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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Friday, February 04, 2005

Devolution

posted by Jazz at 2/04/2005 11:10:00 AM

NOTE: YOU ARE VIEWING AN ARCHIVED POST AT RUNNING SCARED'S OLD BLOG. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW BLOG HERE.

There's a good chance that you already heard about the comments made by marine General James Mattis the other day. What's far more disturbing is the reaction this is getting from the war supporters around Blogistan and what it says about the path our society is taking. First the quotes.
"Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. . . . It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling... You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
Now, the Marines have already reprimanded him for this. (See the linked article above.) Also, I don't like to be quick to judge hasty statements from men in combat. Particularly in the Marines you will find, by force of circumstances, and exaggerated amount of bravado and bluster which is really required to keep the mental edge needed in combat. People will say and do things in a battle situation that would probably never occur to them back home.

Also, I would say that this is hardly representative of our fighting forces by and large. We've seen numerous interviews with soldiers who have talked about how awful it is to have to take human life, but they do it because it's "for the right cause." Furthermore, we're already seeing soldiers coming home from the war traumatized by the taking of human life and seeking medical help for it or, even worse, wandering the streets with mental problems.

What is truly frightening is when regular civilians from all sectors of life start embracing these types of ideas simply to make sure they look "patriotic" and are in full support of Bush's war agenda. The right side, war hawk bloggers were largely silent on this story, as I expected, but there were a couple of disturbing exceptions. (File this under the "Why you need to be reading right wing blogs" folder.) The first one I found was from Betsy Newmark. She first trivializes any criticism of this incident by calling it a "brouhaha" and then offers these alarming thoughts.
I think the great, great majority of the American people are going Yee-haw! That's what we like in our fighting men. And these people we're fighting are evil. In Iraq they send a Down's Syndrome child to kill people trying to vote. If the Marines bring themselves to the point that they enjoy killing such vermin, I don't mind at all and I bet most people don't mind. It's nice to know that there ares [sic] some military out there who aren't overcome by political correctness.

I think it's the same attitude that the great majority of people have towards the supposed torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. That's why the American people aren't going to get whipped up about some memo that Albert Gonzales wrote concerning torture.
"Yee-haw"
"killing such vermin"

"supposed torture"


Now keep in mind, these are published words coming from a woman who is a school teacher. That's right. A lady who is responsible for educating the next generation of young minds is yelling "Yeehaw" over the phrase "It's fun to shoot some people." And to boot, she's convinced herself that the "great great majority" of Americans feel that way too. Her tacit endorsement of torture, doubtless justified on the basis that all of those turban wearing people are "islamofascists" (the new GOP buzzword for brown skinned people who don't love Jesus) is also something she seems to believe the whole nation endorses.

Another example was found with the kids from the Corner.

Now with all the usual caveats aside, I just think it's great that we've got military leaders who want to kill the right people. That's what we have military's for. Or at least it's one of the reasons. That doesn't mean he shouldn't play by the right rules and keep political and strategic objectives in mind. But by all accounts he did that. And at the end of the day we have a military to kill the bad guys.

Besides if you want to see what a real bloodthirsty speech by an American general is like I refer you -- once again -- to Patton's humdinger. [Note: Much profanity]

(* More on Patton below)

If this doesn't frighten the living hell out of you, it should. In their rush to support anything that the Bush administration does, and anything that happens in Iraq, the war hawks are slowly devolving and desensitizing themselves to the point that we'll eventually become the same as the people we are supposedly fighting to stop.

Killing happens in war. It's particularly tragic when it happens in an ill conceived and effectively illegal war like this. But it does happen. That is never, ever a cause for celebration or whooping it up, though. This is what the "value voters" are serving up these days, folks. Welcome to Bush 43 part 2. And God bless America, eh?

UPDATE: Check out more devolution with Young Republicans at Jesuit University with their "adopt a sniper" program. (Hat tip to Demagogue)

* A few thoughts on Patton.

The Corner Kids make a very inopportune and inappropriate choice to try to invoke General George S. Patton in drawing comparisons to this situation. My dad fought with Patton's 3rd army all the way across Europe, and he was proud of that until the day he died. Patton was one of his heroes, and he imparted that into me. I've always admired Patton, and researched him quite a bit.

Patton was known as "Old Blood and Guts" and he certainly tried to live up to that reputation. It was hyped beyond all belief in the media, and a number of quotes were attributed to him which were either never said, misquoted, or taken out of context. He was a coarse man with no hesitation about killing the enemy when sent into battle, of course. Somewhat famously, Gen. Omar Bradley was quoted as once saying to him, "That's the difference between you and me, George. I do this job because it's my duty. You do it because you love it."

In some of his private letters home, published posthumously, Patton explained that conversation and provided the correct quotes in his response. Effectively, he admitted that he did love battle, but from a philosophical sense. He loved victory. He loved winning the fight against the enemy. He loved coming up with better strategy and training his troops better to achieve the goals set for him by the nation. He did not, however, take any pleasure in the actual killing of other human beings, and often referred to lopsided victories as, "... a God damned waste of fine infantry." (Speaking of the enemy dead.)

This should not be confused with the recent statements referenced in this article.