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Does anyone doubt that certain G.I.'s are committing war crimes?

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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 09:48 AM
Original message
Does anyone doubt that certain G.I.'s are committing war crimes?
There's been an uproar over a supposedly hoaxed video of a G.I. admitting to mass murder of innocents, but does anyone actually doubt that certain of our soldiers are indeed mad dog killers?

No, I'm not saying they all are, but many are. We've seen the evidence over and over.

But the number one group of war criminals is of course the neo cons, the ones who tricked the soldiers into thinking the Iraqis are the ones who attacked us, and that they are mere cockroaches to be smashed asunder.

It's not the soldiers who should be punished, it's the commanders in chief.
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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. No. Jack Murtha has confirmed they are committing war crimes.
Murtha wouldn't ever lie about something like that.
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PublicRadioVet Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
92. Murtha is swiftboating younger soldiers
Every time he makes unsubstantiated or too-broad claims about war crimes in Iraq. I respect this man for his military record, but I dislike very much that he has felt the need to paint with such a broad brush, using little more than hearsay and his own, internal conviction that, since Iraq was the wrong thing to do, U.S. troops therefore must be committing war crimes.
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Xeric Donating Member (586 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 09:54 AM
Response to Original message
2. careful...
We aren't supposed to question the ersatz hero worship of the troops. Even many at DU fall in line and don't dare question this. This war mentality isn't likely to change anytime soon. It has been carefully instigated by the military industrial complex after their failure in Vietnam. With their pawns in the media they have cultivated an unquestioning mantra of "support the troops".
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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Oh I'm trying to be careful.
One has to walk through this topic like a land mine field.
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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. The walls "they" constructed are bowing. Soon they will break.
The sad thing is that these "people" are too stupid to understand that there will be a societal backlash.
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #2
15. I suppose you think the debunking of Macbeth's lies
Edited on Wed May-24-06 10:17 AM by tabasco
was military hero worship. LMAO.

People who believe lies that support their world view are the same as freepers and brownshirts.

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Xeric Donating Member (586 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #15
24. nice strawman you got there
Now wave your little flag and bleat after me, "I support the troops, I support the troops". Make sure you have enough ribbons on your SUV. And above all never, ever question anything. Now you're a good German.
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davepc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #15
28. Remember, the truthiness of his story is more important then the details
and the preponderance of evidence that he made them up!
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PublicRadioVet Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #28
79. Fake but accurate, right?
Sad. That anyone thinks telling a lie for the sake of "the truth" can be justified.

I thought that's why we all hate Bush so much, for lying?

If it's not okay for the Republicans to lie, it's not okay for us to lie.

And if anyone has HARD EVIDENCE of war crimes, please deliver it to the authorities. The military takes this kind of thing very seriously and will punish the offenders. Doubt me? I serve, and I know this will happen, because it does, and it is.
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Hosnon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #2
74. Which is why I support compulsory civil service to rid us of hero worship.
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
3. Well, the war itself is a war crime
The invasion was a clear-cut case of being a 'War of Aggression' (as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal). It was clearly a violation of the UN Charter -- no way around it except to ignore and challenge the authority of the Charter itself. Since then, officially condoned-torture, collective punishment of populations under occupation, looting an occupied territory (by both hook and via contract), etc...all have clearly been war crimes.

In addition to all those organized crimes, do I think there are also singular crimes being committed by individual troops regularly? Of course. Given the above, it would be ridiculous to think otherwise.

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jerry611 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:01 AM
Response to Original message
5. Every war has war crimes
And there are war crimes being committed by both sides. The Iraqis that are fighting us in Iraq are just as guilty of breaking international rules of war.

I dont think there has ever been a war where there wasn't war crimes. We killed millions of civilians in World War 2. And that war was considered justified.
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ThsMchneKilsFascists Donating Member (257 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
55. this isn't a war
a war suggests an equal opportunity type of thing
this was a rape and pillage occupation contrary to international law against a weakened country
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Hosnon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #55
73. Equal opportunity to do what? Like it or not...this is a war. nt
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
6. the occupation of Iraq is itself a war crime-- asking the question...
Edited on Wed May-24-06 10:09 AM by mike_c
...you asked is equivalent to asking whether anyone doubts if "certain bank robbers or serial murderers are commiting crimes." By definition, everyone involved in the commission of a crime is a criminal, whether intentional or unwitting.
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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Invading & occupying THIS continent was a war crime for that matter.
The Romans were venerating the Greeks when they did it.
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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #9
43. Name me one war which wasn't over territory
All land ownership has at it's basis the force which went into the acquisition of it. The question is how far back do you go?
Should the Elamites be suing The US for occupying Mesopotamia?
Should we find the last of the pre-Ptolemic Egyptians and have him sue FRYOM?
Does Wales have a suit against Normandy?
Should the Bretons be angry with the French Republic?
Should Africa be given full control over the Earth since every humans origin traces back to Olduvai Gorge?
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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
7. It would be extremely naive to think they're not...
I had a neighbor for a long time who was a crusty old marine who served in three wars (WWII, Korea and Viet Nam). He told me stories that made my hair stand on end. No reason to think this war is any different, if not worse.
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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Yet the "support the troops, no matter what" mantra is still out there.
It's STILL working, no one wants to admit we've sunk to the level of storm troopers, again.
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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. Indeed, the American people are naive...
they WANT to believe it's not happening, and outwardly will project this view, but deep down I think most rational people realize it probably is.
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reichstag911 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #12
26. That's because Americans...
...aren't really human, thus American troops would never commit the same atrocities in war that every other nation's soldiers throughout history have committed, falling prey, in their human weakness, to the temptation to exact disproportionate revenge on combatants and innocents alike. Nah, Americans would never do anything like that.

Minus the sarcasm, the principles embedded in both American and international law, as explicated in the US Constitution and the UN Charter, for instance -- while they cannot directly prevent war crimes on the national or individual level -- are a mechanism to punish those crimes. Since this criminal administration has no regard for any lawful authority whatsoever, however, there is no institutional American deterrent to war crimes.

And for another poster in this thread, I see much greater culpability on the part of US soldiers than I do of indigenous Iraqis who've had their country occupied by an imperialist power. I've said elsewhere that, according to the UCMJ, US soldiers have an obligation to refuse to obey illegal orders, and this invasion was exactly that. While the typical grunt may not realize the implications of that provision, the colonels and generals certainly should have, and should have honored the Constitution they're sworn to protect and defend and the troops under their command by refusing the civilian command authority's invasion orders.

But I could be wrong... :eyes:
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 04:07 AM
Response to Reply #8
69. Ah to paraphrase an old crusty poet
of WW I who died on the front lines

Old men send the young to die, and kill and be killed

Are troops guilty, with a broad brush? No

Are SOME troops guilty, absolutely.

Are the old men who send them guilty with no question?

you answer that

It is not a mantra... it is just that the troops have few choices... by the way I take it you have never served. If you had, you would know that you cannot just drop your rifle and go home... and that is the number one horror of war. As somebody who has walked down that path, both as one in uniform (who actually disobeyed a clearly illegal order) and one who sent a husband to war... I know that you are full of it.

By the way... the Nuremberg code also states that you really do not go after the E-3 and bellow... and E-4 are questionable...

