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loyalsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:10 AM
Original message
How do Vets feel right now?
Edited on Tue May-25-04 01:12 AM by loyalsister
I am beginning to sense that the Abu Garib scandal is particularly difficult for them. I believe this because I knew a Vietnam Vet who just commited suicide. This could be coincidence, I haven't learned of any details.
Regardless, it got me thinking about the potential for what this could have done to his mind set.
This disaster is happening more in their name than ours, and their brothers\sisters are currently taking a fall for buscho. This comes after they gave everything they had for this country. Now, closer to the ends of their lives, it feels like it was a wasted effort. "T'was not to be "the greatest country in the world" for the grandkids after all." That's potential for overwhelming hoplessness.
My point here is, our vets may have a lot at stake in the perception of this. I want to make sure everyone here knows about it so that that isn't a widspread hard lesson we have to learn.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:17 AM
Response to Original message
1. BushCo lost the vets before Abu Ghraib
he has just steeled their resolve

Individuals, especially those who were POWs, are having more than a tough time...

But BushCo lost the Miltiary a long time ago... in spite of the mandatory time you saw today... some of those same officers, will be critical after they leave a life in uniform
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0007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 06:44 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. ...but...but Bob Dole sez the vets are happy with junior
& Kerry's a dirty lying war flaky dog, LOL!
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MajorFlaw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:33 AM
Response to Original message
2. This is such an obvious one for real soldiers.
If I am going to meet someone on the field of battle, I want that person to believe that they have two choices: either fighting to the death or surrendering and spending the rest of the war drinking margaritas by the swimming pool. While some would complain about "extravagant" treatment of pow/detainees, it would make all of our troops safer. A real no brainer.
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:57 AM
Response to Original message
3. As a veteran, I don't think it's a matter of...
Edited on Tue May-25-04 02:00 AM by punpirate
... "This disaster is happening more in their name than ours." It's not. Our government was elected by the people, and our government sent them to that place, and then, if current news is to be believed, ordered them to do what no normal US citizen would have done to themselves.

Every person supporting this invasion and occupation, mindlessly supporting this corrupt administration in its aims, has some blood on their hands. The country has been reacting in horror, and yet, all they had to do in 2000 was to listen to these people, review their records, to know they could not be trusted with the honor of the United States.

Bush and cohorts should have been roundly repudiated. The fact that they were not, combined with the simple fact of their dishonor of country, soldiers and public trust, reflects on those who voted for them, then worked for them to prevail in a contested election, and supported them throughout a program of lies--they are the people deserving of blame.

Individual soldiers who did not have the strength of character to refuse to obey an illegal order ought to be recognized. Soldiers who had nothing to do with it and condemn it should feel no shame--it wasn't done in their name.

Edit for syntax.
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loyalsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 03:17 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Do you see possibilities of some differences?
Edited on Tue May-25-04 03:18 AM by loyalsister
I would suspect that there would be a different sense of empathy. Yes, the option say "no" exists and is a moral obligation. And yes, these soldiers deserve punishment.
However, there is a very notable difference between people who have led lives where they have never been to boot camp and those who have received training to follow orders. Individual experience makes a huge difference in how willing a person will be to follow orders.
There are, in fact, people who have experienced some kind of "training" to follow orders in their lifetimes outside of the military. I suspect, these differences create individual differences in how willing people are to follow doctor's orders, etc.
The fact that ANY of us will go into a room and take our clothes off because someone in a white coat in a doctor's office tells us to should give us some indication that we follow orders just the person seems to be an authority.
There are a lot of vets who discovered the worst parts of themselves via their war experience following that training during vietnam. It couldn't have been pleasant. This is not something people are anxious to familiarize themselves with.

Please read the Milgram research.

http://members.tripod.com/mikeg531/MikeG531.htm


The experiment raised questions about the ethics

..... Click the link for more information. of scientific experimentation itself because of the extreme emotional stress suffered by the subjects (even though it was brought on by their own free actions). Most modern scientists would consider the experiment unethical today, though it resulted in valuable insights into human psychology.

"In Milgram's defense, given the choice between "positive", "neutral" and "negative", 84% of former subjects contacted later rated their role in the experiments as a positive experience and 15% chose neutral. Many wrote later expressing thanks.

Why so many former subjects reported they were "glad" to have been involved despite the apparent levels of stress, one subject explained to Milgram in correspondence six years after he participated in the experiment:

While I was a subject in 1964, though I believed that I was hurting someone, I was totally unaware of why I was doing so. Few people ever realize when they are acting according to their own beliefs and when they are meekly submitting to authority. ... To permit myself to be drafted with the understanding that I am submitting to authority's demand to do something very wrong would make me frightened of myself. ... I am fully prepared to go to jail if I am not granted Conscientious Objector status. Indeed, it is the only course I could take to be faithful to what I believe. My only hope is that members of my board act equally according to their conscience...

http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Milgram%20exp...

It took that experiement for that guy to find out what he was capable of. There are many Veterans who would call him lucky to find out under artificial circumstances. We should try to understand this.
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 04:07 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Hmmm... have been familiar with the Milgram experiments...
... for a very long time. I remember them from the time they were first published. But, I hasten to add that those psychological experiments occurred well after such students would have been exposed to the results of the Nuremberg trials.

Blindly taking orders, as the study suggests, is a result of individuals believing they would obtain either recompense or freedom from censure by doing so. Simply because a study cites the tendency of an individual to participate in torture as an act of conformity to authority makes it neither acceptable nor morally correct.

You mistake the results of the study as condoning torture, when, in fact, the investigators expressed amazement that so many subjects could be induced, for specious reasons, to subject their fellow students to pain. The results of the study simply confirmed that the Nuremberg defense ("I was only following orders") was a consistent excuse, but certainly did not constitute a programmatic moral precept in their reasoning.

There are lots of people culpable in this matter--direct perpetrators and commanders alike. I'd like to see them all tried equally.
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Hubert Flottz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 06:04 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. I agree with both your posts!
You said;

"There are lots of people culpable in this matter--direct perpetrators and commanders alike. I'd like to see them all tried equally."

There is no way that this thing didn't start from the top down! Look at "Delta Force" and the Baghdad airport prison abuse story! Look at who was in charge of MI in Iraq! Look at generals Boykin and Miller's records! Look at the things that the Bush administration have said and done about detainees rights as POWs!

The "Bad Apples" are Rotten to the Corps and right on up the chain!
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 06:24 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. I extend the category of commander to include...
... the civilian elite at the Pentagon. Douglas Feith deserves a few years in Leavenworth, along with everyone else.

The Bushies are thoroughly corrupt, and the only way to convince them, and their followers, that they are is to keep them in prison for enough years that they can't build their fortunes on the wars they've created.
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Hubert Flottz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 06:47 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. What really gets me is that:::::::::::::
Every crook and criminal GOPer that should have been jailed under Nixon and Reagan/Bush, not only escaped any punishment for their crimes in the past, but now all have been rewarded with top positions in the Bush administration! The Right Wing Criminals clearly never learend their lesson by being pardoned for their crimes! Like any criminal type who gets away with their crimes without paying a price, they go on to commit even more serious crimes!
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:45 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Contrast what you suggest with...
... what happened to John Dean, for example. Dean profited by, in a backhanded way, his brush with the law regarding power, and has thought about it, and written, thoughtfully, about it.

But, as you say, putting people like Abrams back into the driver's seat after conviction for crimes against the government and the people he was sworn to represent has made him and similar people even braver.

The neo-cons haven't figured it out--crimes against the people's interests are criminal, not heroic.
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LeahMira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 08:04 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. Can trials address the real damage?
There are lots of people culpable in this matter--direct perpetrators and commanders alike. I'd like to see them all tried equally.

My concern is for the ones who will return home and will not receive any sort of help, either through a trial or through some sort of therapy.

There are still some Vietnam vets who genuinely believe that they were sold out by the war protesters and "traitors" in this country, and that they should have been given the opportunity to fight that war to win it.

I'm afraid there will be a few men and women coming home (hopefully soon!) who will have the same sorts of resentments. These are the people who will live out their lives lashing out randomly at imagined threats. We have 135,000 of them ahead of us to deal with, and hopefully to heal. But it won't be easy and we'd best start preparing.

I wonder if trials are worth it. The My Lai perpetrators got a slap on the wrist. What that says to today's servicepeople remains to be seen. Trials with consequences and no excuses permitted might send a message, but trials that are held just to satisfy the public that the government is "doing something"... these do more harm than good, IMO.
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loyalsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. Really??????
Edited on Tue May-25-04 06:38 PM by loyalsister
"Blindly taking orders, as the study suggests, is a result of individuals believing they would obtain either recompense or freedom from censure by doing so. Simply because a study cites the tendency of an individual to participate in torture as an act of conformity to authority makes it neither acceptable nor morally correct."

I was under the impression that everything they would have done would have been totally acceptable behavior. HELLO!!!! No need to state the obvious here.
The uncomfortable point you are avoiding is that this tendency for average citizens to follow extreme orders given by persons in authority demonstrates that many of us are capable of some pretty ugly stuff. The fact that these were average citizens who hadn't been specifically trained to obey orders is what is remarkable.
My post wasn't about morality. There is no question as to whether there was wrong doing. Of course the soldiers could have said no. The fact that they have been trained to follow orders is not an excuse, it is a mitigating factor that influences the situation. The fact that whoever ordered them to do what they did propably knew ALL of this makes it all scarrier.
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maxrandb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. I'm still active duty, but qualify as a vet
This following order stuff is a bunch of crap! I am embarrassed, and the folks I work with are embarrassed by the abuse in the prison. This is simply a matter of common decency, and the folks that did this, HAVE NO COMMON DECENCY! I don't care how much they talk about the fog of war and how much little miss Lyndie is "such a good girl". Bottom line is that "Yes! We follow orders, but we are also trained about the difference betweem 'lawful and unlawful' orders". There is NO requirement to follow an unlawful order.

