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Military opinions and war experience

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posted on May, 27 2005 @ 10:47 AM
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It has come to my attention that a large number of the people who support the war in Iraq and the global policies of Bush have not served during war time. Of course I am strictly referring to members of ATS. Cargo made this astute observation during a thread which turned into the usual mud slinging match.

It seems that those of us who have experienced war and all its repercussions are the ones against this fallacy of a war. The people who have served in the military but have not seen a single bit of action seem to support Bush and his plans with blind abandonment. What do we make of this?

I served during the Gulf War. Operation Desert Storm. I have seen things that still keep me awake at night. I have nightmares at least three times a week about the horrors I witnessed. I have seen thousands of bodies just floating in the gulf. I have seen things that WILL make a grown man whimper like a child. I have served a president I believed in, fought a war that I was not ready (maturity wise) to be in. I believed. So why is it that I and many others like me here at ATS are against this war and Bush’s international policies, yet the members of ATS who have served and not seen one day of war support this with a ‘patriotic fervor’?

I am attempting to delve deep here so lets keep this civil.




posted on May, 27 2005 @ 10:51 AM
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Originally posted by Kidfinger
I have seen thousands of bodies just floating in the gulf.


wats this about bodies floating in the gulf in 1991?



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 10:52 AM
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Published on Saturday, November 15, 2003 by Counterpunch
Hold On to Your Humanity: An Open Letter to GIs in Iraq
by Stan Goff
(US Army Retired)

Dear American serviceperson in Iraq,

I am a retired veteran of the army, and my own son is among you, a paratrooper like I was. The changes that are happening to every one of you--some more extreme than others--are changes I know very well. So I'm going to say some things to you straight up in the language to which you are accustomed.

In 1970, I was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, then based in northern Binh Dinh Province in what was then the Republic of Vietnam. When I went there, I had my head full of #: # from the news media, # from movies, # about what it supposedly mean to be a man, and # from a lot of my know-nothing neighbors who would tell you plenty about Vietnam even though they'd never been there, or to war at all.

The essence of all this # was that we had to "stay the course in Vietnam," and that we were on some mission to save good Vietnamese from bad Vietnamese, and to keep the bad Vietnamese from hitting beachheads outside of Oakland. We stayed the course until 58,000 Americans were dead and lots more maimed for life, and 3,000,000 Southeast Asians were dead. Ex-military people and even many on active duty played a big part in finally bringing that crime to a halt.

When I started hearing about weapons of mass destruction that threatened the United States from Iraq, a shattered country that had endured almost a decade of trench war followed by an invasion and twelve years of sanctions, my first question was how in the hell can anyone believe that this suffering country presents a threat to the United States? But then I remembered how many people had believed Vietnam threatened the United States. Including me.

When that bull# story about weapons came apart like a two-dollar shirt, the politicians who cooked up this war told everyone, including you, that you would be greeted like great liberators. They told us that we were in Vietnam to make sure everyone there could vote.

What they didn't tell me was that before I got there in 1970, the American armed forces had been burning villages, killing livestock, poisoning farmlands and forests, killing civilians for sport, bombing whole villages, and commiting rapes and massacres, and the people who were grieving and raging over that weren't in a position to figure out the difference between me--just in country--and the people who had done those things to them.

What they didn't tell you is that over a million and a half Iraqis died between 1991 and 2003 from malnutrition, medical neglect, and bad sanitation. Over half a million of those who died were the weakest: the children, especially very young children.

My son who is over there now has a baby. We visit with our grandson every chance we get. He is eleven months old now. Lots of you have children, so you know how easy it is to really love them, and love them so hard you just know your entire world would collapse if anything happened to them. Iraqis feel that way about their babies, too. And they are not going to forget that the United States government was largely responsible for the deaths of half a million kids.

So the lie that you would be welcomed as liberators was just that. A lie. A lie for people in the United States to get them to open their purse for this obscenity, and a lie for you to pump you up for a fight.