But I am sure you knew that

now in one respect we will agree, the American peoople are ingnorant of what troops are capable of doing (regardless of flag by the way, you just need the right circumstances) but it is not naivette, but willful ignorance...
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
10. Yes, there are war crimes being committed.
That does not mean we accept lies that support our political / world view.

That is the freeper (brownshirt) mentality.
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bryant69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
13. That's the point
Obviously some of our soldiers are doing terrible things - we know this. But the main people responsible for these murders aren't on the front lines - they are in the white house and the pentagon.

Bryant
Check it out --> http://politicalcomment.blogspot.com
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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Yet only the grunts will be punished, the commanders get a pass.
All the way to the top.
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dogday Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #13
33. Thank you for that
The worst of the murderous bunch, sits comfortable in their air-conditioned offices....
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #33
84. right it's not their asses on the front lines there
it's not their kids fighting and dying for a lie. Kind of harsh to say but true.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
16. "many"?
Edited on Wed May-24-06 10:32 AM by Breeze54
I'm sure some are but compared to how many are deployed there,
I don't think the word 'many' is fair. jmo.
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davekriss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
17. Um, there mere presence in Iraq is a War Crime
We as a nation engaged in aggressive war without the presence of imminent threat.

The Bush Doctrine (as spelled out in the NSS, the National Security Strategy of the United States, available at whitehouse gov) is a recipe for war crimes, as it says we no longer will hold back the dogs of war until perceiving an imminent threat, now that threat need be merely judged "sufficient". Whoa, nelly! That's not what Article 51 of the U.N. Charter says, which was ratified by our Senate and thus, as our Constitution spells out, has the force of law!

This war is criminal. Every soldier fighting it is committing a crime. However, every war is a crime against humanity, what makes engaging in war just or unjust is on whose moral ledger guilt for that crime falls. For example, every death in World War II was a crime, but the guilt for that crime fell to Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich, who engaged in aggressive "pre-emptive" war under cover of propaganda when they invaded Poland in 1939. Many were executed or imprisoned in Nuremberg as a result. The rest of us were defending ourselves.

Similarly, George Bush and his regime are guilty of engaging in aggressive "pre-emptive" war under cover of propaganda. It does not matter that Bush declared the right to do so in the NSS, it is still, by the standards the civil world applies, a war crime. Bush and his regime are guilty of war crimes. The guilt for the crimes each individual soldier commits in Iraq fall to the moral ledger of the Bush Regime. This rogue State apparatus commits crimes in our name. This war must be stopped.

(I'm not a lawyer, I just play one on this post, but I'd like to hear any legal argument that yields a different conclusion -- maybe I have it wrong?)
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. BS!
Edited on Wed May-24-06 10:44 AM by Breeze54
"Every soldier fighting it is committing a crime."

Soldiers DO NOT make policy. They follow orders! :grr:
---------------------------------------------------------
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2005/09/25/usint11776.h...

The administration demanded that soldiers extract information from detainees without telling them what was allowed and what was forbidden, said Tom Malinowski, Washington Director of Human Rights Watch. Yet when abuses inevitably followed, the leadership blamed the soldiers in the field instead of taking responsibility.

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/05/19/usdom13418.htm
"Of note, the committee called upon the United States to close all secret prisons,
hold accountable senior military and civilian officials who authorized, acquiesced or
consented to acts of torture committed by their subordinates, and end its practice of
transferring detainees to countries with known torture records. The committee also
criticized the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and called for its
closure. The committee rejected U.S. claims that the Convention against Torture did
not apply to U.S. personnel acting outside of the United States or during wartime."
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davekriss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. Breeze please read ALL of my post
It is an illegal war. Every soldier fighting it is committing a crime. I said the guilt for that crime falls to the moral ledger of the Bush Regime, who launched an aggressive "pre-emptive" war in much the same manner Hitler did when he marched in to Poland.

Every German soldier was commiting a crime, too, but guilt for their crimes fell to the Hitler Regime, to leadership, just as with this administration.

I am of the belief that Thou Shall Not Kill (I note that more recent translations of the Bible conveniently change "kill" to "murder"), that killing -- even in war -- is an evil act. That does not mean we can't justifiably kill in war. When our servicemen killed a German soldier in WWII they were commiting an inescapably evil act -- my point was the responsibility for this evil fell to the moral ledger of the people who set in motion the aggressive war, in this case the Third Reich.

On whose moral ledger falls responsibily for the deaths in Iraq (on both sides)? Who started the war? Dropped the first bomb? Fired the first bullet? The Bush Regime. And in the absence of imminent threat, I don't see how we could judge otherwise.

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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #21
40. MY SON DID NOT COMMIT A CRIME BY BEING STOP LOSSED!!
Cram it
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PublicRadioVet Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #40
81. We're all just crazed butchers!
At least according to some at DU.

As you say so well, they can cram it.

Hooah.

:mad:
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davekriss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #18
34. More...
"Soldiers DO NOT make policy. They follow orders!"

BTW, you do know that "following orders" was not a sufficient defense at Nuremberg, right? So those soldiers that, in an egregious act of war that would be judged a "war crime" regardless of who caused the war -- like torture and use of dogs at Abu Ghraib -- cannot say simply they were "following orders" and expect to be absolved. If Nuremberg serves as precedent.

One of the most important principles in international relations not based on straight power concepts is the principle of symmetry. What's right and demanded of one nation is also right and demanded of the next, equally. If it is illegal for Germany or Japan to torture during WWII, then it is illegal for the U.S. to engage in same. If German grunts were convicted and imprisoned for torturing camp residents, then it would be right for U.S. grunts to be convicted and imprisoned for the same. Symmetry.

But I did not venture into a remark about the actions of individual soldiers; I refer to the illegality and immorality of the war itself. It is, by the principals held at Nuremberg, a war crime in itself. At least as I understand it (and I invite anyone to show me where/how I am wrong). Thus our mere presence in Iraq is a crime. And the guilt, again, falls to those who let loose the dogs of war without imminent threat -- for reasons other than clear self-defense. The dogs themselves are not guilty on this account, but it appears to me Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Powell, Perl, and others are. Every death in Iraq, on both sides, falls to their moral ledger and it is that ledger that we must judge.
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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #34
44. So in the end who do you think
is going to pay for the War Crimes? Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Wolfowitz? Or do you have to go lower and find a bunch of privates, lance corporals, and sergeants to be the "Scapegoats of the Empire"?
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #34
46. Summarizing your posts for the slow-witted...
(1) The Nazi leaders were guilty of Planning & Carrying Out Aggressive War--pretty serious War Crimes. German troops were not guilty of those crimes just for fighting in the War. However, some were found guilty of Crimes Against Humanity--atrocities beyond the "normal" violence of war.

(2) The Bush Regime invaded Iraq on false pretenses & should be found guilty of Planning & Carrying Out Aggressive War. (By whom?) Our forces are not guilty of War Crimes simply because they are in Iraq or Afghanistan. But a minority have apparently committed War Crimes.

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davekriss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #46
53. No that's not quite my position
There's a gradient of culpability here. Maybe my position would be clearer if I use the word "evil" instead of "crime" (but can we ever commit an evil act that is not a crime?).

First, understand that I think every act of war is an evil act. Every soldier who kills another human being is committing an evil act, there is no escape (IMO) from this fact.

