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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
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature