One Veteran's Voice

22 January 2006

USA LOVES IRAQ




villagevoice.com

17 Other Voices:

13 fox said...

ha, wonderful. I loved John Stewarts input on bush's answer to the question of how many Iraqi's (insurgents, civilians, translators, etc) have been killed. " He used the same inflection that one would use to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar."

1/22/2006 03:18:58 PM  
Joe Visionary said...

OVV,

Can you estimate what percentage of those serving in Iraq would find this cartoon funny? Would the division be similar to that between Republicans and Democrats? Or does sitting in a war zone bring some to reality?

I've always assumed that when bullets are fanning one's ass, there comes a moment where a person might ask 'Now exactly why am I here?' In doing so, they may (re)consider the infallibility of the chief decision-makers wisdom, and find it wanting.

Does this actually happen, or is the threat not enough and they need to be genuinely traumatized (ie maimed) before they think otherwise? Or am I dreaming in Technicolor altogether?

1/23/2006 07:36:08 AM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

I don't neccesarily find it extremely funny; it's true though

I can't speak for all the troops, just myself-- but I know there are some Iraq vets and possibly a few current soldiers who read this blog, and they can comment for themselves if they want.

I believe 13 Fox is an Iraq vet, but I an not positive.

A lot of guys see the irony in our current strategy of helping/killing them there so we don't have to help/kill them here.

1/23/2006 09:22:14 AM  
TBone65 said...

"I've always assumed that when bullets are fanning one's ass, there comes a moment where a person might ask 'Now exactly why am I here?' In doing so, they may (re)consider the infallibility of the chief decision-makers wisdom, and find it wanting.

Or maybe they realize they really joined the Army to kill people and blow shit up...not to get money for college; then they do what they have to do to complete the mission and come home alive. A soldier joins for whatever reason, but ultimately has to do what he is told. That's the way it works in the military...we are supposed to be apolitical. Some guys may be totally naive or extremely gullible to not know they are actually in the fucking Army, and realize the Army goes to combat. I suppose those guys might doubt the politics, and that's cool; but you better have your head in the game when it's crunch time or you'll take your politics to the grave with you.

Perhaps one's political realization changes a bit after he has been in combat...I don't know. My personal politics didn't change, but I do look at war differently. I definitely don't like war for the sake of war...it's dangerous and shit. But sometimes it is necessary and that's why I personally find the cartoon distasteful. It exaggerates the reality of what's going on. The first frame for example...how does one country overthrow a tyranical dictator (who has a sizeable Army) without force? Suppose we could have talked him out of power? No, we had to destroy his Army. Unfortunately, that takes some bombs.

Politics doesn't play a part in the game of survival in combat; it makes it more difficult. We do what we are told to do, and hopefully we do it well. My job is to make sure my guys and I come home alive. When the day is over...we come home, drink a beer, and write a blog that ultimately won't mean jack shit (whether we want it to or not).

1/23/2006 11:33:55 AM  
dannyinwisconsin said...

Lovely state of affairs.
Has to end sooner or later.
I'm pessimistic as to whether most people will be any better off. Except Halliburton and those folks, of course...
Just fuckin grand, eh?
D.

1/23/2006 11:37:57 AM  
13 fox said...

Yes , I'm a vet and I was in Iraq.Politics didn't matter much there to most soldiers. I voted for the first time in my life while i was there because it really..really hit me that if more people got off their asses and cast their ballot in 2000, we wouldn't be in this shitheap of forcing "freedom" on another civilization. I'm a liberal of sorts who believes in killing a motherfucker if they try to take me out. Those were the politics i religiously followed while on the ground; the only politics that mattered.

1/23/2006 11:46:13 AM  
The Statistics said...

Just to throw in another veteran opinion, I thought the cartoon was hilarious. What else is comedy but to take something that is socially taboo, exaggerate it and throw it in our faces? It is also depressingly close to the truth however.

