Soldiers are not Heroes

Killing people does not make you a hero. nor does it necessarily make you a defender of freedom

Soldiers are not HeroesAmerica has a cult obsession with the military. Specifically, there is a cult-like hero worship of American soldiers, which I find rather disturbing. Many people will find this statement controversial, but not all Americans who serve in the military are heroes. In fact, most of them are not “heroes,” they are flawed people like myself who do not deserve special respect simply because they wear a uniform.

The Chris Kyle/American Sniper issue has been circulating on my news feeds lately. Whenever I read an article about those who disagree with Chris Kyle’s message or the new film American Sniper, they are littered with comments from Americans who foam at the mouth over any criticism of the military or any perceived lack of respect. Seth Rogen has been blasted with comments I wouldn’t want to read here, as has Michael Moore.

The attitude and responses I have read are just outright ridiculous and it always boils down to two general arguments. It is either, “You’ve never served before, so you have no right to say anything” or “Those troops died so you could have the freedom to be the ass-hat you are, show some respect.” American militarism never ceases to be so cartoonish.

I will state outright that my problem with American military culture is the inherent infallibility it is granted. This is especially true of the soldiers. You can never be “against” the troops (whatever the hell that means). I’ve heard it all before;

You have to support the troops! You can be against the wars, but you have to support the troops!”

Well, no. I don’t have to support the troops, at least not in the military’s current state of operation. I can’t drive this point enough: America’s military is an arm of imperial adventure. The American Army has done nothing but wage wars in foreign countries, in order to preserve or advance American power.

Sure, the Army and Service Branches have taken part in humanitarian aid before. As true as this is, remember that the American military also acts as a tool for American power and more often or not this has bad repercussions for the countries we target.

Iraq (perhaps the strongest example) is by-far not the only issue. Obviously the American Army hasn’t done much for Afghanistan in over a decade. The US has sent troops into sovereign nations for many generations, and today this still rings true.

Essentially, I am told I have to respect the military and its servicemen because “they fight for your freedom,” yet I am never allowed to exercise this freedom in any fashion. I don’t have to respect the military, or the soldiers in it.

For one, the military isn’t fighting for “my freedom” any more than Rush Limbaugh advocates against OxyContin. The Army has been used as a tool to fight in two disastrous wars within the last decade alone, wasting trillions, hundreds of thousands of lives, and has spread chaos and devastation across where it intervenes. This doesn’t sound like the actions of heroes.

Now, specifically about Chris “American Sniper” Kyle, it is just crazy that I would encounter people who scream from the rooftop, “He’s a hero! An American Legend!” I am serious. American Legend? Hero, okay whatever. But, a Legend? Really?

Apparently what makes Kyle the hero and legend is that he killed over 160 “enemy combatants”, won many service medals and honors, and gave cover for “his buddies” in the field. The field of course being Iraq, a country we illegally invaded.

So, let me get this straight: We invade a country by the use of our Army. I am told I don’t have to support the illegal war, just the soldiers who are propagating this illegal war. In essence, you have to support the troops despite the war, which ultimately means you wind up supporting the war effort.

Let me be clear: I do not think Kyle was a hero. Not even close. I don’t think the majority of American soldiers today are heroes. Of course this depends on the individual cases, and in no way will I say that no soldier or ex-soldier can be a hero for the country. I just don’t think fighting an illegal war, and bragging about killing the “enemy” in the illegal war makes you a hero. So he saved his fellow soldiers, which was his obligation. You don’t become a hero by doing your job.

You don’t by definition become a hero in America just because you enlist, or even if you fought in combat. I can’t call veterans of Iraq heroes, because I don’t believe fighting an illegal and disastrous war is respectable. I know this will offend many currently serving, but I am not proud of America’s empire building. I can’t respect an institution that is used to build empire, or those who choose to help build it.

I understand this will not be totally popular, but it is how I feel. I do not think servicemen are by definition heroes, nor do I respect the institution they serve. Yes, I am not a service member past or present. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to state what I feel, especially when the people I am criticizing fight for my right to say it.

If you want to support the troops, increase their salaries, VA care, and most importantly: Bring them home. You know how I support the troops? By not wanting them to die and kill in senseless wars.

I can’t tell you what a hero is, because I’m not a hero. All I know is that gaining a career by killing people in a foreign land over wars that have no impact on your freedom or life whatsoever, does not make you a hero.

91 COMMENTS

  1. I couldn’t even make it through this garbage!! All i’m going to say is I am a soldier, and I nor ANY of the rest of us waged war on any country (Educate yourself on who decides whether we go to war or not). And the respect factor that everybody pushes in your face, is because of what we have given up and what we have turned out to be after seeing war, not to mention what our children go through. You’re a pussy and haven’t done shit. Sit down and shut the fuck up. You’re a waste of human flesh!!!

  2. This snot nose B.S. excuse, of an article, determining hero opinion of our country’s national volunteer armed forces …. was written by a young punk not even finished making his best shit stain in life yet. Your biography following sir :

    “I’m a New Orleans native, born and raised until a brief departure during Hurricane Katrina. I will be graduating from Tulane University at the end of 2015, where I’ve specialized in Literature and History, with a mild taste for Journalism.

    My interest is in American Pulp-Fiction and Literature in relation to American social history. I have a day job as a part-time human being (though please don’t tell anyone).

    I enjoy reading, writing, and enjoying life in all its strange issues. I write a weekly blog for a politics-related site, quietmike.org, where you can find my columns published every Sunday. That’s pretty much it, until I can remember more. ”

    ?????????????????? that’s it ? This is your qualifying character ? You’re just a kid man. You dunno’ shit yet.

  3. To me the definition of a true “hero” is one who risks life and limb to prevent harm to another person. So not all soldiers are hero’s, IMO, and most probably wouldn’t want to be called hero’s. We were doing a job. A job we volunteered for, in most cases. A job we could work at for 20 years and retire with a pension and medical care. See if you get that from Wally Mart.

    The military, like several other potentially dangerous professions, has produced a good number of bonafide heroes. Order a copy of “United States of America Medical of Honor Recipients.” Ten bucks on Amazon and wade thru the citations. I can’t read more than a few before I start crying. Like those of troops who fall on hand grenades in fox holes to save their brothers in arms. Yup, there are a bunch of them. These citations are short on words but long on heroism. This volume will educate you on what it is to be a real hero to your fellow man. No one choose to be a hero, the event just landed on the soldier often without warning.

    • Say that to yourself dickhead, fire department!!!!!!!! Shut up bitch! You were not a Soldier nor a hero by anybody’s standards!! Aim your hose and keep your mouth shut!!!

