DULCE ET DECORUM EST (It is sweet and right.) ~Wilfred Owen
Remembering the Context of War Crimes: The Crime of War Itself is a thoughtful opinion by Camillo “Mac” Bica, in Truthout.
I was particularly struck by his comment about military training: “Despite the moral depravity of their actions, these individuals were not born killers. Rather, they were created to do our bidding, first conscripted or lured into the military with promises of employment, a college education, or US citizenship, then subjected to sophisticated indoctrination techniques of values manipulation, moral desensitization, and psychological conditioning, aimed at destroying and overriding both their humanity and their moral aversion to killing.”
Recently, the media has drawn attention to deviant behavior by some soldiers and spurred conversations that really highlight Bica’s opening:
“One would think that, by now, America would have made the connection between war and atrocity. Or, are we too obsessed with our consumer-driven lifestyles, or too apathetic to even pay attention? Or perhaps we believe the military is a refuge for miscreants and deviants capable of unspeakable acts of cruelty and barbarism.”
A friend of mine, a combat soldier, said about it, “The problem is, the American people don’t know or want to know what really happens to us, our minds, during training.” I think that’s really sad and I hope most soldiers don’t think we feel that way.
The two links below are an account that follows the activities of men in Fort Carson’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment. More documents and court records than usual were made available for it because of the public outcry on behalf of these soldiers, many of whom are now dead, or in prison. It poses good questions about our training and our wars in general. It begins with the war in Iraq.
Casualties of War, by Dave Philipps
“He was really good. If I had 10 Eastridges, my job would be a lot easier,” said his platoon sergeant, Michael Cardenaz.”
Part I: The hell of war comes home
Part II: Warning signs