Most soldiers don’t understand that when they join the service they sacrifice the control of their personal ethics and politics to become a warrior for our democracy. I talk shit on the war and American policy plenty in the service but, like T-Bone stated, when we roll out the gate we put on our game face and get the job done. I try to change peoples minds so that the public can make a more informed decision. Ultimately, I do what I am commanded to do and don’t think about it to much while in sector.

There is only one thing going through my mind while in combat and that is to live. Usually that entails killing the other guy before he kills you or your buddies. Training and natural instincts kick in and you somehow control your sense to run and hide. Fear trips in the fight or flight is checked by sheer will.

All the “whys” come far later. Even immediately after firefight there is a long period of “I should have done this.” And “What if this happened?” and “I will do this next time.” The “Why?” didn’t really set in until I came home and realized shit wasn’t sitting right in my head about what I did and how. Not until I really started missing my friends and visited the guys in Walter Reed.

There is something about the extreme comedy that helps pierce the dull shell around us that prevents our desensitized minds to truly grasp how fucked up a situation is.

In Iraq I was one cynical bastard. I think comedy is also a way to digest some awful shit without losing it on the spot.

So thanks for sharing,

The Heretic

1/23/2006 12:56:56 PM  
Joe Visionary said...

Interesting. The answer would seem to be No, being in a war isn't enough to make one reconsider the underlying reasons for having that war.

Perhaps that only happens to those who have been completely stopped by (an) injury, and are left hospitalized to reflect on situations... perhaps this question should go to disabled vets...

Thank you for your patience. I'll have to ask further.

1/23/2006 01:13:17 PM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

Some people join the army so they can go to college, I left college to join the army. I was a wartime (post sept 11) enlistee. Why did I join? Some vague notions of service, sure-- but more than that, my decision was motivated by a need for adventure, to test myself, to participate in great events, whatever. Does it seem naive now-- yep. Tbone is right-- when you're in a state of constant threat and conflict, politics is not what is on your mind. Your mortal enemies are your mortal enemies. They are trying to kill you, you are trying not to get killed, which often involves trying to kill them. Anyone who enlists now has to know that they will probably get sent to Iraq-- kids aren't stupid. The army is having a hard time recruiting bright young kids-- it seems like the youth have already collectively voiced their opinion of the morality of this war. Or maybe they're all just spoiled chickenshit brats, I don't know. I feel like the war would end pretty quick if the draft were to be brought back. Americans are so zonked from TV, budweiser, and burgers that it's hard to get them riled up enough to give a shit about anything other than their next paycheck. In that regard, the cartoon is right on the money in its ironic depiction of the war effort at home.

1/23/2006 03:18:06 PM  
Elmo said...

TBone65, you sound like few of the grunts I served with. When the "yo mama" jokes stated flying they would quickly pronounce that "no one better talk about my mama!" After which they would get bombarded with mama jokes till they left the unit.

1/23/2006 04:52:03 PM  
One Salient Oversight said...

I agree with TBone - how can you get rid of a tyrannical dictator without the use of force?

However, I will point out that I don't think Saddam was worth the effort. He wasn't a threat to the US or to the West, and the people of Iraq would have been far better off under his rule than under the current occupation.

Sure, the Iraqis wouldn't have freedom under Saddam, but they don't have freedom now. The had elections in Soviet Russia after all...

1/23/2006 06:59:21 PM  
TBone65 said...

Elmo,

Get off my mama...I just got off yours...hehe

I don't mind yo-mama jokes You can call me a fag too...just be sensitive when you do it ;)

Cheers,
TBone

1/24/2006 01:38:11 AM  
Elmo said...

LOL!

1/24/2006 11:27:56 AM  
13 fox said...

I have to disagree with One Salient Oversight. I think the Iraqis "will" be better off a few years from now if we can give a certain amount of legitimacy and work closer with the insurgency against al qeda.From what I understand, this process has already started. After talking to many Shia, Kurds and a few Sunni and learning how horrible the sanctions were from them, how they were suffocated by them, and if it wasn't the sanctions, it was saddam and his human meat-grinders in the Euphrates.