I define "evil" as willful oppositional defiance to our values, an active attempt to thwart Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Murder is "evil" because it openly defies Life; imprisonment of political opposition is evil because it not only defies the right to physical liberty, but also the right to think freely; torture is evil because it defies any possibility of Happiness. A soldier who maims and kills is committing an evil act, albeit for some end defined as "good".

But ends never simply justify the means -- i.e., allow us to forgive the means. An evil act is always unequivocally evil. Once committed, it cannot be taken back. The reason, I think, we can tolerate some evil acts is because the responsibility for them do not always fall completely or at all on the immediate perpetrator of the act. A whole lot of intermediating circumstances have to be evaluated before one can say, finally, x is to blame. WWII comes to mind.

There's a chilling scene in Hollywood's Saving Private Ryan where an older German soldier, straddled over a younger American, slowly plunges a long knife into the young man's chest while the young man pleads sadly for his life. An unequivocally evil act, there is no escaping that. But whose evil? The German soldier? Or the men of Hitler's regime who created the situation where it became necessary for the German to kill that poor kid?

Argh! Hollywood! Reverse the nationalities of the two actors. Pretend the American was straddling the German and slowly plunging a knife into him. Hardly any of us would blame the kid for the evil act. After all, we were fighting the murderous fascism of the Third Reich. However, the ends, defeating fascism, do not make the means described so vividly in SPR any less evil; but they do perhaps color more negatively those that planned and created the war in the first place.

Is this just a fancy way of saying, "the ends justify the means", the Allied Victory and defeat of fascism justify the many daily evil acts of war? Absolutely not. By insisting that the "many daily evil acts" be accounted for, on some moral ledger, and not simply forgiven and swept away because we all agree the outcome is a net positive, the probability of misuse of these principles falls.

Second, I adhere to the Buddhist principle, "Cease to do evil; try to do good". If more of us adhered to the first imperative there'd be far less need for the second. In no case, in my ethics, is it permissible to commit an evil as a means to go from a neutral state to a greater good. It's not even permissible to me to commit an evil act that moves from an evil state to a greater good when the "evil means" exceeds the "evil state" that pre-existed my act (or would come to exist if I didn't act). To me, it is vitally important that my evil act defeat an evil greater than my act if my act is to be judged "moral".

So tell me, what greater evil are our soldiers overcoming through their daily commission of the acts of war? If there is no greater evil, then their acts are only forgivable to the extent that they are uninformed or mislead. I do not believe every soldier is uninformed and mislead; some choose to do evil without moral excuse.

Third, while I affix the majority of blame for the evils of the Iraq War on the Bush Regime that lied us into the war, that does not mean the awareness and actions of the individual soldier are not also open to scrutiny. It's not just those committing obvious war crimes (e.g., Abu Ghraib) -- even the dutiful soldier respectful of Geneva protocols, if he is aware that he is participating in an aggressive, "pre-emptive" war, this soldier shares a measure of culpability with every shot he squeezes off from his gun.

My problem is with the easy habituation toward doing evil in the name of good. We need to be really really certain -- let me emphasize, extremely really certain -- that the "good" we seek to achieve outweighs the horrible evils we agree to perpetrate before we pick up a gun. After the example of WWII, moral certainty (in my strongly held opinion) seems to dissolve into "moral" excuses used to cover actions that have less altruistic objectives.

Only the soldier of conscience is a hero in this war. Duty, or obedience to orders, is no excuse (the US insisted so at Nuremburg). If I was on the ground in Iraq, I'd have to pick up a gun just to survive (I'm no hero), and in a fire-fight I'd do what I had to do to survive, but opportunities to resist will appear, and I'd exploit those opportunities even at risk of personal penalty. And, whoa to the Bush Regime if I made it home (Cindy Sheehan, move over!!!).

I apologize to those with family or friends in Iraq. If they are aware or just suspect the lies, the vacuity of the mission, then even those who come home physically whole can be torn apart emotionally. We need to treat them with acceptance, patience, understanding, and love (even a dissident like me); and the Bush Regime needs to pay for their transition and care (I say by adding a Republican-only poll tax!!).

OK, jump all over me, crew, but this is how I see it. :)


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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 07:39 AM
Response to Reply #53
57. Sorry for my misunderstanding.
Continue to condemn all military, everywhere. Past, present & future.

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davekriss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #57
67. Of course, that's not what I said either
Since we live in a world of soundbites, let me bite: We, everyone of us, need to be extremely very certain that what we do is right before we agree to pick up a gun. Right circumstances surface from time to time. WWII comes to mind; more recently maybe the First Gulf War (ignoring April Glaspie's gambit) and perhaps Afganistan.

Need for or having a military is not something to gloat about. It is a horrible thing, put in place to do horrible things. War as an honorable profession went out with The Grand Illusion, i.e. in the mustard-gassed trenches of WWI. Now we seek to terrorize a civilian population into compliance by bombing them back to the stone ages and unleashing well trained Death Squads to disappear anyone who complains about it.

Defending the property rights of the top 0.1% of our population in places like Panama in 1989, or Haiti in 1994, or Grenada in 1983, or Cambodia and Laos in the sixties and early seventies, or covert operations in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua in the eighties, Vietnam in the sixties and early seventies, and of course now in Iraq -- and I name just a few -- what greater evil were our troops overcoming while committing the everyday evil acts of war in these excursions? They were overcoming with bombs and bullets the desire of a local population to to resist the demands made by transnational corporate elites, and by their agents, the WTO and IMF. Our soldiers were killing hope, a hope for better schools, clean water, working hospitals, self-determination and a small patch of land to call home. I will never kill anyone to thwart such hopes; I will never be proud of those who do.

What are our troops doing protecting the Columbian Cao Limn oil pipeline for Occidental Petroleum? (Are you aware of that?) What greater evil is overcome when our soldiers fire a bullet or train a local mercenary how to launch a soulder-harnesse missle? -- or, worse, show the local where best to place the electrodes to elicit maximal pain. What imminent threat and greater evil did the Republicans in Kansas face that we all easily conclude that these little wars of frightful terror were right and just?

Major General Smedley Butler had it right when he said, in 1935:

    I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 19021912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.
Any one aware of how our USG uses our troops, and for what, should think thrice before signing up.

The odds are the recruit will be asked to fight an illegal action or war, kill and torture citizens against Geneva Conventions and the Military Code of Justice -- I mean, there's fifty years of history there. We as parents owe it to our children to make them aware of this immoral history and dissuade our sons and daughters from signing up. If aware, and they sign up anyway -- maybe to gain money for college, or just to have income and training -- then when the USG executes an illegal aggressive war then these soldiers can't escape their measure of culpability, too.

WWII was a just war. The first Gulf War was a just war (though we'd have to ignore the murky waters surrounding April Glaspie's green light to Hussein days before the war). The invasion of Afghanistan might be a just war (ignoring the fact that the war might only have been made necessary due to Bush Incompetence, LIHOP, or MIHOP -- the latter splatters some culpability on the Bush Regime).

The soldier fighting a just war unequivocally commits evil things, but responsibility for the evil is not his own, it falls to the moral ledger of the aggressor nation. But a soldier fighting an unjust war, and Iraq is an unjust war, unless lost in some kind of video-game fantasy that he fights to protect the homeland, that soldier shares a measure of culpabiliy for his acts, though most accrue to the Bush Regime that lied us into the war in the first place.