  4. Im glad someone finally said it. I feel like if were going to call soldiers heroes, then we should also include doctors, nurses, firefighters, etc. heroes as well!

  5. I am somewhat surprised that my various comments are not getting challenged further. I hope that doesn’t mean I am surpressing discussion, Mr. Quiet Mike, I think you have opened up a good dialog and I hope it keeps going.

  6. Can we please admit the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have absolutely nothing to do with “our freedoms”? We were neither attacked nor threatened by either country. War is a business, nothing more.

  7. Mr Duty, I do not care if you do not respect the fact of what we do or have done in combat. I do not even care if you care if we are called heros. But just think about one thing before you rant on or give a rebutle on any comment left on here. There is a pride that some of us have with a country that we love. This led most of us to serve our great nation. Wether you like it or not these men decided to take a vow to protect the constitution. Leaders change and so do their values and polatics. You can not hat the man who serves for you and everyone they have sworn to protect. They do on the other hand have to fallow some things that may not be right handed down by our leadership up on capital hill. They do however have the right to refuse an order if it is unjust. I wish that you could see for yourself what our soldiers have to go through and what it takes to do a job that only 1% of Americans are willing to do. It is your right to have an opinion and to speak your mind. Just like it is your right not like us for what we have done. Just remember that if you want to see the other side of the fence feel free to go and live in any one of these countries that we have gone to and see how they live under the oppression that their governments have over them. The grass always looked good from afare but once you see the truth your eyes will open to the truth. Just because something looks good dose not mean that it is. Read your history on these places that you think we have been invading elligaly and then come back and say that our soldiers are wrong. Look at what these countries soldiers have done to their own people and compare before you judge us for what we do.

    • You are kidding. Refuse an order while in uniform? Sure, if you are willing to accept the consequences. Two friends of mine refused to take the “security oath” (the same one Snowden took) that you have one shot at for the rest of your life. With in weeks they were packed up sent into the combat zone. CO? Ha. Off to the psych facility.

    • It is refreshing to hear someone else say what I have thought for years. I personally think that the American public has a deep sense of guilt for our actions going back to Vietnam. If we were to prosecute some of our leaders for war crimes then maybe this current obsession with war would not be so popular.

      • Beststash, you are right, probably. But, so much is hidden by secrecy it can’t really get unraveled coherently. Look at Snowden: he’s on the hook for treason, but yet what he revealed sounds to a lot of people as criminal activity. So, who remains at risk for jail?

    • If you are referring to the United States Constitution, you should capitalize the word Constitution. While you are at it tell all of us how our adventure in Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan “protected the Constitution.”

    • That’s a crock. I’ve heard that shit shoveled for almost 50 years. Soldiers are not martyrs. I took early retirement after the first oil war because i saw us heading down the road to religious war. 100% disabled, PTSD.

      We are at war for 2 reasons:
      1. they have something we want.
      2. The dying Abrahamic religions are using oil as a proxy for an all out religious war.
      Everything else is a crock.

      We’ve still got John Ford messing with our tribal snake brains. The American narrative as Passion play as seen through the eyes of an Irish immigrant. he gave us our first common emotional memory. Our shared history on the silver screen with familiar faces. And he made us all feel the same thing while viewing the same images, all across the country. He carved Monument Valley and John Wayne into our national psyche.
      Did my doctoral dissertation on it. ‘Remembering John Ford’s ‘December 7th.’ UH-Manoa 2004.

      and I nailed our response to 9/11.

      Glad to see people challenging the mythic soldier.

    • Show me someone who unconditionally waves the flag and supports our troops for “fighting for our freedom”; and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t care that we’re now 19 trillion in debt, that buildings magically just “fall,” the CIA involvement with narcotics, open borders, endless wars, the Bill of Rights, or that we are actually losing our freedom. The left is loony, but the right is even more so because most of them hate the Bill of Rights–thus, in fact, our nation itself–because it gets in the way of their government. At least the left admits what it is.

  8. Mr. Drury,

    I feel that what you lack is a sense of patriotism. There isn’t a hero culture because one movie was made of a man who became a legend, and yes, his acts are legendary. The general populous is patriotic and passionate towards their homeland and the brave young men and women that have gone out and put themselves, voluntarily, in harms way to defend this country from acts of terrorism. We fought one war on two fronts, not two wars.

    What you call empire building is what many others call liberating from oppression. If you believe the Taliban and Saddam Hussein regimes were not oppressing their own people than you are sorely mistaken. Will the lives of the people of these countries be better after being liberated? I would hope it was not all in vain, but I fear since these are predominantly tribal people that have been at war for years that it was futile beyond the toppling of the regimes.

    My wife and I are both service veterans, with myself serving in the liberation of Kuwait. Neither of us consider ourselves heroes, but we do take advantage of the 10% off at Home Depot on Veterans Day and have enjoyed a meal at Applebee’s. We do hope that our children and future grand-children might think of us as being someone to look up to. We would rather them see our service men and women, police officers, firefighters, and other first responders as heroes than some musical or cinematic celebrity or overpaid athlete.

    Regarding our soldiers and your lack of respect for their commitment and those that made the sacrifice of their lives, you should be ashamed for espousing such rhetoric if you aren’t willing to step into their shoes. Those that have enlisted and served took an oath that was first written by the Continental Congress in 1775. http://www.history.army.mil/html/faq/oaths.html I took this oath, and to this day with defend my country from from enemies, both foreign and domestic. And trust me when I say that many of my fellow countrymen feel just as passionately about their service to their country as I.

    Judging by your profile I would guess that you are not mature enough to effectively write a commentary of anything more than this diatribe. Don’t bash the soldiers and badmouth the military for doing what the leadership of this nation called upon them to do. What you should complain about is the liberal Hollywood film industry profiting off these acts of war. Funny how that isn’t anything you thought of. I guess Michael Moore is your hero.

    Have a good evening sir,

    Most respectfully,
    Devrin Kuipers

    • To Devrin,

      Personally, you can take your patriotism and shove it where the sun won’t shine. I am not interested in it, nor have time for it. Call it youth and inexperience, but I don’t have to wrap myself in false constructs like “patriotism” or “liberation.” Liberation? Sure. Let’s see, we have been in Afghanistan since 2001 and Iraq since 2003. That’s an awfully long time to “liberate” those countries, don’t you think? How has that worked out?

      Iraq alone has cost the taxpayer $3 trillion alone, not counting the hundreds of billions poured into Afghanistan. Both Iraq and Afghanistan have been utterly destroyed, with dysfunctional political and social systems, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost (both civilian and US military deaths). Some estimates go into millions, at this point. All for what? What is our liberation doing? Who is it liberating?

      Let’s address the initial invasion of Iraq, an illegal war without any reasonable justification or evidence. While Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who I would categorize as especially heinous, it is not the sole right of the United States to decide who has power in sovereign states. We had no right to remove Hussein’s government and decide Iraq’s rulers anymore than Russia can go into Ukraine and decide who rules there. Sovereign states have to deal with their own political/social situations. It is not our right to impose our ideal of life and liberty to foreign nations at a whim, even if those nations are ruled by tyrants. Let’s address that, actually.

      Yes, Hussein was a tyrant. You know who else was a tyrant? Augusto Pinochet, you remember him right? He was dictator of Chile from 1973-1990, and is responsible for the death, torture and disappearance of thousands of Chileans during his 17 year rule. Pinochet seized power against a democratically elected leader, backed and sponsored by the CIA. Pinochet was a brutal dictator, and we put him in power against a democratically elected leader.

      I’m sure you are aware of Suharto of Indonesia? Surely you must. Suharto was a military dictator that seized power in Indonesia in 1965, during which his and his junta had over 500,000 Indonesians killed (some estimate close to 1 million dead). Suharto was trained and backed by the CIA and American Military, and ruled Indonesia from 1965-1998. During this period, he sent the Indonesian Army to invade and occupy East Timor, which resulted in well over 100,000 killed (mostly civilians). Brutal tyrant, and we propped him up until his own people rose up and toppled his reign.

      Certainly you are aware of Mobutu Sese Seko? You must be. Mobutu was the former dictator of the Congo nation formerly known as Zaire (know known as the Democratic Republic of Congo). Mobutu seized power in an effective coup in 1965, with backing by the CIA. Mobutu ruled the Congo from 1965-1997, during which his name became synonymous with kelptocracy and authoritarianism. Mobutu had untold thousands of his people tortured and murdered, and got rich by stealing money from the country’s treasury. It grew to a point where the treasury of the country became Mobutu’s private bank account. While his nation’s roads were crumbling, he drove around in limos, and his people starved. Brutal dictator that we supported.

      Hopefully you get the point by now. Where do we retain the right to overthrow one type of dictator and place another type in power? How do we condemn one and not the other? Is it because perhaps we have geopolitical interests and we could care less about tyrants or freedom? Maybe we decide who has power based on purely selfish and interest serving grounds? Our foreign policy is not as altruistic as you would like to think it is.

      Like so many right-wing dinosaurs, you think attacking my youth is something that bothers me? Sorry you don’t like the political opinion I have. Maybe you can go enlist again and fight another war to win some more freedoms I thought I was getting from Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, if anything, our freedom at home has dropped quite a bit since 9/11 and Iraq. So, not only have these wars not defended our freedom, we wound up losing freedoms from the AUMF, PATRIOT Act and NSA spying rings.

      Once again. These wars are nothing but imperial fodder, to be eaten up by conservative sheeple so eager to watch people die senselessly. I cannot be a patriot to a military that acts against my beliefs, or a country of people who so vulgarly spew vile nonsense about patriotism and threaten all who disagree with childish violence or petulant insults. Sorry if I’m using too many complicated words, seeing as my youth and inexperience gets the best of me. Sigh….

      Have a great life my good sir,
      – Julian Drury

      • If you want to effect change you have to act. Words alone won’t make that happen. I’m sorry you feel this way about our country. I only hope that you will take this angst and use it for good. Join the Peace Corp, study abroad, do something other rant against the system. BTW, I’m not a right-wing dinosaur. I’m barely in my 40’s and have never voted party lines. Do a little research before you make an assumption. Shouldn’t be too hard, there’s only one Devrin Kuipers in the world.

      • “Imperial fodder”. Apologizing for utilizing “too many complicated words”? Yes, definitely your inexperience at debating a subject is lacking quite a bit. And you obviously do not understand the true meaning of patriotism. Coming from a very Liberal background, I highly doubt you would understand it at all. And please, call me far Right, Tea Party nut, even a Conservative. You’d be wrong. The above article is your opinion. And yes, you are indeed entitled to that opinion, but in doing so, you are also opening yourself up to others’ opinions. You want to put your opinion out there? Be prepared for differing opinions heading your way. That’s the way of life. If you don’t like people confronting your opinion with their own, keep your opinion to yourself. Mr. Devrin here put in his opinion of your article and what do you do? Get all defensive and say to him, quote, “Personally, you can take your patriotism and shove it where the sun won’t shine.” So, you’re saying that you can state your own opinion, but if someone states a different and opposing opinion that doesn’t agree with your’s, you get all upset and whine like a little “inexperienced” spoiled child? If you can’t handle other people’s opinions on you article, don’t post it. As for the remaining, ummm, I guess you could call it a reply, you need to learn a LOT more in world economics. As for “liberating a country”? I’ll say Kuwait and you’ll come back with oil. I then will come back with American interests. That DOES include YOUR interests. YOUR way of life. And yes, oil has quite a bit to do with it. Do some research on that young man and then come back and try to debate like an adult. Do you like, enjoy, your way of life? Your quality of life? The people that go into war, no matter the reason, are going into said war with their eyes wide open. And if you want to believe it or not, both of the most recent wars had everything to do with you directly. Your way of life. No matter how you want to twist it, these Soldiers, Marines, Seaman, and Airmen, are putting their lives on the line, willingly, are doing so for your current way of life. Economies crumble. The American dollar is back on top of the food chain. Oil is traded on the American dollar. Oil has quite a bit to do with the world economy. So, unless you walk or ride a bicycle everywhere you go, your hand is just as dirty as the man making billions with his oil companies. Just because the billions aren’t in YOUR hands, doesn’t give you a reason to bitch and whine on the Internet about our military not being “Heroes”. That is in the eye of the beholder. People such as yourself don’t see the full circle of monetary profit and the world economy. You just want to blame the military industrial complex, the government, the military, anyone and everyone but yourself. Do you take any blame in your personal surroundings? What you can or cannot afford? Ever think on how economies are able to stay stable? Again, in my son’s eyes, I am a Hero. I don’t really care if you think I am or not. It’s just your diluted Liberal thinking. Next time, look at the ENTIRE world picture. Not just pick and choose as you please. I’ll be awaiting your response, which will either be defensive or attacking. Or, just tell me to stick my opinion where the sun doesn’t shine (as well as certain facts you like to miss, either intentionally or just out of ignorance). Educate yourself with all sides before you run blindly into what you’re calling a “debate”. Sorry, I mean your correct and above all, opinion.

        • “We have met the enemy and it is US!” Glad you made the case for how to get away with murder for fun and profit. Killing tens of thousands of non combatants with the USA’s superior fire power so the price of oil will be stable apparently is just AOK with you. I served in the military for 24 years, attaining the highest enlisted rank, E9. I don’t consider myself a hero because even though I was in a hazardous job, I did not get the opportunity to be a hero which by my definition is one who risks his or her life to save another from harm. What did you do to make your son think you are a hero or are you just another hero wanna be? I have met plenty of those and like you sir, make me want to puke.

          • Obviously you completely missed the there Mr. ummm, oilwars7 is it? It’s not about the “oil”. It’s flat out economics and you’re way of life. You enjoy your way of life? Thank your enemies (as you put it). E9? HIGHLY doubtful. Can’t see a SPECK of military any of your comments. I really wish you’d understand that post. Like I stated someone else, get educated on world economics so you don’t answer blindly and full of ignorance. Oh, put your tin hat back on. I can hear what are thinking….

            • Chris, you are pretty arrogant putting down an E9 and fellow soldier just because you don’t like how he thinks. I was an E4 and my guess is that you are a Major or Lt. Col because that is as far as dimwits in the officer ranks can get. You actually have to have some smarts to get out of the field grades. I partially agree with you that it is economics. But not the kind that has much to do with our way of life; it the kind that makes oil the energy king (other countries are getting oil free for electricity, but not us), and global economics depends on extracting ALL resources from third world countries, impoverishing them in the process. YOU get conned into thinking what you have is because of these economics. Not when the .5% get all the gains. Oilwars7 isn’t ignorant. You are self-centered, selfish, and contort reality to fit your life/world veiw.

              • Lol, that’s humorous “spokeumbra”. Very cute. First, not everything you read on the Internet is true, surely you know that correct? So when a man tells me he spent 24 years in service and left as an E9, it’s well within my right to doubt him. Especially since I don’t see ANY military embedded in him. Are you stating it’s YOUR right to call out and bust on the military, to call me self centered and arrogant, but NOT ok for me to question anything? Definitely a double standard there don’t you believe? It’s very easy to spot. Me? An officer? Lmmfao. Theres my laugh for the day. Yes, I served, as enlisted. I did my 6 and got my Honorable Discharge, and then took advantage of the GI Bill, among other opportunities, to improve myself to get me where I am today. And as usual, like 90% of the people out there, you don’t do your research before you speak. The United States is, and has been for approximately the past five years, one of the top THREE oil producing nations in the entire world. As a matter of FACT, has been THE top a couple of times. Yes, it’s fact. Go Google it as I’m sure you will. Don’t you understand that’s why Saudi Arabia will not cut production nor let OPEC? They’re trying to drive the U.S. companies into bankruptcy, AGAIN. Yes, it’s happened before, took hundreds of rigs throughout Oklahoma and Texas, crumbling our economy in doing so. You ALSO missed the point of my main comment above, AGAIN. It’s NOT about oil. It’s about the stabilization of the U.S. economy. It’s about stabilization of the world’s economy. But mainly our’s. That does include YOUR way of life, as well as Mr. oilwars7. But you two fail to see that for what it is. “Not me”. “Only the upper .5% profits and gains from this.” Wrong. Everybody gains. Stable economy = strong workforce = food on the table = A PERSON’S WAY OF LIFE. Track it back. Oil is only a part of that stabilization. You want to be screwed? Let the oil be sold and traded worldwide on something else besides the American dollar. Watch how far the value of dollar drops, right along with your way of life….

                • Sheesh. Your thinking is really warped. As per how you started your rant, why should I believe you were an E6 either? After all, it is on the internet, you wrote it. But, as an E6, my bet is you can relate to the dimwits in the O4 to O6 as being the banes of the earth in the military. Now don’t go extrapolating into reading that I’m saying that all field grades are dimwits.

                  Of course everybody gains with oil. The question is SCALE, and not just oil. Just how is it that the economic recovery, with an indicator of stock values in the order of 3 times what it was at the bottom of 2008, align with a shrinking middle class, wages stagnant, and a putrefying infrastructure? Value that has been created is not remotely close to floating all boats and stabilizing this country’s way of life. Please, reconcile your position with the exploding rate of children living in poverty and the working poor? Please, no blustering about socialism being the cause, it just isn’t and you can’t produce FACTS to prove it.

                  I am quite concerned about why our economy produces bursting bubbles. Then, after every bursting in my lifetime turns into gobbling up and even more centralization of economic control.

                  The real risk in our dollar value isn’t oil. It is that the dollar is the currency standard for the world because of the strength of our economy. Our economic strength isn’t based on work. It is based on how capital is centralized and controlled.

                  You, my friend, and I, are not safe at all. What you are calling stable looks to me as quite precarious.

            • Not all of us in the military buy the bullshit people like g w bush, dick cheney and the rest of the war criminals spewed. I suspect your version of “world economics” is “I am going to kill you if you don’t get in line.” Justifying genocide for the sake of world economics..really?
              I must be a nitwit to continuously get sucked in to banter with morons who justify their actions with high brow commentary and insults often providing not a SPECK of evidence to support their theories. Let me guess, you are a t party republican?.

    • Just following orders doesn’t cut it now and it didn’t then.

      Nuremberg Indictment – WW2
      “Count Two of the Indictment charges the defendants with committing specific crimes against peace by planning, preparing, initiating, and waging wars of aggression against a number of other States. It will be convenient to consider the question of the existence of a common plan and the question of aggressive war together, and to deal later in this Judgment with the question of the individual responsibility of the defendants. The charges in the Indictment that the defendants planned and waged aggressive wars are charges of the utmost gravity. War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent States alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”

    • Dervin, you have a narrow view of history. Don’t confuse your patriotism, which is fine, with reality of global politics, power, and money.

      We did not go into Iraq II for “liberating from oppression.” We went after Hussein, “legally” because of WMD that never materialized. But that was a scam that included illegal outing of a CIA official in a political move (Yellow Cake, aluminum tubes, remember those?).

      The real theory in this war was driven by Paul Wolfowitz who believed that our presence would stabilize the region; that was neocon doctrine shared by the likes ofBush 1 & 2, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gen. Powell and a bevvy of political operatives and elected officials. Why stabilize? Well, to be able to have boots on the ground next to the Devil regime in Iran. And we could stand between Iran and Saudi Arabia and suck all the oil the oligarchs wanted. In my war the theory was about dominoes falling and needing to contain the Ruskies & Chinks and the Communist scourge of the universe.

      You were in uniform not to liberate, but to position the war machine and oil barons to make lots of money on into the future. That’s is essentially what “protecting American interests” means. That includes Kuwait because of the threat to Saudi oil in Iraq War #1.