And when you put this into perspective, you know that if you were an Iraqi, you probably wouldn't be crazy about American soldiers taking over your towns and cities either. This is the tough reality I faced in Vietnam. I knew while I was there that if I were Vietnamese, I would have been one of the Vietcong.

But there we were, ordered into someone else's country, playing the role of occupier when we didn't know the people, their language, or their culture, with our head full of bull# our so-called leaders had told us during training and in preparation for deployment, and even when we got there. There we were, facing people we were ordered to dominate, but any one of whom might be pumping mortars at us or firing AKs at us later that night. The question we stated to ask is who put us in this position?

In our process of fighting to stay alive, and in their process of trying to expel an invader that violated their dignity, destroyed their property, and killed their innocents, we were faced off against each other by people who made these decisions in $5,000 suits, who laughed and slapped each other on the back in Washington DC with their fat #ing asses stuffed full of cordon blue and caviar.

They chumped us. Anyone can be chumped.

That's you now. Just fewer trees and less water.

We haven't figured out how to stop the pasty-faced, oil-hungry backslappers in DC yet, and it looks like you all might be stuck there for a little longer. So I want to tell you the rest of the story.

I changed over there in Vietnam and they were not nice changes either. I started getting pulled into something--something that craved other peole's pain. Just to make sure I wasn't regarded as a "#ing missionary" or a possible rat, I learned how to fit myself into that group that was untouchable, people too crazy to # with, people who desired the rush of omnipotence that comes with setting someone's house on fire just for the pure hell of it, or who could kill anyone, man, woman, or child, with hardly a second thought. People who had the power of life and death--because they could.

The anger helps. It's easy to hate everyone you can't trust because of your circumstances, and to rage about what you've seen, what has happened to you, and what you have done and can't take back.

It was all an act for me, a cover-up for deeper fears I couldn't name, and the reason I know that is that we had to dehumanize our victims before we did the things we did. We knew deep down that what we were doing was wrong. So they became dinks or gooks, just like Iraqis are now being transformed into ragheads or hajjis. People had to be reduced to "'n-word's" here before they could be lynched. No difference. We convinced ourselves we had to kill them to survive, even when that wasn't true, but something inside us told us that so long as they were human beings, with the same intrinsic value we had as human beings, we were not allowed to burn their homes and barns, kill their animals, and sometimes even kill them. So we used these words, these new names, to reduce them, to strip them of their essential humanity, and then we could do things like adjust artillery fire onto the cries of a baby.

Until that baby was silenced, though, and here's the important thing to understand, that baby never surrendered her humanity. I did. We did. That's the thing you might not get until it's too late. When you take away the humantiy of another, you kill your own humanity. You attack your own soul because it is standing in the way.

So we finish our tour, and go back to our families, who can see that even though we function, we are empty and incapable of truly connecting to people any more, and maybe we can go for months or even years before we fill that void where we surrendered our humanity, with chemical anesthetics--drugs, alcohol, until we realize that the void can never be filled and we shoot ourselves, or head off into the street where we can disappear with the flotsam of society, or we hurt others, esepcially those who try to love us, and end up as another incarceration statistic or a mental patient.

You can ever escape that you became a racist because you made the excuse that you needed that to survive, that you took things away from people that you can never give back, or that you killed a piece of yourself that you may never get back.

Some of us do. We get lucky and someone gives a damn enough to emotionally resuscitate us and bring us back to life. Many do not.

I live with the rage every day of my life, even when no one else sees it. You might hear it in my words. I hate being chumped.

So here is my message to you. You will do what you have to do to survive, however you define survival, while we do what we have to do to stop this thing. But don't surrender your humanity. Not to fit in. Not to prove yourself. Not for an adrenaline rush. Not to lash out when you are angry and frustrated. Not for some ticket-punching #ing military careerist to make his bones on. Especially not for the Bush-Cheney Gas & Oil Consortium.

