing wrong. You are quite a bit more intelligent than the typical soldier who writes and you are showing some signs of remorse even if you still outwardly protest innocence. There is hope for you yet. That is why I spent so much more time responding to you than to them.
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