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

October 2014

Cassandra Among the
Creeps

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Today Is Better Than Tomorrow”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

PBS Self-Destructs

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Monkey Did It

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
"In mid-August, hundreds of displaced Christians who had fled to Erbil were moved by Kurdish authorities into the concrete shell of a half-built mall. "
Photograph by Sebastian Meyer
Article
“Today Is Better Than Tomorrow”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Iraq has every disease there is; its mind is deranged with too many voices, its organs corrupted, its limbs only long enough to tear at its own body.”
Photograph by Benjamin Busch
Post
Flying Blind·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“President Obama’s war against the Islamic State will represent, by a rough count, the eighth time the U.S. air-power lobby has promised to crush a foe without setting boot or foot on the ground.”
Article
The Monkey Did It·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Murakami’s fiction, what presents itself as a key reveals itself simultaneously to be a keyhole.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
PBS Self-Destructs·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The present state of PBS, the result of built-in deficiencies and ideological conflicts, was almost an inevitability.”
Illustration by Thomas Allen

Estimated percentage of U.S. gasoline consumption that occurs during traffic jams:

4

In India, 1.8 million female children were estimated to have died between 1985 and 2005 as an indirect result of domestic violence against their mothers; the boys of abused mothers were not at increased risk of death.

Vanilla latte and lemon pound cake continued to be the best-selling items at the Starbucks at CIA headquarters, where baristas do not write customers’ names on their cups.

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