      Now, why were we so sue Saddam had WMD? Other than the scuds from Russia, the chemical problem and his military power, the source of WMD fear, was there because we had SOLD them and armed Hussein and kept him in power in our proxy war with Iran PRIOR TO his Kuwait debacle. Hell, Cheney even met with Saddam personally as part of the arms build up. Along the way we helped surpress Iraq with the embargo that starved 10s of thousands of children and actually helped Saddam maintain power (you can’t rebel if you and your family are starving). Bottom line, we put and kept Saddam in power until the Saudis didn’t like him any more.

      The Taliban. Sheesh. We armed them up and helped destabilize Afghanistan when the Russians had boots on the ground. Our arming up included supporting Osama Bin Laden too, remember him?

      Why is Iran a problem now? Well we supported the Shah suppress his people in the 60s & 70s. That led to a revolt that the extremists were able to use to seize power (just like later in Afghanistan). Presto, a nation-state enemy. Iranians loved us until we tried to keep the Shah in because he, nominally, hated the Russians. As Afghanistan, Iran was a fallout from failed policies of the cold war.

      So the outcome of our meddling to protect “American Interests” destabilized the entire Middle East. Arab Spring? Ha. That’s fiction. It is the Sunni we drove out of Iraq that are now the ISIS / ISL we are terrified about who are gaining power in Syria an once again in Iraq (Saddam was a Bathists Sunni). Things are not great in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Libya and the rest of North Africa.

  9. Why don’t come sit at a table with some Gold Star family members and tell them that their son or daughters sacrifice meant nothing.. I for one wouldn’t let you out of the house alive!

    RIP Marine Lcpl Michael Geary Killed in action 12/810 Helmand Province Afghanistan.

    • A real hero would be one who would have the guts to tell someone your son or daughters death in an illegal war of aggression, was for nothing.
      Now that I pissed you off – YOU tell me why I served during the Viet Nam and in Desert Scam One, somehow had a purpose other than to fatten up the military industrial complex. My country right or wrong is bullshit and you know it. Just ask the 24 GERMAN MILITARY who were executed for “just following orders.”

    • If you would threaten my life over exercising a right that your fellow troops supposedly died for, then you are by far the last thing even close to resembling a hero. Or a man, for that fact. You aren’t privileged, and I don’t cower to physical intimidation by people who don’t even know the meaning of what it is to be heroic.

      Sorry to say, Afghanistan is a wasted war. What did this poor soul you referenced here die for? What freedoms have I or anyone else gained as a result of his tragic and unnecessary death? Until you answer that, I suggest you spend more time honoring the memory and life of your fallen comrade than the memory of what he fought for.

      • Funny – they hit and run – they have no answers. For example – 58,220 of our military were killed during the Viet Nam Adventure. Now we can travel to Viet Nam, a lot of our clothes are made in Viet Nam. None of these jerk offs have an answer to the why. They just wave the flag and yell “CHARGE.” Poor dumb bastards

    • Bill Geary, who would really insult a Gold Star family by getting into the realm of “sacrifice” labels at all. You may not know any, but I do, who do think it was worth nothing. If you are a real person, you would have empathy for their loss and wouldn’t presume to editorialize on what that loss means.

  10. This post is so full of basic ignorance about all matters Military that there is not room for an education session. To start with, the Military does not send their troops into battle, anywhere. The Federal Government does that via the Congress and/or the President. I think if you were to start there, you may have a more cogent argument.

    • Sorry, but basic ignorance goes back a bit more… Agree or not, the voting public sends people to Washington, D.C.; furthermore, agree or not, if you pay taxes you have skin in the game. At the end of the day, like it or not, if you are a U.S. citizen, you are part of sending your brethren citizens off to war.

      That’s the big catch in “We the people…”. NO ONE is off the hook. If you live here, or sport your passport off shore, you have a share in all that comes our way.

      • Would be nice if that were really the case. Do you honestly believe our government is run by the people? If that were the case, I as one of “the People,” would like our own war criminals brought to justice. We elect our leaders democratically and that is where democracy ends. Corporate selects the candidates, we vote and then shoot off fireworks on the 4th of July proclaiming our freedoms.

        • Of course not. There is no “We the People” any more in a governmental sense. But, we get out of bed every day and do whatever. But we are still breathing the same air as the criminals and not doing much to change anything. I don’t like it, but the crimes have been committed and they are on us as long as we stay here and call ourselves American.

    • Ok, then why is always ex-military guys that threaten me with death if I dare criticize their beloved military, or the usefulness of their service? Congressmen and the President don’t. I’m sorry you feel the way you do, but just because you wore a uniform doesn’t make you or anyone else a hero. Volunteering to fight in imperial wars does not make you a hero. You know who I consider a hero? Smedley Butler, how about the Winter Soldiers, the men and women who realize the mistake they made by risking their life for an empire to grow? To admit what you did was wrong and work everyday to fix things, that is a hero.

  11. Blaming the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen for the flaws of the military is like blaming the dock workers because the fleet is sinking. You and Michael Moore can kiss this Navy Veteran’s ass.

    • You can kiss your own ass, thank you.

      Typical militarist response. Because I criticize the cult-worship of soldiers, I am blaming them for the conflicts? No, and nowhere did I even imply this. All I merely pointed out was simply wearing the uniform does not by definition make you a hero.

      Its a Catch-22. You always have to support the troops, but not the war. Yet, the war effort is the way in which I help them? You know how I support the troops: Don’t send them into senseless wars we have no business being involved in.

  12. The author of this article seems to be operating with a severe handicap. Soldiers are heros not because of what they do or don’t do, but the fact that they sign up in the first place, knowing what they might HAVE to do. That’s the heroic part. They can’t control their own destiny within their military careers, they can’t control who they fight or how, but the fact that they joined in the first place, especially during a war, means a lot to me and to a lot of other military worshipping fools, I guess. It’s a huge sacrifice just to be gone from your home and family for that extended period of time, even if you don’t consider the danger of the situation. I was told by a soldier that I love and respect that what he hoped the Iraqis remembered his team for was the many times they fed them, brought running water to their villages, passed out backpacks to their children full of school supplies…the military is not just a group of hired killers. Julian Drury has a very narrow view of this conversation, and it’s so disappointing.

    • As the author, allow me to address you directly Holly.

      For one, the only handicap I suffer from is American culture. Sorry, I don’t buy into a single thing you have said here. Yes, you do become a hero based on what you do and don’t do. By your logic, a samaritan that rescues eight kids from a burning building isn’t necessarily a hero, but simply because you enlist for the military that, by definition, makes you a hero? That’s not very sound logic.

      The fact that they are signing up to go fight in wars that we have NO BUSINESS being involved should be enough to say why merely signing up isn’t a form of heroism. Tell me, are the heroes to the Iraqis or Afghans whose countries we have utterly destroyed? Are we heroes to the people in Yemen and Pakistan, where drones rain down hell on unsuspecting people? Who’s heroes are they? If you find fighting in imperialist wars a heroism, then yes, you very much are a military-worshiping fool.

      Sacrificing the only life you have in this world to fight in the name of American Empire is a waste of a life. None of these wars have anything at all to do with keeping us safe, or defending anyone’s freedom. You will find anecdotal examples of soldiers doing good things, such as the one you gave. But, while you tell a story about soldiers feeding civilians, there are more numerous stories of soldiers slaughtering civilians, including high profile cases of gang rape. How many of these crimes are punished? Very few.

      Here’s food for thought: Maybe I support the troops because I want them to come home and stop fighting for American Empire, not because they are willing to die in the name of this empire.

      • So my examples are anecdotal, but yours are the almighty truth? Your “facts” are not exactly facts. War crimes are certainly punished, and very severely. If you think they go to another country without rules or punishment for wrong doings then you are the one who is ignorant. Our soldiers are not even allowed to shoot at someone who has a gun aimed at them, until it is “verified” that they are dangerous (as if them pointing a gun wasn’t enough). They have to shoot first. And I’ll also point out that military personnel don’t sign up for a WAR, they sign up for a job that may or may not involve a war. There are many people who sign up for all branches who have no intentions of ever even shooting a gun overseas. You are using piss poor argument tactics, by the way. Trying to draw similarities between my definition of heroism as a soldier and people that save others from burning buildings honestly is poor form and as well written as you are, I would have expected you to take a class in debate by this point in your life/career. We have not destroyed Iraq or Afghanistan. You need to talk to more Veterans. You need to read more news. We are not just citizens of the United States. We are citizens of the world. When civilians of other nations are being terrorized by their governments it is just the right thing to do to intervene. The people who are brave enough to be in the position where they are the ones in the crosshairs are heroes in my opinion. It’s a hell of a lot more heroic than hiding behind a computer screen and sharing the pitiful conclusions you’ve come to about this TERRIBLE American culture. You just sit there and write your blog posts and have your opinions, and let the real men and women (the ones with a little conviction, the ones that have to live with people like YOU disrespecting them when they come home from HELL only to return to a different kind of HELL) go keep your ass a safe distance from the fire.

        • They don’t sign up for war. So, they know we’re at war, they know with almost certain knowledge they will be sent to combat, yet they aren’t signing up for war? Sure, you can make the argument that some sign up for a paycheck and a meal. That’s why my Grandfather enlisted in the late 50s. He didn’t join because of some patriotic grandeur, but because he needed to eat and have a roof over his head. IN essence, many today do the same.

          Yes, when it comes to its own militaristic-piety, American culture is quite terrible and is the laughing stock of the Western World.

          So you want to talk about governments oppressing people and the need to intervene against it? How cute. So, you should be aware that the United States government (military included) has put in power and supported dozens of ruthless dictatorships across the world. Look up Pinochet, Suharto, Mobutu, Mubarak, the junta’s in Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, or the countless proxy armies we have sponsored? We fully funded the Salvadoran Army in the 1980s, with US military personnel, and 75,000 people were killed. 250,000 died in Guatemala as a result of the dictatorship there. What about Israel, where they massacre Palestinians for sport now? Should we invade Israel to protect the people there? You show once again the basic hypocrisy of military worship: We intervene against bad governments we don’t like, yet there is no mention of need of mention for the bad governments that we do like.

          To your assertion that war crimes are punished, shows you don’t follow news. I can name several cases where these crimes were either not punished or got merely a slap on the wrist.

          http://www.alternet.org/world/10-years-after-invasion-america-destroyed-iraq-our-war-crimes-remain-unacknowledged-and
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/lawrence-hutchins-iii_n_3506506.html
          http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-01-24/marine-haditha-iraq/52778126/1

          These are just the tip of the iceberg.

          • Julian, do me a favor and back off on your plank about being a soldier, or choosing to be a soldier as has having everything to do with individual choice or individual responsibility and bravery or cowardice.

            That pretty much goes for anything the individual soldier may or may not have done when they are a soldier. Once you have the uniform on, all that one feels about right and wrong gets confusing, one’s choices become narrow, and finding the right path to walk can get really really murky.

            Why else do so many soldiers end up with PTSD, as did the bloke who ended up killing the sniper in real civilian life? That doesn’t come from feeling good about who you are, what you are part of, and what you have to do. It comes from a very very acutely real “the horror of it all.” There is nothing about it that feels good (barring psychopathic or sociopathic character disorders), other than the friends I made with brothers at arms. The latter is the only value that can keep one going and those individual brothers are with you for the rest of your life whether they are alive or dead.

            You are cutting a lot of good people with a very dull knife. More to the point with your journalistic intent, along the way you are polarizing people away from being able or willing to hear your “rest of the story.” Which, by the way I mostly agree with and is pretty clear.

            It is hard to see after a cigarette has been put out in one’s eye.

        • Whoa, whoa, whoa!
          “War crimes are certainly punished, and very severely”?!!
          Then why is Cheney on the TV and not at the Hague?

        • Holly, just what do you think constitutes a war crime? I think you either have a hopelessly idealistic view of war and American military justice systems, or you are capable of incredible naive rationalizations rather than face the truth.

          Mine views are far more jaded, but I’ve earned the scars: if there is war, then war crimes are commonplace, punishment happens only when journalists and/or whistle-blowers step up and make the horrid more palpable. That is the norm of war.

          I believe that I have participated in many, have seen many more, and heard of a few war crimes that are all quite chilling. I’ve seen Congressional and Presidential orders, Air Orders of Battle, and Geneva Conventions violated. Other than Lt. Calley, only one other got to the censure level. Look it up yourself, General John D. Lavelle.

          That kerfuffle came after a violation was reported by a whistle-blower who technically violated an oath of secrecy to get it on the table (similar to Snowden, but the “reveal to” was a US Senator, a war opponent, and not a foreign media journalist). But even then the general in question only had a star taken away and retired, and the cover-up was capped so higher levels were not reached. Not only was I involved with the activity before & after, but I also read the Congressional hearings and had enough inside information to be actually able to fill in redacted sections of the hearings.
          http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/106469/major-general-john-daniel-lavelle.aspx

          Posthumously, General Lavelle has been cleared; but not before a distinguished career was trashed because he followed orders and did not rat out his superiors. Where is the justice here?

          So, please, tell me where the “severe” punishment was meted out OR why this issue was NOT a war crime?

