Monday, March 15, 2010

Of Mice and Men

Or, why I stopped listening to Hollywood.
I have been reading a lot of blogs covering the The Pacific, specifically the comments be Tom Hanks.

I served in GTMO and Iraq. I do not hate anyone based on race or religion and I never committed war crimes. I am wholly proud of how I carried Old Glory while liberating oppressed people.

I think that when civilians read a GI notes and journals they do not understand the situation in which those thoughts and emotions are coming from, so when they see negative comments about someone’s heritage they do not understand that those opinions are focused on individuals or a small group of people.

Now, let me be clear. I hated the enemy. I wanted to not only kill them, but to destroy them in such a way that their buddy would not want to fight anymore.
But, who were the enemy?

The enemy was most often a faceless specter, whom I could not come into contact with, because he is a coward, (guerilla warfare is a tactic, blowing up people indiscriminately to incite terror is not).

When I could make contact with the enemy he was a person that was a threat to my buddies, the people of Iraq, or me. Our ROE (rules of engagement) did not make all people with a gun an enemy combatant.

There’s that title: enemy combatant, which means that even when I have met the enemy and defeated him, he is no longer the enemy as a combatant.

As an American soldier I had the duty to preserve life. Yes, that includes taking lives at times, but with extreme discretion. (hint: that is why we regret accidents that occur on the battlefield.)

It is hard to take a life, it is a conscious decision, even in combat.
Especially when you are raised in a culture that celebrates it.

This is why throughout modern history the US GI has had so little respect for his enemy. Most often the US has been called to protect those that are helpless. It is illustrated across Europe, Africa, Asia, and other smaller regions.

I am sorry that actors are not capable of looking at people as individuals and are forced to make generalizations, but the American soldier has always had to look at individuals and assess them as friendly or hostile.

I have met people who would like nothing more than to cut off my head, but I have also had tea with families trapped in a warzone.

If I learned two things in the military it is these:

  1. People are the same wherever you go.
  2. Always conduct yourself with Honor and Integrity, because at the end of the day you gotta be right with the person in the mirror…

And you cannot lie to yourself.

Regulars by God,

Deeds Not Words.

1 comment:

  1. I popped over here from another blog - I think it was Miserable Donuts where you had posted a comment quite some time ago (could be a couple years).

    This was a fine post, and am wondering what happened... i.e. hope that you are safe and sound somewhere.


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