Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Who Are They?

[posted by Callimachus]

Reading the anti-Bush/anti-war blogs the past few weeks has given me headaches. Quite a few posts are up about the unfolding (and shameful, but historically typical) scandal over conditions at Walter Reed. In those stories, the U.S. soldiers who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan are noble heroes and brave volunteers who deserve better from us.

Interspersed among these are stories about fresh (alleged) atrocities and deliberate killing of civilians -- by the U.S. soldiers who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. In which cases they are, again, savage, cowardly monsters acting out their less-than-animal sadisms under cover of the evil military system.

At some point, you have to choose which you think it is. Or explain why it's different in one case than another. Or you can just go back into Stepford Liberal mode and reel off a string of "chickenhawk meme" taunts and "Rethug ReichWingNut" insults and say "Coulter" a lot and pay no attention to your own deep contradiction or to anything else that doesn't fit.

Who are they really? Well, when they're just toy soldiers for your ideological battlefields, they can be whatever you need them to be at the moment.

I like to hope only people who don't know anyone personally involved in it would behave that way. I think the best mantra I've seen to sum up the majority (but not all) of the people I know personally who have volunteered to go and do our work in Iraq and Afghanistan comes from a Capt. Lee Kelley:

I want to leave this place better than I found it. And I want to be a better person when I return than I was when I left.

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