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

August 2014

The End of Retirement

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Octopus and Its Grandchildren

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Francis and the Nuns

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Return of the Strongman

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“From the nerd squabbles of Internet discussion threads rose an urban legend that culminated in a film that hinges on digging through my town’s trash.”
Illustration (detail) by Timothy Taranto
Article
Return of the Strongman·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If Tunisia is where the Arab Spring began, Egypt seems poised to become its burial ground.”
Photograph (detail) © Ahmed Ismail / Getty Images
Article
The Seductive Catastrophe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The world’s leaders were moved by a populace fused into a forward phalanx, were shaken by a tidal wave of militancy jubilantly united.”
Photograph courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library
Article
Me, Myself, and Id·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The one defining trait of the narcissist is that it’s always someone else.
Painting (detail) by Gianni Dagli Orti
Post
The Many Faces of Boko·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“People want education. Open a school and they will rush.”
Photograph © The author

Average number of sitcom laughs an American hears during a prime-time season:

12,000

Czech and German deer still do not cross the Iron Curtain.

British economists correlated the happiness of a country’s population with its genetic resemblance to Danes.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today