That being said, I feel the heart of this issue goes all the way to the top of this administration, and to a great extent, America itself. IMO, people will treat other people like this because the people they are dealing with have effectively been "de-humanized".

I blame the "Smoke 'em out", "Let Freedom Ring", "some of these folks are no longer a threat, if you know what I mean" (smirk, smirk, wink, wink), "bad people have parties too", "shock and awe" and all the crap that Limpballs and his ilk have force-fed down peoples throats.

The childish "my gun is bigger than your gun so I'm right", "Love it or leave it" attitude allows ordinary people to begin to see Iraqis, Liberals, Blacks, you-name-it, as sub-human and therefore not entitled to humane treatment.

It's the same shit that convinced Timothy McVeigh that what he was doing was right. It's the same shit that allowed "Christians" to senselessly murder millions of innocent people in the name of Jesus Christ.

The only way to fix this is to fix it from the top in November.
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 06:05 AM
Response to Original message
7. Not a vet but this article goes with what you are talking about
Edited on Tue May-25-04 06:06 AM by NNN0LHI


http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBTMKEWMUD.html

For First Guard Unit at Abu Ghraib, Small Victories Overshadowed by Scandal

In a dusty caravan of Humvees and 2 1/2-ton trucks, the 72nd Military Police Company set out from Baghdad International Airport in the early hours of May 24, 2003.

Their mission: to secure the notorious Abu Ghraib prison for an onslaught of prisoners expected to arrive within days.

For the next five months, the soldiers would convert the abandoned, trash-filled complex, a monument of atrocities under Saddam Hussein, into livable cells.

"We worked extremely hard," 1st Sgt. Daryl Keithley said in an interview after returning to Nevada. "Of that, our company walked away very proud." snip

Although the 72nd has not been implicated in the scandal, some have felt the weight of suspicion. The unit came home with 10 Purple Hearts, but many feel their legacy has been tarnished.

"You can't walk around and tell people about all the good things you did at this prison," Armstrong said. The scandal is "all that's ever going to be remembered."

more


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vetwife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. The Vietnam Vets are feeling sick..or at least a huge amount are
They can't watch the news..the hospital visits are up, the symptoms of PTSD are severe, more severe than usual and they are having a very difficult time. Those vets that don't support the war are feeling this way for sure !
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
16. As a vet, I' m not embarassed, I'm outraged.
But, to put it in some sort of perspective..

I was in the marines. At that time, 40 years ago, marine brigs were known for their extreme brutality. I was never so far out of line that I experienced them, but I heard grisley stories of abuse from some that did. It was so bad that "brig chasers" (guards) were not allowed to go on liberty within 10 miles of the base because of fear of retaliation from past inmates or just plain marines. They were universally loathed - even more than ordinary MPs.

That said, the only thing that surprised me by the photos from Abu-Ghraib is that they were seen by the public.

The point is, give a bunch of immature losers power, and a lot of leeway to use it, and the result is predictable. All the brass from Rumsfeld down is making the usual "But, we didn't know", or "But we didn't mean it like that." and avoiding responsibilty is also predictable.

As we used to say, "Shit flows downhill."

This is an immoral and illegal war planned, pushed, and pursued by a pack of adolescent chickehawk, wannabee tough guys. Why should we be surprised at immoral and illegal acts taking place in the course of it?
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
17. Like this
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DemoTex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
18. As a veteran of the war in Vietnam, I am outraged.
In Gulf War I, George H.W. Bu$h said something to the effect that the ghosts of Vietnam were exorcised. Bullshit then, high bullshit now. Vietnam was, as Col. David Hackworth called it, "the mad, bad war." Iraq is becoming that, too. I think Hack agrees.
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dand Donating Member (636 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
19. USMC Vet 1961-1965, I am outraged
I wrote my fascist Repuke Congressman today, I told him a fish rots from the head down, the same as this administration,the investigation should begin in the oval office, not in the enlisted ranks, I told him it will take fifty years to get rid of the stench from this group of war criminals, I am waiting for John Asscrack's goons to knock down my door.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. '61 -'65 Me too.
Air wing - VMF(AW) 542

You?
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 07:44 PM
Response to Original message
20. Sadness
It scares me too. What have they done to our military? What have they done to our country.
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