Washington Babylon — March 6, 2009, 9:48 am

Reply on Iraq Video

Last week, I posted a video showing an American military officer trash-talking a group of Iraqi police. Here’s a reply from Tim Hanes, former Captain, U.S. Army:

No, this video “doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in the U.S.
mission.” But what is possibly even more troubling is that there are
probably tens of thousands of soldiers and former soldiers out there
who, like me, were silently cheering this guy on as they watched.

Make no mistake, I don’t think that this is the way we should be
training the Iraqi police. I don’t think this soldier’s tirade did
anything but exacerbate the feelings of ill will that have grown up
between the U.S. military and the Iraqi people. I don’t think this
rant helped anyone at all except, for a time perhaps, the ranter
himself. Still, as I listened with tears in my eyes, I silently
cheered him. I commended his foul-mouth, a mouth that so eloquently
gave voice to the feelings of thousands upon thousands of American
soldiers who go to places like Iraq – or in my case Afghanistan -
really wanting to serve, wanting to make things better, until at some
point they see the utter hopelessness of it all. We watch as weapons,
trucks, bullets, money, handed out to our “partners” in these
countries are turned back on us to kill, and maim, and disfigure a
whole generation of American men and women.

I think before any of us can judge this man or his actions or words,
they should try leaving their spouse and their children for the the
second or third time to go off for an indeterminate period to
participate in the death throes of a military campaign that they know
to have failed, and maybe to die there – or worse still, to be
entrusted with the care of 100 men and women and bring only 90 of them
home. Before we do that, we ought to just shut up and let the man
talk.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

March 2015

Invisible and Insidious

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Sage in Harlem

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Man Stopped

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Spy Who Fired Me

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Giving Up the Ghost

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

[Browsings]
William Powell published The Anarchist Cookbook in 1971. He spent the next four decades fighting to take it out of print.
“The book has hovered like an awkward question on the rim of my consciousness for years.”
© JP Laffont/Sygma/Corbis
Article
The Fourth Branch·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Both the United States and the Soviet Union saw student politics as a proxy battleground for their rivalry.”
Photograph © Gerald R. Brimacombe/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Article
Giving Up the Ghost·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Stories about past lives help explain this life — they promise a root structure beneath the inexplicable soil of what we see and live and know, what we offer one another.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
The Spy Who Fired Me·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In industry after industry, this data collection is part of an expensive, high-tech effort to squeeze every last drop of productivity from corporate workforces.”
Illustration by John Ritter
Article
Invisible and Insidious·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly.”
Photograph © 2011 Massimo Mastrorillo and Donald Weber/VII

Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:

Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.

An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Driving Mr. Albert

By

He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.

Subscribe Today