        • Holly, I can not follow your thinking. I can’t see where Julian in any way was “anecdotal.” By your citing an individual encounter with one soldier and making it sound like a general truth, you ARE presenting anecdotal evidence. However powerful that might be to you, expecting anyone else to generalize to see it the same way you do is a logical fallacy. If someone doesn’t agree with your premise, expect your evidence will be brushed aside.

    • I agree with J. Drury’s reply to you dear. I see you neatly exclude those of us who did not really volunteer for war from the hero accolades. I didn’t want to go. I went. I did my job. And I was PART of directly killing at least 10 times as many people in one act of combat. Where do I fit in your antiseptic view of what being a warrior means?

      • Thank you for going–I honestly appreciate you. Not many of the people I know who went wanted to go. What I meant, is that signing up for the military knowing that you face the chance of having to be involved in any conflict is heroic in and of itself. It’s more than I would do. I offer the utmost respect and gratitude for those that have sacrificed. It’s not military worship, it’s military appreciation. My boyfriend was Army Infantry for 6 years and was in the reserve for a while after that. He went on two tours in Iraq. One of them was fairly uneventful, and the other was a massacre. He and his brothers in arms are my heroes (dead and alive), not because they killed people, but because they helped people (Iraqis, troops from other nations, and each other). I feel like the military as a whole gets a bad reputation because of a few bad apples that commit severe war crimes. There are bad people in every profession. I promise, I worship no man, and no “God” for that matter. But I am thankful for people who do what I’m not brave enough to do… I’m glad someone is willing to do that be it for me, for citizens of other nations, or even if they’re doing it just for the paycheck…it all plays into a bigger picture and I’m thankful for them.

        • I won’t claim being a hero just for signing up. Thank you for the thought. The reality was I made a calculation based on least risk. At the time of my “voluntary” enlistment I was holding orders of conscription from the President and the body bags coming home were in the 500 a week.

          I ended up in intelligence. I can tell you first hand that you are foolish to think that bad stuff happens only because of a few bad apples. Nothing in warfare is that clean and clear. Murky is the name of the game. Here’s but one: Operation La Son 719.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Lam_Son_719

          This account is representative of what military operations are like, and, I can tell you first hand that it is mostly correct, minus a few details that substantially change a narrative that is accepted as fact, but isn’t. It also is representative of how far more complex military operations actually are and why simple labels like “hero,” “sniper,” are like limp noodles blowing in the wind.

          1) The “Operations” section, references “Base Area 604 area was estimated by U.S. intelligence (MACV) at 22,000 men: 7,000 combat troops …” Not so. Logistically the NVN could put a fighting force together closer on the order of 70 to 100,000 combat troops (that would be USAF intelligence). Roughly three times the 30,000 ARVN force sent in on the invasion. That is not a “small error,” those of us monitoring the NVN knew a slaughter was coming. That slaughter amounted to about 1/2 of the invading force. Much higher than reported and accounted for in this narrative. Nixon called this an example of successful “Vietnamization of the War.” It was an abortion.

          2) This narrative cites the 29 December 1970 of the Cooper-Church Amendment, which prohibited U.S. ground forces and advisors from entering Laos as one of the reasons US forces didn’t cross over into Laos. In fact, there were dozens of sited clandestine operations all over Laos. They just weren’t “regular” Marine, Army, or Navy forces; they were predominantly CIA managed special operation units with US military operational personnel. Here’s a USAF take:
          http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/ravens-of-long-tieng-284722/?c=y%3Fno-ist

          3) Not unique to this operation, but how do you reconcile that intelligence services would not warn combat fliers of imminent threats that could save pilots lives? It is as if the “sniper” was ordered not to shoot to protect his troops. Why not warn them? Because it would reveal intelligence capabilities. Read: intelligence capability is worth more than soldiers’ lives. No, this is not an opinion. When sufficient protection could be put around tactical communications, kill ratios went from 1.17 to 1 to 4:1. Declassified documents reference one short period of operations that saved 20 lives and $40M worth of aircraft. This tactical use of intelligence ran for a few months (in this declassified report) and was named “Teaball.”
          https://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/cryptologic_quarterly/teaball.pdf

          Now extrapolate from a few months to entire air war: how many American aviator lives were lost because of paranoia about protecting secret operations? Alot? Count ‘m up if you can: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_losses_of_the_Vietnam_War
          Over 3,000 airman died. At least 30% to 50% might have been prevented.

          What about a Blue Beret airman I met who said he tossed two prisoners out of a helicopter over Cambodia to get the third to talk? The second one out the door was the third one’s father. That was under orders, but still hidden under the veils of secrecy.

          What do you think about interrogation by cutting of fingers with a hatchet? That was a Marine intelligence sargent.

          Spare me talk about war crimes. Of all of these, sending 15,000 RVN to death to prove a political position is the biggest war crime of all of these. It is just as criminal that sensitive intelligence services were (no doubt still are) prohibited from jeopardizing intelligence capability (a strategic concern) to protect active tactical operations.

          Bottom line to me: It is absurd to glorify war by reducing it down to terms like heroes or cowards or criminals. Everyone in it, around it, related to it suffers and none of it is pretty.

    • I disagree with your notion that just the act of signing up for the military makes on a hero. We seem to forget the military is compensated for their service, some quite well.

      You bemoan the military having to leave their families behind while they do the job they volunteered to do. If they are heroes for this reason than the tens of thousands of foreign nationals working on cruise ships, 10-14 hours a day for 9 months at a time, cleaning up after your crap, are heroes too.

      You mention a soldier who befriended the Iraqis with food, water and supplies. Perhaps he would not have had to do that if we had not starved and cut off the Iraqi population from the rest of the world because our government wanted to steal their oil.

