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On Soldiers


Here is an email I received in response to one of my essays.

On Soldiers : Garden Stater : gardenstater@gmail.com : 2005-12-07

Excellent Site but I Strongly Disagree with your view of soldiers

Your site is an informative one that comprehensively details just about anything and everything one who strives to be informed needs to know. Excellent, one of the best I’ve ever seen.

However, I strongly disagree with your attitude toward soldiers and I do not believe you understand what they go to and how they end up in the military. It seems like your position is that the people fighting the war are to blame for the war, but in my mind this doesn’t make sense. Policy makers start the wars, soldiers just follow the orders. The policymakers are the ones who lied to the public, the world and the soldiers, but the soldiers, after fighting under those false pretenses, after losing friends under those false pretenses, need something to believe in. They don’t go back and fight to kill children, they go back and fight to support each other. The soldiers are as much the victim of this disaster as the civilians and the public. We were all lied to and the soldiers had nothing to do with that.

Nuremberg established the principle that just following orders is not a valid excuse. You are responsible for what you do, no matter who tells you do it or who orders you to. Modern day soldiers considering a career killing people have a moral duty to study up whether that killing is justified. Otherwise, they are just paid hitmen, automatically guilty of mindless murder for hire. Failure to do that research I would call criminal negligence. It takes only a tiny bit of digging to discover the Iraq war is both illegal and unjust. There is absolutely no justification to butcher Iraqis, particularly children and women. Even Hitler avoided atrocities of the magnitude routine for Americans in Iraq.

Many of the people who signed up for the military were coerced, or persuaded by recruiter pride and camradery talk and did not believe they would ever be sent off to kill. Many don’t have a choice since they can’t pay for their tuition. They don’t choose it a way to earn a living. They see it as a way to better themselves and get through school.

Granted, most military people are subnormal intelligence and extraordinarily gullible. But eventually they do clue into the evil they have become enmeshed in. Then the only choice then is to become a conscientious objector. It is not as though someone is pointing a rifle at them and saying rape that little boy As a gay man, I have met hundreds of visiting American soldiers and talked with them about why they do what they do. They are unusually selfish people, who give not a thought for their victims. They are also sheep. They believe what they are told and do what they are told. They don’t trust themselves to think. They excuse their crimes by saying If I didn’t do it, someone else would. In other words, they are indistinguishable from Nazis.

There are those that have entire careers in the military, but they’re not to blame either. They believe in what they’re doing and they believe they’re fighting for something — they have to. Also, when they signed up they never ever ever imagined that some psycho nut-job would lie to the whole world in order to start an unnecessary war, they thought they’d be used for good causes and only to defend their country when under attack.

From what I have seen, soldiers are society’s losers who gain their self esteem by identifying with the power of the entire military machine and whose self worth depends on the petty rank distinctions and ribbons the military hands out. They are pretending to believe lies while they are actually motivated by sadism. I am not letting them off the hook, just because they can spout military propaganda. Major General Smedley Butler, USMC (United States Marine Corps), claims in his essay that it can take a lifetime for a soldier to come to the revelation he has been conned, but that was 75 years ago. Today with the Internet, there is no excuse. I get letters almost daily from soldiers stationed in Iraq annoyed about my website. They can no longer pretend ignorance. They can click the links and read the news stories or order the books from Amazon.

Also, you should know — war isn’t easy. These people go into the military, face extreme training and are put through psychological exercises that train them to think of themselves as expendable to the point where they are conditioned to become a weapon for our country — but they are human, they are always human, will always have feelings and regrets and families who care about them. They do these things and live through it and remember it and they’re haunted by it. They get nightmares, psycho-problems, physical problems, many have committed suicide. They live this stuff every day and have to deal with it for the rest of their lives. Yet, do you think Dick Cheneye, George Bush, or Donald Rumsfeld lose any sleep over what’s happening? Not a chance.

They chose a career bullying and killing. It just slightly more respectable, but less lucrative than a Mafia enforcer. The same type of people apply for both jobs — bullies.

I’d suggest checking out this site optruth.org It’s a website with American troops who vent about their experiences in the war, their questions and their doubts about it. It really does a good job of humanizing them. I hope that you’ll check it out.

2 other points:

You single out the United States, however the British have taken part in the invasion, the Australians have, the Polish have, as well as numerous other countries. So at the very least, try to be fair in spreading the blame.

The other nations are there in token support only, arm-twisted by Bush to give legitimacy to his filthy oil heist. Look at the tiny casualty numbers for the other countries.

Another thing you single out Republicans as the culprits of this war, but really it’s the NeoConservatives, a small group of influential Opinion managers (if you will) who exert a certain amount of pull over both parties. They got Bill Clinton to do their bidding, got Bush to do it in more depth, and now you see Hillary Clinton requesting that we put more troops in Iraq. The DLC (Democratic Leadership Council) faction of the Democratic Party was just about as comlicit in the Iraq Policy as leading Republicans. As of current however, rank-and-file Republicans have recognized how futile this war has been, DLC Dems have moved away from so much support for the war (meh — kinda) and now about 60% of this country is against the war.

I admit I am being a bit of an optimist hoping many of the Iraq war supporters were simply dupes who fell for Bush’s phony nuclear-drones-about-to-attack gambit. But since even Kerry wanted to keep the war going even after it was proven illegitimate, it looks as though Exxon has their clutches into both parties. They want that $13.5 trillion in oil and don’t care how much blood is shed or money borrowed in the taxpayer’s name to get it.

One last thing, you should check out Seymour Hersh’s article about where the Iraq War is going next. Apparently political and military leaders want to put the main focus on Air Power and essential drop Tomahawk missiles, Mark 77 bombs, Bunker Buster Bombs, (and the rest of the arsenal) on wherever the Iraqi Security Forces tell us to. The War will go on, U.S. and Coalition casualties will go down, Iraqi Civilian deaths will sky rocket. This is where jingo-egotism has brought us unfortunately.

And when they have bombed where the collaborators have requested in past, Americans discovered they were blowing up rival collaborators. What a bloody mess!

Peace. Please write back if you have the time.


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