There is no exit; hell is other people. Commit evil and, unless the people around you easily assign guilt for that evil onto someone else, then expect to pay for it. Perhaps by being shuned when you come home, or denied access to care to right your emotions again, or lose your job and house to frantic self-medication with alcohol or worse to keep the flashbacks at bay.

There is no honor fighting an unjust war; only the soldier of conscience is a hero, and such a soldier puts his gun down at the first possible moment. For the rest we can only pray they come back home whole and healthy.

I read a little bit about an interesting movie called, "Sir no Sir"; it's about resistance by US troops to fight as commanded in Vietnam. It shows it is possible to reclaim your soul even when in the belly of the dragon.
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Hubert Flottz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 07:48 AM
Response to Reply #46
58. Maybe after the trials over this neocon induced war are finished...
the world will decide to split the country into the Blue zone and the Red zone. So the freepers can have their Red Zone where their government can spy on them to it's heart's content. If they have nothing to hide they should be tickled shitless! Let them have a New East Germany of America!
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coalition_unwilling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #58
65. United States of Canada and Jesusland. (I live in
Los Angeles, California, which I seriously hope reverts to Mexican sovereignty soon.) Seriously, the Latinos out here in L.A. are just the nicest, most hard-working, group of people I've ever known. I grew up on a farm and so did a lot of hard, manual labor and I tend to respect people engaged in the same line(s) of work.
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stanwyck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 05:38 AM
Response to Reply #17
71. My son is a criminal?
because he's a Marine? Would he be a criminal if he was guarding the U.S. border? Or a foreign embassy? If he was protecting you if you were in a foreign country, trouble erupted, and he had to get you evacuated? Would he be a criminal then? He was sent to Iraq, twice, by our commander in chief. And Congress. He completed his tours, voted for John Kerry, and hoped that he could do what all soldiers want to do -- protect their fellow soldiers. It's not about politics. It's about each other. He realized within days of his first tour in Iraq that the people there don't want us there, the situation is much more complex than anyone had described, and that our presence is aiding the insurgents and the fundamentalists.
By your reasoning, all the Viet Nam vets are criminals.
I'm not naive. I know war crimes have been committed in Iraq.
But don't label my boy a criminal.
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:45 AM
Response to Reply #71
91. just a question?
did your son believe he was there to protect the US and under the fallacy of Iraq being connected to the 9/11 attacks, did he know they were going into a sovereign country that had no WMD's and no connection to the 9/11 attacks. Thanks.
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stanwyck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #91
97. He believed, as did Congress,
and many Americans that Iraq had WMD. He quickly found out, as we did, that our administration lied. He knows that Iraq is a sovereign nation. He, as a Marine, went where he was sent by his commander in chief.
He believed there was a connection between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks -- until he found out, as we did, that this administration, again, lied.
He has honored the contract he signed when he enlisted.
Apparently, to some here, that makes him a war criminal.
He isn't. And those who believe so are dead wrong.
Let the judicial system deal with those who have committed crimes - military or civilian.
But this bizarre interpretation of our military as war criminals is offensive. And promotes the lunancy that conservatives own the military.
The truth is the military is made up of people. Some are liberals, like my son.
And this witch hunt against our troops is beneath DU.
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #97
99. thanks for the explanation
it is so unfortunate that we have losted so many Americans for lies. Our guys are too valuable to die for a lie. Thanks.
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davekriss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-27-06 12:06 PM
Response to Reply #97
103. I am very cynical of Congress
I believe they knew better but were politicked into a corner, pre-election, and felt compelled to say "yea" on the IWR. Craven and a failure of leadership, all around.

There were choruses of voices saying no to war during the run-up, albeit hard to hear behind the roar of our monopolized major media. But there was Brent Scowcraft's famous op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in 2002, which basically said, in nice language, that invading Iraq would be pure nuts; then there's Generals Zinni and Shinseki, and Scott Ritter of course -- none of these from the hard-left perch I occupy. Anyone believing Hussein had anything to do with 9-11 or that the war really was about WMD simply wasn't listening. I grant you that the latter characterizes the vast majority of Americans back then, as so many were glued to ABCNBCCBSCNBCMSNBCCNNFOXNEWS, which diligently reported on how best to execute the war, not on whether or not we should go to war. We were being intentionally misled, though not all of us followed their lead. I'm sorry you and your son, back then, drank the koolaid. I hope both of you have unplugged from the matrix (your presence here suggests you have).

I share here what I posted in February of 2003 (on Urban75). Seemed back then that few board-denizens disagreed. It is a shame your son, the liberal Marine, was not better informed. I pray he's home now and past his errors in personal choice. I thank him for the spirit of his choices, if not their reality and consequences.

From 2003:

    First, I see no reason to believe that Iraq represents the intensity of threat that the GWB administration has claimed; there has been zero serious evidence that the U.S. or our friends face imminent threat of any kind from Iraq. Instead, there has been a laughable series of half-truths, eliding justifications, and bald-faced lies. I therefore don't see any legal or moral justification for attacking Iraq at this time.

    Second, I suggest the U.S. keep to its sound principles of Deterrence and Containment. They represent principles that have served our security interests very well since WWII. I reject the National Security Strategys newly announced (9/20/2002) principle of pre-emptive aggression (as well as the rest of its happy-politico-speak rewrite of the PNAC agenda).

    I understand the arguments that, in the age of WMD proliferation and of ferocious terrorist will (greatly elevated with the attacks of 9-11), we may now need to rethink policy. Significant threats may no longer announce themselves as armies massing along borders, allowing time for security-maintaining (and legal) first strikes based on observed imminent threats. Some reasonable and thoughtful people today believe that the first sign of "imminent threat" might now be a rising mushroom cloud over Manhattan or Washington DC. They think, therefore, we must eliminate, not just real present threats, but the potential for such threats to emerge. Children and mothers in foreign lands might have to die based on a whim and a fear held by our President that someday perhaps in a month, a year, or ten years their leaders may develop the means and the will to attack the United States directly or by proxy via terrorists. Saddam Hussein, for example, might be developing nuclear weapons, and he might share them with terrorists, therefore we must amass our armies on his borders and attack to protect ourselves. I wholly reject this thinking.

    Iraq has not sent its armies outside its borders since 1990; by our own CIA's reporting, they have had zero involvement with international terrorism since 1993. They have only used WMD twice, in 1988 and 1983 (while allied with U.S. interests). It's now, what? 2003? Deterrence and Containment works, my friends, and has been working very well in the case of Iraq for over a decade. Why abandon these sound principles now?

    When in 1990 dear April Glaspie gave Saddam the green light to invade Kuwait (OK, a neutral light), we then hit Iraq with overwhelming force and pushed them back into their own borders. We did so quickly, legally, and morally; we were triggering the muscle of Deterrence and Containment. Iraq paid a terrible price for the foolhardy actions of their leader. Both his regime, and much of the rest of the world, learned that the U.S. has the might and the will to uphold the sanctity of sovereign borders (at least when its in our self-interest). The UN sanctions, UN inspection regimes, and no-fly zones (which are not authorized by the UN) have effectively quelled all further Iraqi aggression. Saddam Hussein has been successfully deterred from all further adventurism. Again, Deterrence and Containment worked and continues to work. Who disputes this?

    Some say, "we can't continue to absorb the expense of maintaining the no-fly zones". Why not? Maintaining them is hugely less expensive than the estimated costs of war, rebuilding, and occupation, never mind the future costs that will accrue through erosion of our moral standing throughout the world.

    Some say, "the sanctions are barbaric and must be stopped; we need to exact 'regime change' in order to do so". Bunk! We could've stopped the sanctions before they started. They have almost zero to do with why Saddam Hussein has not resumed his own desires for empire (which are greatly dwarfed by the ambitions of our own Caesar, thirsting for a new millennial Pax Americana). The example of Gulf War I, plus the no-fly zones and inspection regimes are what held him in check.

    Some say, "Saddam is brutal, vile, represses his people -- war will free the Iraqi people and allow American-style democracy to emerge". If the lessons of history didn't stand in my way, I might believe this to be our motive and thus democracy the likely outcome. But our actions in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Grenada, Colombia, Chile (to name a few) lead me to believe the more likely outcome is the installation of a new repressive regime more friendly to American corporate interests.

    So: Why abandon the sound principles of Deterrence and Containment now and leap to a new policy of pre-emptive attack? Where is the justification? Where is the evidence? Where is the imminent threat? Where is the moral clarity? I've been waiting for a smidgeon of these things since I first heard Condi Rice announce with feigned fervor and concern, back in March of 2002, that Iraq might be holding as a prisoner a pilot downed during the first hours of the first Gulf War. Trial balloon #1? You betcha! How can anyone trust anything these people have said since?

    I recall Admiral Billingslea's testimony before Congress in the summer of 2002 overviewing the risks associated with unfriendly nations harboring terrorist groups (several of which undisputedly reside in Iraq -- though not Al Qaeda) while at the same time acquiring or building WMD. The fear is that one day an unfriendly leader will hand these weapons of violence to a terrorist group willing to use them.

    First, its notable that the only weapons of mass destruction used to date have been fuel-full Boeing 747's with boxcutters serving as triggers. The leaders in unfriendly nations have so far refrained from sharing their WMD with terrorist groups for the same reason the U.S. has refused, for example, to share ours with terrorist client states: There is nothing to gain by it and more to lose. These are our toys, the powerful think, an underpinning of our power. Why dilute matters by sharing these means with others?

    What the Billingslea argument demands is vigilant anti-proliferation regimes, not implementation of the insane Bush Doctrine underway now, where Iraq is to serve as an example to the rest of the world of our willingness to use our overwhelming force to unilaterally further our self-interest (the self-interest of an elite few at the top of our socioeconomic ladder). The message: Bend to our will, or else. Its the message of the schoolyard bully.

    So, if at the nation-state level Deterrence and Containment still works, why discontinue it now? And if 9-11 examples the stealthiness of future threat, then I advise that we thoroughly examine how 9-11 came to be. I remain puzzled why the GWB administration didn't on 9/12 authorize a full and complete investigation into how our hundreds of billion dollar security apparatus failed to prevent 9-11.

    When that hijacker's passport magically appeared in the WTC rubble -- or was it when I learned that we already had full active Air Force protocols to follow whenever a domestic jet is hijacked that were, for some unexplained reason, NOT followed on 9-11 -- or was it when we were promised a full "white paper" detailing the evidence of Al Qaeda involvement, evidence that has never been presented to the world -- these things lead me to conclude that this war has just about nothing to do with WMD or terrorism or the desire to bring democracy to Iraq (after all, GWB's dad promised the same thing for Kuwait!), but instead more likely is meant to advance the interests of, well, whom? Halliburton? They have, note, already been awarded huge post-war contracts, and dear Cheney still receives $1mm a year from his old firm. Who else is lined up at the trough? But mostly, the question to ask is who's megalomaniacal ego will be advanced? Who is it that desires future schoolchildren to sing songs praising their names? What arrogance! And what folly!!

    (And who PAYS for war, rebuilding, and occupation? Meanwhile GWB pushes a second trillion dollar tax break for the wealthy while polishing future speeches that surely will inform us that we can no longer afford Medicare and Social Security as we know it, or occupational and environmental safety regulations, or money for educating our young or feeding our needy. What a F*CKING DAMN TRAVESTY! And it continues...)

    OK. Rant over. You can all go back to your seats and carry on...
Where you, your son, and I differed in 2002 and 2003 is that, in my case, I would want to know for certain that Iraq possessed WMD and had the means and intention to use them against the United States before picking up a gun. If I didn't have the evidence, then noting that containment had worked successfully for 12 years I'd continue to support containment while monitoring the situation until and if clear evidence of weapons, means, and intention surfaced. If clear evidence surfaced, then I'd think about war.

Alternately, I'd want to see clear evidence that Saddam Hussein was fomenting terrorists to strike against U.S. targets, that he was behind 9-11 (as was floated early and often before inconveniently the CIA reported Saddam Hussein had zero involvement with terror outside his borders since 1993). If clear evidence emerged, then I'd consider war.

In the absence of clear evidence, I would continue to support the successful policies of containment, anti-proliferation programs, inspections, and monitoring. I would not go to war because of a purely speculative "he might have" or "he might do". That's where I draw the line.

When asked to go to Iraq, I would have said "Sir no Sir" to my commander.
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davekriss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-27-06 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #71
101. Why are so many so binary on this issue?
It is not black and white, on or off. Reality is thick and resists such easy abstraction.

But first, I sincerely apologize, as this is such an emotional issue (for me too though my children are too young to be at war). Continued open discussion of these issues will only bring pain to any of us with friends or family overseas. It is not my intention to bring pain. Forgive me.

However let me ask, are you telling me your son joined the marines in hope "that he could do what all soldiers want to do -- protect their fellow soldiers"? I find that hard to believe. That more likely reflects what his personal motives were reduced to after witnessing the incredible violence of war, no? If so, may I ask what his original reasons were for joining the marines?

I find it frustrating that a few who've chosen to reply to my posts reduce what I've said to a purported assertion that "every soldier is a criminal". That is NOT what I said. I said every act of war is evil, a crime, horrible and ought not happen. But every evil act has to be accounted for. In a just war, the culpability for that evil falls to the leadership that chose to initiate aggression unjustly -- e.g., the Third Reich when they marched into Poland in 1939, the USG when we marched into Iraq in 2003. But when a soldier finds himself on the wrong side of a war and understands he is on the wrong side, he is not absolved simply because he follows orders. It is morally incumbent on such soldiers to put the gun down at the first possible moment, to resist, and sometimes, depending on what they are asked to do (Abu Ghraib, Fallujah), to simply say "sir no sir" and bear what comes. Those that do not are to varying degrees complicit in the immoral actions of their leaders -- often forgiveable and understandable, but nevertheless complicit.

I'm confident you know these words:

    Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.
    -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Consciousness needs to be raised until conscience kicks in, which is what I'm endeavoring to promote with my posts in this thread. You say your son realized within days of his first tour in Iraq that "the people there don't want us there, the situation is much more complex than anyone had described, and that our presence is aiding the insurgents and the fundamentalists". That in itself does not make the war unjust, just difficult (it suggests only errors in strategy and execution). If this is the extent of your son's awareness (or the extent of the problem) than of course there's no knowing complicity. But, as I understand it (I acknowledge that I could be wrong), the current war is far more than that, it is illegal, immoral, unjust -- a crime.

