reply to post by ADVISOR
Sorry Advisor, much as I respect many of your posts and of course your combat experience which I lack, I'd still beg to differ on some important
You say that "No professional soldier is going to willingly kill a non combatant". There's just too much history to disprove that. For example,
is a partial list of WWII atrocities.
one for the Iraq war. I don't know if you've ever read about the "rape of
Nanking", but the behaviour of the Japanese soldiers occupying the city revolted even the Nazi observers - you had Japanese officers competing to see
how many Chinese they could decapitate with their samurai swords. Here's
a source about that.
Now I'm British. Do I think that the Brits are superior in this respect? No. we're all human beings and malleable under the pressures of being in
an occupying army as this source
And of course, apart from Israel, the most egregious recent instances of atrocities committed by occupying troops are emerging from Iraq. This is
just from the first source I found
in a cursory search :
... I was in charge of a platoon that consists of machine gunners and missile men. Our job was to go into certain areas of the towns and secure
the roadways. There was this one particular incident - and there's many more - the one that really pushed me over the edge. It involved a car with
Iraqi civilians. From all the intelligence reports we were getting, the cars were loaded down with suicide bombs or material. That's the rhetoric we
received from intelligence. They came upon our checkpoint. We fired some warning shots. They didn't slow down. So we lit them up.
Q: Lit up? You mean you fired machine guns?
A: Right. Every car that we lit up we were expecting ammunition to go off. But we never heard any. Well, this particular vehicle we didn't destroy
completely, and one gentleman looked up at me and said: "Why did you kill my brother? We didn't do anything wrong." That hit me like a ton of
Q: The reports said the cars were loaded with explosives. In all the incidents did you find that to be the case?
A: Never. Not once. There were no secondary explosions. As a matter of fact, we lit up a rally after we heard a stray gunshot.
Q: A demonstration? Where?
A: On the outskirts of Baghdad. Near a military compound. There were demonstrators at the end of the street. They were young and they had no weapons.
And when we rolled onto the scene, there was already a tank that was parked on the side of the road. If the Iraqis wanted to do something, they could
have blown up the tank. But they didn't. They were only holding a demonstration. Down at the end of the road, we saw some RPGs (rocket-propelled
grenades) lined up against the wall. That put us at ease because we thought: "Wow, if they were going to blow us up, they would have done it."
Q: Were the protest signs in English or Arabic?
Q: Who gave the order to wipe the demonstrators out?
A: Higher command. We were told to be on the lookout for the civilians because a lot of the Fedayeen and the Republican Guards had tossed away
uniforms and put on civilian clothes and were mounting terrorist attacks on American soldiers. The intelligence reports that were given to us were
basically known by every member of the chain of command. The rank structure that was implemented in Iraq by the chain of command was evident to every
Marine in Iraq. The order to shoot the demonstrators, I believe, came from senior government officials, including intelligence communities within the
military and the U.S. government.
Q: What kind of firepower was employed?
A: M-16s, 50-cal. machine guns.
Q: You fired into six or ten kids? Were they all taken out?
A: Oh, yeah. Well, I had a "mercy" on one guy. When we rolled up, he was hiding behind a concrete pillar. I saw him and raised my weapon up, and he
put up his hands. He ran off. I told everybody, "Don't shoot." Half of his foot was trailing behind him. So he was running with half of his foot
That, as I say, is just one report. I wouldn't labour the point by quoting others, but there are plenty more. Let alone getting into the inhumanity
of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. This isn't about Iraq - it's just to illustrate that those kinds of incidents are far from uncommon with an army of
occupation. There are really good reasons, historically, why it's better to have police keeping the peace than soldiers: soldiers are trained to
kill, police are trained to keep the peace. Israel's occupying army have had carte blanche for a long time and as other posters have noted, without
the cameras it would probably have been a different story.
You also say : "The term enemy is an over used hollywood term. It is an ignorant mind set. Some thing that developed over generations, and will take
many more to correct. "
Again, sorry, but I'd disagree. I'm having difficulty finding sources for this, and it's already a long post, but one of the things that came up
in the kind of large-scale warfare that the 20th century ushered in is that, fundamentally, most people don't want to kill someone else. They have
to be trained to do it and one of the things that makes it easier is the process of dehumanizing the "enemy". Propaganda techniques to effect this
have been common since the beginning of the last century, if not before.
Now in your quote above, though it isn't clear, you might be simply referring to the generational enmity between the Palestinians and the Israelis:
but as I say, it's not clear - and referring to "the enemy" has been standard practice for a very long time indeed.
You also say, "Hate is ignorance, I never hated the insurgents. I sure as heck got really po'ed at them and wanted vengence, yes."
No doubt it's hard not to get po'ed at people who are trying to kill you. I'd suspect, though, that it's easy to forget that you were occupying
their country, and for them to want US forces a) to stop killing civilians and b) to simply leave is, for me at least, understandable.
One last point. I notice you're very patriotic. I do like my country - it's not perfect, but it's still kind of cool in my book - but patriotism
is something of which I'm VERY suspicious, and here's why. When I found out that Argentina had invaded the Falkland islands, I was quite literally
in a killing rage for about an hour. I'd quite happily have bayoneted an Argie if there had been one about.
After a while, though, I came to my senses and my first thought was, "er... where ARE the Falklands, exactly?" And the memory of that irrational
killing rage has stayed with me ever since. At the time I was pretty apolitical, didn't think of myself as a patriot, and had just graduated from a
fairly left-wing university (by US standards, it would be utterly communist, no doubt). The fact that such visceral rage could be provoked in me
scared me ****less, I can tell you - and it made me realise how much truth there is in the old saying "patriotism is the last refuge of the
scoundrel". Have you ever come across what Hermann Goering said at the Nuremberg trials?
"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after
all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy,
or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the
leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the
country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY."
Does this seem like what's happening in the US at all?
However, your quotation from Jefferson very much describes my kind of patriot.
But I guess my favourite quotation about patriotism has to be by Einstein :
"The flag is a symbol of the fact that man is still a herd animal."