Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Imposing civilian actions on Marines during war

I try not to talk about battle often. My husband has completed his term of service in the Army and his reserve duty in the National Guard and elected not to re-enlist. This was a difficult decision for him because he trained for years of his life to go and fight in a war in Iraq. Now that there is a war going on, he’s not in it. I am incapable of explaining his feelings, but say you spent years of your life studying and preparing to do a certain career, and never used your degrees. It is somewhat like that.

Recently, there has been a video tape released of a Marine shooting an Iraqi in a mosque. This Iraqi was wounded, and appearing to be faking death. The ACLU and others have been calling for the court marshal of this young man. A court marshal would be a mistake.

Here in the United States, very few living men, relatively speaking, have served in the armed forces. Even though many were drafted and killed in Vietnam, it is not a significant percentage of the young men of the time. Furthermore, we now have an all volunteer military. The time and situation is quite different then it was in the Vietnam War era.

War is different then walking down the street in your neighborhood. Here in the US, we do not go into a house of worship and start shooting. The war is not here; and actions mentioned above would be grave crimes, punishable by death in some instances. In war, a fighting person has one objective: complete the mission successfully, hopefully with your life and limbs intact. The mission of the Marine mentioned above was this: get rid of the insurgents in Fallujah. One of the difficulties in fighting in an Arab country is that members of various factions are neither uniformed troops, nor do they play by the rules of conventional warfare. There is a widely accepted practice among these factions to booby trap themselves before death to take as many people with them as possible. The wounded still fight back.

We do not know all of the thoughts behind this Marine’s choice. We only see through the television screen what the cameraman chose to show and what the news networks choose to edit. This Marine was making a life and death decision. He has had extensive training, and was following the procedures dictated in training. Those of us who have never served in the armed forces can ever judge his actions.

When we civilians wake up each day, none of our choices have immediate life and death consequences. When a member of the armed forces wakes up, most of the choices they will make each day are life and death choices. Furthermore, very few of our choices involve the life of others dependent on us. Sure, we feed and take care of our young and infirm, but a reasonable, law abiding citizen is unlikely to die because someone screwed up and didn’t do their job correctly. A member of the armed forces depends on each member of their company to perform their assigned job correctly, efficiently, and on time. Members of the armed forces are trained to make these decisions and make them quickly and correctly.

As most of the general population has never been in a war situation; we as civilians should not judge this young man. Nor should we shun him from our society. It is time to put the evil murderous soldier stereotype to death. The Vietnam Vets were not cold blooded killers of the innocents; and neither are the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you want to see cold blooded killers of the innocents, go to your local prison.

Which reminds me, why is it that our fighting men and women are cold blooded murderers of the innocent when those who REALLY murder innocents in cold blood are glorified in rap music and by our culture as a whole? The ironic thing that will be a topic later is we educate cold blooded murderers for free, but still expect our fighting men and women to pay part of their tuition.


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