Aristotle was right, all men do seek the good. The problem is in our varied definitions of the word, "good". Therein lies the root of all evil. Knowing what I know -- and knowing what you should know -- we need to wrest back control of the word and set forth a shared understanding that no good comes of injustice, inequality, brutality. Bondage to propaganda spewed forth by agents of the powerful leads to mayhem and misery for the powerless. Smedley Butler was right and every soldier blinded by illusions of altruism is wrong. Your son, when he was in Baghdad (the second time), was not rescuing me nor any of my friends from personal threats. We without property and income don't find ourselves traipsing across the globe in need of a personal military. However, surely Lee Raymond, Sir John Browne, Riley P. Bechtel, the gang at Carlyle and Halliburton, and the rest of the Bush "base" have expressed their extreme gratitude for your son's service, yes? Though I applaud the impulse to brave self-sacrifice made by so many soldiers, when looked at over the last half century it sure seems it could be better used.

USG post-WWII foriegn policy, including (especially) use of the military, was in great part formed by the likes of Paul Nitze and George Kennan, the latter who set forth these basic and enduring principles:

    The US has about 50% of the worlds wealth but only 6.3% of its population. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming, and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.

    We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford the luxury of altruism and world benefaction. We should cease talks about such vague and unreal objectives as human rights and raising of living standards and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.
    -- George Kennan, PPS 23, 1948
Isn't that, the maintenance of "this position of disparity", in most part what your son unknowingly fought for? Is that something that should continue? When and how do we say "no"?


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magellan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
19. I don't doubt it for a moment
To believe otherwise in the face of the stories we keep hearing (most recently Haditha), and knowing the nature of man during war, is to reject reality.
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IselaB Donating Member (235 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
20. You people are really getting on my nerves
Stop acting like those of us who don't jump gleefully on board your troop-bashing bandwagons are afflicted with "hero worship" or don't want to face uncomfortable realities. We just aren't going to switch off our critical thinking skills out of some sick desire to believe US troops are over there cackling maniacally while they machine gun Iraqi schoolchildren.

War is nasty stuff. Lots of bad things happen. People are pushed to emotional extremes and some people do hideous things. And it doesn't matter what uniform they're wearing.

It's beginning to look like something awful happened in Haditha. I've read that Marines are being charged and there are going to be public Congressional hearings on the matter. If crimes were committed, we all want them exposed and the guilty held accountable.

But blaming the soldiers for being in Iraq fighting and dying is wrong. Hold Bush and the neocons accountable.

And, yes, I know you hedged with your little disclaimer at the end of your post, but it's also obvious how eager you are to be free to express your contempt for the troops. Get over it.

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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #20
25. The war is not just "nasty stuff" it is a crime.
Those "lots of bad things happening" are crimes too.

Excusing or trying to justify those crimes is what is wrong. Always has been wrong. Always will be wrong.

Wrong wrong wrong.
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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #20
38. You fell for it too huh?
Equating my statements with a supposed contempt for all the troops.
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IselaB Donating Member (235 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #38
51. Another hedge. No, it's not "ALL" the troops...
...it's just "many of our troops" who are "mad-dog killers."

I know you've found your views unpopular and you're trying to qualify your statements hoping to receive more general acceptance, but you're not fooling anybody.




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coalition_unwilling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #20
66. "Contempt for the troops" -- speaking for myself personally, I
feel way more sorrow than contempt for victims of the "poverty draft," many of whom enlisted because the capitalist economy did not offer them a path to prosperity.

My general position is that enlisted soldiers are the equivalent of a "working class" in the military. It's a bad thing when members of the U.S. military "working class" kill Iraqi civilians who are also members of a "working class," especially when that killing benefits members of the ruling class.

I have found my own line on BFEE's culpability hardening vis-a-vis impeachement\trial. I now think that impeachement and removal are necessary but not sufficient and should be a prelude to an international war crimes tribunal modeled on Nuremburg principles. Said tribunal also to include Blair and Jack Straw.
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stanwyck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #20
83. Thank you, IselaB!
I can't tell you how offensive this thread is to a mother of a Marine. And the Bushian backtracking..."I didn't mean ALL the troops"...just ain't cutting it.
Let the judicial system deal with the criminals - civilian or military. But let's not tar the entire military with the broad brush of war crimes.
Ludicrous and beyond offensive.
My son deserves better.
We all do.
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
22. I am sure some are as it happens in every warzone
I don't think it's as prevalent with a volunteer army as it was with a draftee army.

And I don't think there is anything taking place like that bogus video claims.
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Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
23. Americans can be extremely Barbaric
I am a witness to that fact
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #23
27. Amen to that
Abu Ghraib was exported directly from Prisonville, USA if I recall correctly.
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peacebaby3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #27
35. And Amen to that. Graner came straight from being a prison guard on
American soil. He had a lot of practice before he got there.
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Xenotime Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #23
32. You can thank the leadership for that.
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PublicRadioVet Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-27-06 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #23
102. Americans are as diverse as the stars in the sky!
Just had to say it. I am tired of the American-bashing.
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peacebaby3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
29. Of course, there are some. The military doesn't brainwash you to hand out
flowers. It's a catch 22. If you need your military to defend you and the Constitution, you have to have people that are trained to do the "dirty work" that none of us want to do. That doesn't mean war crimes, but I will tell you that war is a crime itself and you (and I mean you as a citizen of the US who is being represented by your government) send people over to a foreign land where everyday of his or her life is spent trying to not get blown up or shot, you can't expect them to not do everything they have to do in order to survive. It is human nature.

There are some that come in as sociopaths. Most are not. Some cross over after they get there and have watched their friends blown into pieces or look over and see their head or face gone. These people are now mentally ill and should be taken out of combat, but they are not because their leadership doesn't do the right thing. Some do things that are wrong out of sheer fear. There is no way to know who is an enemy in Iraq.

The military spends millions of dollars to train (brainwash)these soldiers to see these people as "ragheads" and "sand n*ggers." Most of them aren't capable of losing their humanity to that point, but some do. It has been done throughout history. The Native Americans were heathens, redskins, etc. The Germans were Nazis and Krauts. You had the "Japs", and the Vietnamese "Gooks." There were even government war posters that spoke of killing the "gooks" back during the Vietnam war.

There are some soldiers that commit atrocities and should be court-martialed, but your condemnation should be for "the deciders" and not the peons on the front lines.

I think saying "many" commit war crimes is inaccurate. There are 120,000-150,000 boots on the ground at all times and there have been 500,000 + rotated in and out so I don't think "many" applies.

My husband served over there for more than a year and he never participated in nor witnessed a war crime. The closest he came to seeing anything was when he was going through Basra on the way to Baghdad. At that time, Basra was under the British troops and my husband's convoy was passing through and stopped. He said they were handing out candy and $1 bills to some of the kids and that a group of British soldiers came over and started shooting at the kids' feet making them jump around and then laughed about it. My husband and the guys that were with him got into a big fight with these guys. It got heated enough that my husband actually worried because he knew everyone was armed. He reported the incident to command, but he doesn't think anything ever came of it. I remember him telling me about it at the time because he was so angry. It wasn't too much later when an incident happened in Basra that made the news because some British troops were chased down, shot and killed by a group of Iraqi citizens in Basra. My husband said he knew it was going to happen sooner or later because of how they treated the people there. I almost hate to admit this, but my husband has a real disdain for the British troops since that incident. If he talks about his experience, he usually mentions how much he doesn't like the British troops. I actually scold him for generalizing, but he doesn't listen. We have some good friends who are British and live in London so at least I know he doesn't dislike everyone who is British!



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Libby2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:17 AM
Response to Original message
30. NO
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Xenotime Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:17 AM
Response to Original message
31. It's happening everyday.
They kill without question or without reason. They walk around with their finger on the trigger ready to shoot.
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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
36. "The barbarities of war are seldom committed by abnormal men
The tragedy of war is that these horrors are committed by normal men in abnormal situations." Maj. J.F. Thomas

What I call into question is this: Do members of the DU beleive US forces are acting in a manner similar to The Seminole Wars, Wounded Knee, the Phillipines Insurrection? Or are the incidents like Haditha an aberation these days?

The problem is what do people expect to happen in situations like this? All it takes is for a soldier to be on his 3rd tour in Iraq, just gotten an email from his wife saying she is leaving him (or something more graphic), is constantly in fight/flight mode driving around with his stomach clenched due to fear of IEDs, has a friend who died in a mortar attack and what is the result.

Of course, someone is going to attack me for defending war crimes, but isn't it incumbent upon us to understand the underlying reasons which breed these incidents and fight to stop the future groundlaying for atrocities?
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Tom Bombadil Donating Member (175 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #36
37. I believe that the US military has committed war crimes,
like all armies, for as long as it has existed. I also believe that racism is deep-seated within large parts of the military.

I take your point about the need to understand the reasons that these acts are committed but let's also spare a thought for the Iraqis. America was the aggressor in this illegal war, the Iraqis did not choose this war, so instead why not examine the underlying reasons that Shias and Sunnis have committed their own barbarous crimes?


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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #37
42. Understanding the cause of crimes
is always the hardest part. It's a difficult concept that our reptilian brains mainly reject and which requires higher level thinking to grasp. For example look at most of the criminal codes of the world prior to the late 20th century. Punishment (sometimes far exceeding the nature of the crime) was common, acts of mercy or leinency were rare doles from the Monarch.

I would hope the DUers do not allow their hatred of the regime and it's policies to overcome reasoned understanding of what people are going through over there. Servicemembers
Of course, the question is does the military have a higher or lower percentage of "deviant" personality types than society due to the majority of the service being made up of middle/lower income persons and mainly men?

I do have a question: When you say racism is deep-seated within large parts of the military, what do you mean?
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Tom Bombadil Donating Member (175 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #42
45. My view is that
a lot of people who join the military are more patriotic and jingoistic than most other people - they believe their country is superior to all others.

It's deep-seated in that by its very nature an army encourages racist attitudes. The purpose of a military is to train soldiers to kill people who are not like themselves and this has always been the case throughout history. Was not the conquest of the Native American tribes inherently racist!
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #45
48. Some join the service for economic reasons.
A chance to serve their country & earn some money for education at the same time. Endless illegal war only came into fashion under Bush. By the way--not all US service men & women are white.

The Native Americans were conquered because the Anglo-American colonists wanted their land. Racism was a good excuse, but not the whole reason.

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Tom Bombadil Donating Member (175 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #48
50. I can't disagree.
I should have added in my post that historically wars were fought for economic reasons and over territory. Racism is always prevelant in conquest though.

I also stand by my belief that most people join the military for patriotic reasons, not economic ones. I am aware that not all military types are white. I was generalising because the vast majority are white and racist.

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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #50
52. The vast majority of the Military are NOT White and Racist.
You are way off base. And can you tell me a land that was conquered by a ethos of peace? Anywhere? All conquest is down by 2 things: the sword and numbers.
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Tom Bombadil Donating Member (175 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #52
60. Conquest has always been
about land and resources. But, racism is often an underlying factor.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 07:37 AM
Response to Reply #50
56. "the vast majority ARE white & racist"....
In what country?

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Tom Bombadil Donating Member (175 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #56
61. I was refering to the US but it could apply to other countries.
Are you disputing that whites are the majority in the US armed forces? I will admit that I cannot prove that thay are racist. However, I stand by my sweeping generalisiation. It's probably closer to the mark than any misty-eyed view that you have of the US military. I'm sick of people defending the ordinary GI. No one forced them to join the army. They volunteered to go off and kill brown people in the desert.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #61
62. The best source I could find is the Heritage Society....
It's a conservative think-tank, but I don't see why they would lie about this.

Based on 2003 data, whites are proportionately represented in the military (and Army specifically). Blacks and native Americans are overrepresented, offsetting underrepresentation by Asians an individuals who decline to identify a race.

www.heritage.org/Research/NationalSecurity/cda05-08.cfm

The actual number of whites may be greater--but that reflects the demographics of the USA.

How much time have you spent in the USA? Has your view of the military been affected by your own country's Imperial history?

Quite a few in the military--& the National Guard--joined before Bush was president.
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Tom Bombadil Donating Member (175 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 04:00 AM
Response to Reply #62
68. I take your points
Edited on Fri May-26-06 04:04 AM by Tom Bombadil
How much time have you spent in the USA?

I have visited the US several times and did live there as a child for one year, so have my parents experiences to draw upon.

Has your view of the military been affected by your own country's Imperial history?

To some degree, yes, it has. But I also believe that many Americans have a rose-tinted view of their military, that somehow the US soldiers are noble warriors and that it is only ever a 'few bad apples' that let the side down. There is an obsession with warfare, a certain pride in miltary service, that you don't see in Europe. This blinkered view of the miltary is particularly prevelant on right-wing websites but I've also seen such views expressed here at DU and elsewhere.

An examination of recent history - look back to Vietnam and My Lai, and today to Iraq and to Abu Graib, Haditha and the slaughter of Falujah. It is evident that the US miltary is just as ugly and as capable of evil acts as any other army in history.


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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #68
72. Who said the US military is incapable of war crimes?
I heard the stories from Vietnam as they were happening. And stories out of Iraq & Afghanistan indicate that crimes are still occurring.

But I don't wish ill on all American military because of the crimes of some. And I can't forget the War Criminals who decided to invade Iraq in the first place.

I'm glad that Europe has at last tired of the attitudes that plunged the world into great wars twice in the last century. But, last I heard, you still had a military. I guess that's OK if you hold your soldiers in contempt--including the 111 your PM sent to die in Iraq.

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Tom Bombadil Donating Member (175 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #72
100. The only soldiers
I have contempt for are the ones who torture prisoners and slaughter innocent civillians. Unfortunately it is far more widespread in Iraq than is documented. We know about Abu Graib and recently the Haditha massacre but what about all the atrocities that have been covered up by the military. Do you honestly think we know the half of it? Do the miltary try to cover up their crimes? Of course they do.

The lying bastards in the miltary tried to cover up the truth over Pat Tillman and more recently Haditha. Of course, it is those higher up who are ultimately reponsible but that is not to say the those at the bottom are totally innocent.

