News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Forget About It, You Did Your Duty

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Forget About It, You Did Your Duty

It is going to be difficult for many of the men who have had to kill or be killed in Iraq. What was unique about Timothy McVeigh is that he was in many ways a perfect soldier. He could compartmentalize the killing he did. This is borne out by his lack of regret for the people he killed in Oklahoma City. They were just "collateral" damage. ...

Many soldiers can't do this. When the buddies are home with their families, all the parades are done, the medals are handed out, and everyone else is gone they then must face what they did or did not do--those feelings of hatred and fear that have been bottled up have to be dealt with in some way. Some will not make it. We have already seen some of this with the suicides that the military has tried to hush up. There are cases of alcoholism and drug abuse. As with many Viet Nam vets, Iraqi vets are now showing up homeless on US streets.

The war does not go away when the bullets stop flying. Listen to what John Murtha says about his Viet Nam experience: ""Let me tell you, war is a nasty business. It sears the soul," he said, choking up. "And it made a difference. The shadow of those killings stay with you the rest of your life." John Murtha told Nightline, as quoted at Reuters

For John McCain, this is Murtha being "too emotional." I guess McCain is more logical about killing others--but then he bombed people and never saw the devastation wrought by those bombs. Besides, for McCain Murtha is a small fish who doesn't get the "big picture" of why we're at war. No, Murtha only sees and thinks about the small fry, the ones whose blood vivifies the big picture show.

How long does this stuff stay with people? All their lives, as Murtha notes. I still remember a conversation I had with a WWII vet who'd survived the Bataan death march. As he recounted the story of his position being overrun by Japanese soldiers, he played out the way he killed one of them--holding the man's head in his hands he gouged his eyes out. As he told this story, he was there again; his hands and fingers squeezing the life from the man in front of me, 60 years later.

I know George Bush and Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney do not have these nightmares. I imagine they sleep tight at night, with dreams perhaps of their empire surviving its ups and downs.

I do not hold the soldiers accountable. If there's anyone responsible it's the men who have sent them into a war that serves no purpose but their personal egos and profane political agendas. I only hope their evil will be repaid in this life or perhaps a life in another world, another reality. For in this world, they will most likely live out their peaceful days surrounded by admirers and toadies who are quick to acknowledge the justice and righteousness of their evil acts.

1 comment:

Enemy of the Republic said...

There are people, and I have met them, who see him as a folk hero. Scary, huh. But he did represent a silent "minority".