      Estimates of deaths due to sanctions[edit]
      Estimates of excess deaths during the sanctions vary widely, use different methodologies and cover different time-frames.[31][38][39] Some estimates include (some of them include effects of the Gulf War in the estimate):
      • Mohamed M. Ali, John Blacker, and Gareth Jones estimate between 400,000 and 500,000 excess under-5 deaths.[40]
      • UNICEF: 500,000 children (including sanctions, collateral effects of war). “[As of 1999] [c]hildren under 5 years of age are dying at more than twice the rate they were ten years ago.” (As is customary, this report was based on a survey conducted in cooperation with the Iraqi government and by local authorities in the provinces not controlled by the Iraqi government)[41]
      • Former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq Denis Halliday: “Two hundred thirty-nine thousand children 5 years old and under” as of 1998.[42]
      • “Probably … 170,000 children”, Project on Defense Alternatives, “The Wages of War”, 20 October 2003[43]
      • 350,000 excess deaths among children “even using conservative estimates”, Slate Explainer, “Are 1 Million Children Dying in Iraq?”, 9. October 2001.[44]
      • Economist Michael Spagat: “very likely to be [less] than half a million children” because estimation efforts are unable to isolate the effects of sanctions alone due to the lack of “anything resembling a controlled experiment”,[45] and “one potential explanation” for the statistics showing an increase in child mortality was that “they were not real, but rather results of manipulations by the Iraqi government.”[45]
      • “Richard Garfield, a Columbia University nursing professor … cited the figures 345,000-530,000 for the entire 1990-2002 period”[46] for sanctions-related excess deaths.[47]
      • Zaidi, S. and Fawzi, M. C. S., (1995) The Lancet British medical journal: 567,000 children.[48] A co-author (Zaidi) did a follow-up study in 1996, finding “much lower … mortality rates … for unknown reasons.”[49]
      • Amatzia Baram, Director of the Center for Iraq Studies at the University of Haifa, reported almost no difference in the rate of Iraq’s population growth between 1977 and 1987 (35.8 percent) and between 1987 and 1997 (35.1 percent), suggesting that the sanctions-related death rate is lower than reported, while also stating “Every child who suffers from malnutrition as a result of the embargo is a tragedy”.[50]
      • Reports made in 2004 and 2007 by Iraqi government do not show any increase but a stagnation.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctions_against_Iraq

      Play you violin somewhere else, you are wasting your time with Quite Mike.

  13. You seem to be blaming the soldiers for the flawed decisions of our political leaders. You can oppose the war and even criticize our government for their reasons to engage in war, but that contempt should not transfer to the men and women who put their lives on the line.
    If soldiers commit crimes, they should be faulted for those crimes. But don’t condemn them simply for going where their country sends them.

    • Anyone who signed up for the military right after 9/11 has my respect. If they signed up after evidence was revealed that the whole war was a lie and we were in the wrong countries, is just ignorant and really isn’t a hero. The military was not protecting the Constitution and military contractors have blood on their hands for pushing an endless war but have made billions of dollars on the taxpayers dime. Michael Moore made a great film called Fahrenheit 911. It depicts all the lies the Bush Administration told, the Carlisle Group and how much the Saudi’s had to do with the 9/11 attacks as well as funding the war. If you remember, all of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

      • I don’t agree that people who signed up for the military after we found out the war was a sham are ignorant and aren’t heroes…that’s a really silly way to look at things…as if that was the ONLY thing our military is doing. We have military bases all over the world that all serve a purpose. The military also has science and technology groups, mechanics, cooks, etc. Are we only talking about infantry here, because if we are it’s an entirely different argument.

        • Do you know the purposes of most of these bases, Holly? Very few do, because most of them are relics of the Cold War. Those bases are not around the world because of the altruistic nature of our military. They are there to cement American power in the region, and deter potential adversaries. We didn’t put these bases all over the world because we are just such great people who want to pass out lolipops and cookies to orphaned kids. We did because we have a geopolitical agenda, and the bases are an instrument of this agenda.

          Once again, I have no respect for this military you speak so highly of. Having bases is perhaps the worst example to defend your position. Over 1,000 bases worldwide, in countries that hold little strategic importance to keeping continental America safe. Also, these bases don’t seem to deter terrorism, because that senseless war is still going on.

          By trying to defend your position that all servicemen are heroes, you have exposed one of the greatest problems with the military today. Self-assured, self-righteous, immune from criticism, and extremely overbloated.

          • Well Jullian … this is over the top: “Self-assured, self-righteous, immune from criticism, and extremely overbloated”. Sorry, that isn’t the military’s fault either. It is the militaristic dominant character of American society, and all the corrupting influences of self-centered capitalism that Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us against. Don’t pass the buck, even unintentionally.

    • P.S. If you read Chris Kyle’s book, he admits to war crimes himself. This is whitewashed by Clint Eastwood to make Kyle look like a victim. The film isn’t consistent with the book or even Kyle’s Wikipedia page. You sort of have to be a cretin to lose a lawsuit against Jesse Ventura posthumously.

    • I don’t see ANY contempt getting “transferred” to soldiers in this discussion; it is your problem, this discussion is about as fair and reflective as it can get coming from people who were not in a war.

      We did our jobs. Whether or not an act committed while executing those jobs becomes criminal can become faulted is very murky turf indeed. It can not be reduced to a man’s finger on a trigger, eyes on a scope and the degree of calmness or certainty in the breathing. But you can feel the conflict of a soldier with the imagery. Any moralizing any way is repulsive to me.

      The reality of outcomes belies ALL discussion of means or intent. There is no black & white truth in war; the questions of morality lies entirely at the feet of those who send us, and those who vote for those who send us. Please, don’t contaminate us with YOUR ambiguity, absolve us of anything nor presume any measurement, or not, on degrees of guilt.

    • It is a shame that in this day and time in order to make a buck a few volunteer to work for the government knowing they might perform an illegal action. The killing in Iraq has nothing to do with protecting the USA from harm. Brings to mind the phrase “I was just following orders.”

    • jeff61b … see my comments elsewhere in this discussion about war crimes. I consider myself an active, albeit reluctant and unwilling, participant in quite a few war crimes I spoke about (yes, pun), but even more….

      How does being part of bombing a field hospital and killing some 1,500 men, women, children plus assorted dogs, water buffaloes and chickens fit into the “crime” novella. Lt. Calley and My Lai put quite a few LESS down than that and he got toasted as a criminal.

      For what it is worth, I have 4 Air Medals. I turned down an Air Force Commendation Medal due to an intelligence action that reminds me a great deal of what I’ve seen about the Sniper (getting a bunch of “bad” guys killed who were setting up an ambush for some “good” guys, one of whom was an important Laotian counter-insurgency officer.

    • jeff61b, you are pretty righteous about the “shoulds.” I suspect we have opposite points of view generally … But, the contempt sucks indeed; nevertheless I understand the frustration from where that feeling comes from. I can only partially agree with the “don’t condemn” part. Yes, I don’t like the condemnations either, especially from anyone who hasn’t served. However, I don’t like the converse either, i.e., “praise”. I still feel dirty after 42 years. I did my job while hating every instant beyond measure. Part of the dirtiness comes from how few of the crimes I saw and was part of DID NOT get faulted while knowing full well how ridiculous it is to think that any one person can shoulder the blame.

  14. Some fifty odd years ago, as I was stowing away our tactical nuke, I heard someone passing in the corridor saying to his buddy, “Hey man! We’re paid professional killers.” And I laughed, because it was true. The other shoe dropped a few years later, when I realized my country was just as corrupt as any other country, and then I couldn’t be a soldier any more.

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