Read this article in which Iraq veterans describe the indiscriminate killing that has taken place.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1741699,00.html
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #45
94. how many of those soldiers even know about the Iraqi culture?
probably none of them, or even familiar with their customs, none probably. So, of course, these soldiers believe that they are better than Iraqi citizens, it is shameful and unfortunate to kill another person because they don't believe in the same ideas as another person. Just my opinion.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
39. War crimes? Naah. Those 100,000 dead civilians all commited suicide.
War is a crime.
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pocket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
41. Those women and children at Falluja didn't napalm themselves
every iraqi death is a war crime, and GIs are pulling the triggers, so yes, of course.
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sutz12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 03:00 PM
Response to Original message
47. No doubt at all....
War brutalizes everyone it touches.
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #47
49.  US media covers up American war crimes in Iraq
US media covers up American war crimes in Iraq

"Every day, US military forces in Iraq are attacking civilian populations in a calculated effort to drown a growing popular insurgency in blood."
http"//www.wsws.org/articles/2004/sep2004/medi-s15.shtml
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PublicRadioVet Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #49
90. Bullshit...
If the U.S. media "covers up for war crimes", why do we STILL have the embarrassment of Abu Grhaib rammed down our throats every other week? Why does even the slightest hint of a war crime, make national headlines? Look at Macbeth, the fraud. He touted war crimes, and it went national in a shot; as did his debunking, thankfully.

The media are hyper-vigilant for war crimes and will scream about it the second they think they are on to something. This is why so many people who have come back from Iraq are nervous about the media, because even the ones doing a good job felt the media were playing Big Brother and were always waiting for them to fuck up, so that the media could report back about what a shitty job they are doing.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-24-06 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
54. Uhhhm. Technically, the Iraq war
is a war crime by international law. We were called beligerents by the U.N. for a reason. So it's actually bigger than individual soldiers.
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 07:51 AM
Response to Original message
59. The whole war is a war crime.
What murder is justified?
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One_Life_To_Give Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 01:36 PM
Response to Original message
63. Mad Dog Killers?
There is a very big difference between most war crimes and Mad Dog killer.
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lies and propaganda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-25-06 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
64. I believe there are a lot of rapes we dont hear about.
and i dont give a fuck what kind of stress your in, rape is inexcusable and were never hearing a peep about it.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 05:17 AM
Response to Original message
70. nor do i doubt they get orders to do things that are war crimes
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LSK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 08:49 AM
Response to Original message
75. anyone with an IQ over 20 would not be surprised about this
This isnt freeperland where simple minds think everything is black and white and you are either with us or against us.

Out of thousands of soldiers, theres bound to be bad apples. Just like in any other random population group, soldiers are no different.

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ItNerd4life Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
76. Some, yes.. 'Many'? No
Edited on Fri May-26-06 09:20 AM by ItNerd4life
Some war crimes always occurs in any war (justified or unjustified), however to claim 'Many' are is something I strongly disagree with. I do have faith in our soldiers to be soldiers and not barbians. The barbarians are the Neo Cons, not the soldiers.

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PublicRadioVet Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:26 AM
Response to Original message
77. I am in the Army Reserve...
...and I resent the Hell out of the "assumption" that U.S. troops are "mad dog killers", simply because people hate Bush and dislike the U.S. occupation of Iraq. How many of you who find it easy to see us uniformed folk as "mad dog killers" even KNOW someone in the Army? Navy? Marines? Air Force? Do any of you even know someone who has been to Iraq and come back? Many in my unit have. Some of them never even had to pull a trigger once. Not once.

Is there a certain, VERY SMALL percentage of U.S. troops in Iraq who I would call "unstable" and likely to do Bad Things? Yes. But with over 100,000 U.S. troops in Iraq (the population of a small city) we should not be surprised that there are some bad apples. Find me a city with over 100K in population that does not have its criminals. There is no such city.

Look, the U.S. military 'aint perfect. BUT WE TRY TO BE! We really fucking try. And it sucks knowing that there are a lot of people who just assume we're a bunch of derranged animals, simply because we serve. Come on, DU, you are smarter than this!

:banghead:
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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #77
80. I almost bought it.
Yes, I have several relatives in Iraq right now, and I'd hate to see them be accused of the things I've heard about going on over there. And I worry for you too friend.

I never said all soldiers are mad dog killers, and you know it.

I said certain soldiers, not the vast majority, don't twist my words thanks.
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PublicRadioVet Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #80
86. Sorry, I am just tired of the slander...
OK, I admit I typed before I read the whole thing. I saw MAD DOG KILLERS and became a mad dog typer.

I've already had people call me a killer to my face, in class, and on the street. And I have not even been to fucking Iraq or Afghanistan. It's like people find out you are in the service and they suddenly see a mass murderer. Unreal.

So I apologize for jumping the gun. (no pun intended)
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ItNerd4life Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #80
87. But you did say "Many"
and that's where the confusion may lie.

My opinion, but I thought you ripped the soldiers, then you said not to blame them and to blame the Neo Cons. But by ripping "many" of the soldiers, aren't you blaming them?
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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #87
89. In my opinion, there are many, not just a few.
I've been reading all about it for 3 years now, and I know the difference between a few and many.
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PublicRadioVet Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #89
93. What # qualifies as "many"?
Especially given over 100K in troops?

If our base is 100,000+, then "many" to me means tens of thousands.

Tens of thousands of bona-fide war criminals.

Nuh-uh. Sorry. I am not buying it.
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ItNerd4life Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #77
82. Well said
and thank you for your service.

My father and father-in-law served in Korea, there were some bad apples back then as well. However, most were soldiers and doing a professional job. It's sad when people blame the messengers (soldiers) and not the politicians who created the message.
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Philosoraptor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:34 AM
Response to Reply #82
85. Perhaps you didn't read my post correctly, I blamed the guilty,
I didn't blame the soldiers. I was very clear on that.
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ItNerd4life Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #85
88. Ok, please see my post #87, it may explain the confusion
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
78. Oh sure these guys are committing war crimes
these troops who committ these crimes will have to live with the images of innocent men, women and children being killed for nothing, yes, PTSD will be the number one symptom among others.
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peacetheonlyway Donating Member (948 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #78
95. most of them are teenagers with guns worse than killer bimbos
cheney is a teenager with a gun
bush is a teenager with a gun
our national guardsmen who were not trained for full on combat (possibly very very young) some are teenagers with guns....not all soldiers.. just some...

we are a nation run by teenagers with very big and very dangerous guns

it's almost worse than killer bimbos... "oh no, it's a bimbo with a gun" famous b-grade movie line!
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PublicRadioVet Donating Member (145 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #95
96. Actually, NG is specifically designed for combat
Which is why there are infantry and armor and artilley units in the NG.

It's the Reserve which is the "non-combat" support and auxiliary force.

And I'd trust an 18-year old NG troop with an M16A2 over Dick Cheney any day.

"Weapon up and down range!"
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
98. my opinion of this whole thread is
that the higher ups have a pay a hefty price for their actions, and of course, the soldiers will be nothing but the scapegoats. this war again is illegal, it was based on a lie of WMD's could someone please tell me what is the mission? and we won't leave until we win, win what????
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gulliver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-27-06 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
104. The normal distribution applies.
IMO, your argument is true, but its expression is inflammatory. What is needed is a balanced assessment of the predicament of our troops, the Iraqis, and ourselves. I think Murtha is as close to the bone as anyone.
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