The big bosses are trying to gain control of the world's energy supplies to twist the arms of future economic competitors. That's what's going on, and you need to understand it, then do what you need to do to hold on to your humanity. The system does that; tells you you are some kind of hero action figures, but uses you as gunmen. They chump you.

Your so-called civilian leadership sees you as an expendable commodity. They don't care about your nightmares, about the DU that you are breathing, about the lonliness, the doubts, the pain, or about how you humanity is stripped away a piece at a time. They will cut your benefits, deny your illnesses, and hide your wounded and dead from the public. They already are.

They don't care. So you have to. And to preserve your own humanity, you must recognize the humanity of the people whose nation you now occupy and know that both you and they are victims of the filthy rich bastards who are calling the shots.

They are your enemies--The Suits--and they are the enemies of peace, and the enemies of your families, especially if they are Black families, or immigrant families, or poor families. They are thieves and bullies who take and never give, and they say they will "never run" in Iraq, but you and I know that they will never have to run, because they #ing aren't there. You are

They'll skin and grin while they are getting what they want from you, and throw you away like a used condom when they are done. Ask the vets who are having their benefits slashed out from under them now. Bushfeld and their cronies are parasites, and they are the sole beneficiaries of the chaos you are learning to live in. They get the money. You get the prosthetic devices, the nightmares, and the mysterious illnesses.

So if your rage needs a target, there they are, responsible for your being there, and responsible for keeping you there. I can't tell you to disobey. That would probably run me afoul of the law. That will be a decision you will have to take when and if the circumstances and your own conscience dictate. But it perfeclty legal for you to refuse illegal orders, and orders to abuse or attack civilians are illegal. Ordering you to keep silent about these crimes is also illegal.

I can tell you, without fear of legal consequence, that you are never under any obligation to hate Iraqis, you are never under any obligation to give yourself over to racism and nihilism and the thirst to kill for the sake of killing, and you are never under any obligation to let them drive out the last vestiges of your capacity to see and tell the truth to yourself and to the world. You do not owe them your souls.

Come home safe, and come home sane. The people who love you and who have loved you all your lives are waiting here, and we want you to come back and be able to look us in the face. Don't leave your souls in the dust there like another corpse.

Hold on to your humanity.

Stan Goff

US Army (Ret.)

Stan Goff is the author of "Hideous Dream: A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti" (Soft Skull Press, 2000) and of the upcoming book "Full Spectrum Disorder : The Military in the New American Century" (Soft Skull Press, 2003). He is a member of the BRING THEM HOME NOW! coordinating committee, a retired Special Forces master sergeant, and the father of an active duty soldier. Email for BRING THEM HOME NOW! is bthn@mfso.org.

Goff can be reached at: sherrynstan@igc.org



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 10:53 AM
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Originally posted by deltaboy


wats this about bodies floating in the gulf in 1991?


I probably shouldnt go to much into detail here. I will say this about it though. As far as you could see, there were bodies.



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:00 AM
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The ATSer Gradyphilpott is a Vietnam vet, and so are a few others here, and they are for war. You tell me why.



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:01 AM
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Want a real war experience?

Here you go, click this and enjoy!


EDIT: Adding a Mod WARNING here too, for graphic vids

[edit on 7-6-2005 by Gazrok]



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:06 AM
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Originally posted by PepeLapiu1
Want a real war experience?

Here you go, click this and enjoy!



You should put a warning next to that link Pepe. War is ugly. There is no doubt about it.


Alita.

Remeber back about a year or so ago? Remeber the knock down drag outs we had over my uninformed veiws? Have things changed or what?

As far as Mr Phillpot goes, I have nothing but respect for the man. His opinions I may not always agree with, but he is very intelligent and as far as I have seen, he refrains from the usual mud slinging and sticks to the facts. Why he supports the war after serving in a war is up for speculation. I truly do not know what his motives are, but I would love for him to make an appearance so we could all learn something.