I'm very ambivalent when it comes to the war. We've handled it like a blind man on a golf course, but, speaking for the Iraqis I was around, we've given them hope that wasn't possible before the invasion. I think "victory" (or shrub's grand notion of it) rests on our willingness to cease being so stubborn and imperialistic about our presence, start adhering to Iraqis wishes when it comes to us violating their lives (i.e. indiscriminent raids), and most importantly, the Iraqis willingness to unify against foriegn fighters and participate in their new government. A majority of them lloked at the war with the insurgency and the terrorists as a topic that was none of their business. This is the residual effects of saddam's abusive rule.

1/24/2006 03:37:11 PM  
american short-timer said...

Hey Joe,

What's the color of gravity? Red or blue? Republocrat or demican? Is gravity good or bad? That's how I think of war. War is a force of nature. And somehow, through some throw of cosmic destiny, Americans seem to believe that riding this force of nature, I mean, pursuing warfare, is the manner through which we can affirm our political and economic objectives, righteously. Worse still... painlessly and without consequence. Wow... I mean, talk about your infantile reductionisms.

Forget about Hitler and shit, but if that isn't the biggest turd of fascist lard, I don't know what is dude. And then to scream and holler about freedom and democracy and shit.... seriously.... gimme a fucking BREAK. From where I'm sitting America is plunging headfirst into a totalitarian militarist nightmare and seems virtually heedless of the consequences. And forget about these fucking goatherders. These people are just sad. SAD. How is that the most POWERFUL military force on the planet, the world's largest economy, a country of 300 million, geographically isolated by ten thousand miles of water and all that shit, perceives a THREAT from these sad, sad, saaaaaaaaaad, sand people? I still don't get it.

Now, AAAAAAAAAlllllllllll of that said, none of that has ANYTHING remotely to do with being a soldier. Nothing. None of it. War is a force of nature. I wanted to experience that force of nature. Regardless of the politics that stirred this particular shitstorm. War is a force of nature. I thought, it's like a bull. Or a tornado. A hurricane. It's a test. A proof. A trial. A rite. But it's all bullshit. You don't have control. You don't ride the storm. The storm smacks you around. And if you're lucky, you come out of it okay. Maybe a little bit dinged. Maybe you're smart and quick on your feet enough to figure out some tricks to ride the shit out. Maybe. But mostly, it's just.... war is a force of nature. You might be spared. You might not. And then there's a lot more to ponder. And a lot more after that. But soon as that fucking twister sucks you back up, you're not pondering shit. You just pucker up and hope you don't get fucked up too badly. Is that republocrat or demican? Good or bad? Christian or Muslim? Beats the shit out of me. What I learned is, when that twister comes rolling into town, be elsewhere. And pitty the ones who have to endure the storm. I pity people who believe the motherfucker who claims he can build a better town by throwing a hurricane at it.

1/24/2006 03:47:40 PM  
TBone65 said...

AST,

Well said.

1/25/2006 01:25:26 AM  
13 fox said...

I pity people who give up too easily. This isn't Vietnam, so cool your 'O'Toole' jets AST and stop pretending.I'm not persuaded by extreme leftist sentiment anymore than i am by the neo-con's slam dunks. your argument is well put to some extent, and i'm not saying war is/was the ultimate solution for Iraq. The only reason I have currently have hope is because the Iraqis obviously have determination in going forward with this crude form of democracy. I'm not jaded enough to see this as a complete failure or hope it turns out to be one, just to prove a point that supports my views. I befriended said "sand people" who would rather deal with our mistakes and aggression than saddam's.Their opinion on this matter holds more weight than some disgruntled vet who, according to his logic, thinks Germany would be better off today if we hadn't invaded it.

1/26/2006 05:15:09 PM  

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