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:07 AM
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i respect other peoples opinions about war veterans who saw war are now against all wars. wen young men or women go in proud and thinking the job is fun or patriotic. but wen u fight a war and lose friends or even a brother or sister u start thinking about the justification of this war or that war. thats understandable. sometimes u have to fight a war and deal with it. the only reason we seem to be mad about America and link it to Vietnam because we lost that war. the solidiers have committed atrocities in all of America's war since the American Revolution but we seem to talk about Vietnam. how about the Korean War or WW2 or WW1? atrocities are committed there but we dont talk much about it. there are still soldiers who were proud to serve their country and even support the war they fought for or even after they left service they support the war that was fought in the future. everybody even soldiers hates wars but they do what they can to protect and serve the nation.



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:16 AM
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Originally posted by deltaboy
everybody even soldiers hates wars but they do what they can to protect and serve the nation.

Oh that sounds so Patriotic!
Only, might you share with us how our soldiers are "protecting and serving the nation" in Iraq?
Say, found any WMDs yet?



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:18 AM
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Originally posted by PepeLapiu1

Originally posted by deltaboy
everybody even soldiers hates wars but they do what they can to protect and serve the nation.

Oh that sounds so Patriotic!
Only, might you share with us how our soldiers are "protecting and serving the nation" in Iraq?
Say, found any WMDs yet?


well gee killing terrorists, promoting democracy i could go on. in any case u can talk to the soldiers and ask if they felt they are doing the right thing.



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:27 AM
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a large number of the people who support the war in Iraq and the global policies of Bush have not served during war time.

I think it is because there might be more anti-bush than pro-bush people on ATS or something like that. More libs than cons....whatever.
Which if that is the case then there would obviously be more war vets in the largest group than in the smallest group. Simply put it all comes down to percantages of each group.
Man Im even confusing myself here...nevermind



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:31 AM
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Pepi, Im on your side about this so dont take this the wrong way.

I am attempting to understand the mindset of some of our more vocal members who support this war. We will not get anywhere in this discussion with sarcasm. As much as I would like to use it, I dont want that on this thread.

BTW, asking questions they cant answer does a better job than sarcasm



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by SportyMB

Simply put it all comes down to percantages of each group.




I know this is a fairly Liberal board. That is not in question. Why do you think these people support the war without ever having been in one?



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:40 AM
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The point is that the most prominent warmongering servicemen here on this forum are the ones who likely never saw combat. The only one I can think of who did is Grady, and I invite him to be part of this discussion.

But here we have Kidfinger and EastcoastKid, both Gulf War 1 Vets who are vehemently opposed to the current war in Iraq. This fascinates me. And this makes their opinion even more valid. They've been there and done it. Everyone else here is just posturing.



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by cargo


But here we have Kidfinger and EastcoastKid, both Gulf War 1 Vets who are vehemently opposed to the current war in Iraq. This fascinates me. And this makes their opinion even more valid. They've been there and done it. Everyone else here is just posturing.


Cargo, Im sure I can speak for ECK as well as myself when I say thank you for your show of support. The facination I have lies within the invisible hypocracy that the uninitiated servicemen/women are adhearing to for the most part on this baord. It is like they cant even understand why they feel they way they do. When you attempt to get some kind of intellegent answer, you instead get Saddam Hussien being balmed for the USS Cole incident and 9-11.



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by Kidfinger
BTW, asking questions they cant answer does a better job than sarcasm


Asking questions they can't answer is exactly what I attempted to do.
You may think it's sarcasm from your stand point but they remain important questions, never the less!

I agree that some anger does sweat through my writings and I can be a bit abrasive at times.
Political correctness and propaganda is the game of the mass media, I play with a different set of rules.

The holding up the signs in protest will no longer work my friend, we have to start getting nasty and get the revolution started!



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:48 AM
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Originally posted by PepeLapiu1

I agree that some anger does sweat through my writings and I can be a bit abrasive at times.
Political correctness and propaganda is the game of the mass media, I play with a different set of rules.



Pepi my friend, I applaud your tenaciousness.



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:50 AM
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Originally posted by cargo
But here we have Kidfinger and EastcoastKid, both Gulf War 1 Vets who are vehemently opposed to the current war in Iraq.

Say Kidfinger and EastcoastKid!

Over 67% of Gulf war vets who had children AFTER the war and after their exposure to DU got kids with physical deformations and several other health problems with their children.

Do you two have any experiences like that or do you have any friends who experienced these problems?



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:58 AM
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One of the most prevalent problems that I have noticed on ATS, when referring to the Iraqi War, is that too many people are unable to separate the difference between warfare in general and the politics of international warfare.

The video clip that was posted in this forum, to me, is a perfect example of this. The poster of that video clip (which has been around for a year now and has been the subject of numberous past debates) is attempting to influence the readers regarding the morality or rightness of the war itself, by using the images of the brutality of war and their end results.

To me, they are too different things. What I believe that many people don't understand (and that most military people and vets do understand) is that armed warfare is never clean, fair, proper, civil, and/or moral. Lets face it, we are training and equipping our military to efficiently and quickly kill as many of our enemies until they capitulate to our will. Warfare is ugly, cruel, inhumane, and mostly immoral in nature. If people do not want to see civilian deaths and wounded combatants killed on color TV, then they had better impress upon the elected government that feeling. For once the military has been unleashed, gore and horror are to be expected. As Marc Antony said, "Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war".

I think that is why we place such great value and respect on those individuals who willingly do these things, when needed, and accept this unbearable burden, which continues long after the warfare has ceased.

If people feel they must criticize the war, its origins, and its supporters....thats fine. I just wish they could do so without dengrating the troops who are carrying out this most unpleasant duty, no matter what the fashion they are doing it in. Saying that the war is "wrong" and then posting a video clip of an wounded enemy being shot to death is not a moral arguement against the war, because these events are typical of ground warfare, especially against an unknown enemy that wears no uniform and conforms to no tenets of honor or chivalry.

I do not beleive that the majority of combat veterans on this board are firmly against the war. I think this is partly because servicement feel an inherrent loyalty and brotherhood with other servicement, even ones they do not know, because they share commons bonds of duty and/or suffering. And because too many people in the public sector are quick to condemn the actions of these servicement, who are in the most despicable, inhospitable of places, where it is either kill or be killed, I think these same servicement reflexivley gravitate to the sive of pro-war, in order to support their mates.

Perhaps if a survey was taken and the reults proved otherwise, I would be convinced to change my mind.

However, if more people could be prevailed upon to simply discuss the political, moral, and social merits of the war itself, and not actions of the poor schlubs who must actually fight it for the politicians, then maybe you might be able to see more military people who are actually anti-war.



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 11:58 AM
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Originally posted by PepeLapiu1


Over 67% of Gulf war vets who had children AFTER the war and after their exposure to DU got kids with physical deformations and several other health problems with their children.

Do you two have any experiences like that or do you have any friends who experienced these problems?


I cant speak for ECK on this, but I have a 6 year old daughter who is better health than I am! The only problems we have with her is she eats like a bird.

As for myself, I had about 3 years of getting very sick after the war. Over time it lessened and eventually stopped. Fro some reason, I dont get sick anymore. Before I went to war, you could count on me getting strep throat every november. I havent had it since 98. I dont hardly get colds or anything of the nature.

I know you are alluding to the GWS, and I have my thoughts on that as well. When we left on deployment, we were given a coctail of shots and were told they were for our immune system and also to help combat any CBR attacks that may be used agianst us. Within minutes of recieving the concoction, many personell fell extremely ill. Two had to be airlifted to a base hospital. IMO, that is where GWS originated from.






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