Conduct Unbecoming

Glenn Greenwald has an odd exchange with an Army Colonel.

There's a lot of evidence that the Army is politicized: after all, the senior officers are in the tank for GWB or they are forced out. The junior officers are leaving in droves as a result. The enlisted appear divided, with a very substantial group at least unhappy about the war with no end in sight.

This isn't good, but I wonder how different it really is from Vietnam. You know, that conflict from which the Colin Powell's Army said it learned so many lessons. Before it forgot them.

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5 Responses to Conduct Unbecoming

  1. Travis says:

    Which junior enlisted do you speak of? I happen to be an Army Sergeant only four days out of Iraq myself. What I have seen in my nearly three years in that country is growing outrage with the US media portraying us as murderers and the support for our mission waining stateside. We Soldiers, by and large, do not believe that it is possible to support your troops but not the war. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Soldiers do not start jobs without finishing them, and to do so is a crushing act on our morale.
    Look at what happened to us after the Vietnam war, since you bring up the subject. We were too scared to get into another major engagement for another 20 years! Not that we didn’t have probable cause many times over in that 20 years, either. A full scale engagement with Iran by Jimmy Carter in ’79 would have showed them where we stood when they captured our embassy and held our citizens and Marines for 444 days.
    Likewise, an incursion into Lebanon following the bombings there resulting in the deaths of a couple hundred US Marines would have shown other terrorist organizations worldwide that we were not to be messed with. And that was under Reagan, who conservatives adore! He STILL messed up… badly!
    Then came the Gulf War… we defeated Saddam and came to within 30 miles of Baghdad, which by my guesstimation would put us somewhere North oh al-Hillah and south of Youssifiyah. The UN did not want to remove Saddam from power, so we didn’t do it. What good has the UN ever been, anyway??? They wait too long to react to anything, and that normally results in the loss of human life. Case-in-point, Kuwait City lost thousands and 205 still unaccounted for as Saddam’s army raped and pillaged without a care in the world. And don’t think I’m letting Bush Sr. off the hook either… he could’ve “manned up” and went ahead anyway, but he didn’t… even though Saddam used chemical weapons against the US forces during our campaign, hence the Gulf War syndrome. This blunder resulted in the massacre of Shiite fighters in the south (again, Bush’s fault also for not backing them like they needed) and 12 years of Saddam skirting the UN madates that he agreed to, hiding chemical weapons that no one believes were there anymore, but we Soldiers know FOR A FACT were there. Now, remember, he used the weapons on us in ’91 and in Salaymaniyah, Kurdistan prior to that. And they found 500 155mm artillery shells full of mustard gas… where was the media or Bush Jr. on that one?
    Fast forward a couple years to Somalia, admittedly a testing ground for the newly formed al Qaeda against The Great Satan! 18 Rangers die (we’re Soldiers… we don’t tuck our tails and run like you people do… sorry!), and Clinton runs away at a dead sprint. Osama bin Laden calls us paper tigers and continues his campaign.
    He was probably right… I mean, look at us now, Democrats trying to retreat (which we Soldiers DO NOT DO), and Republicans not falling far behind. Job security doesn’t mean a thing when you have no government to pay your fat paychecks Pelosi, Reid, etc….
    Then came the Kenya and Tanzania bombings…. wow… did we retaliate or what? We shoot a couple cruise missiles into Afghanistan and kill 20 terrorists… whoopty-freaking-doo…
    The USS Cole… did we retaliate at all? Hell no!
    9/11 happens and America stand as one… until about 6 weeks after we go into Afghanistan, when the media was already calling it a quagmire!
    You people need to see it from our angle! Where you have it right is that the deployments are definitely putting a strain on us. HELP US OUT! Stop being cowards and come fight with us! Show us your patriotism… if you have any at all. That is why our junior officers are leaving in droves… they want normalcy. Our enlisted… we keep re-enlisting. I did, too, for six more years! We care to finish the job!
    And, as for the senior officers being in Bush’s pocket? I got news for you… they have to be. We all have to be. It’s called loyalty to your commander… and he IS our commander. If they are unloyal, then they could (technically) be brought up on charges of mutiny and shot. Besides, could you imagine an unloyal General officer here in my United States? We would then become like any third-world country going through rebellion! It can’t happen here, and we, as Soldiers and other servicemembers are SWORN to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America… not our own personal or political motives.
    Get a life, or live a few months in mine… stop believing everything you read or see on TV… it’s all eschewed to meet a media organizations political objective, be it conservative or liberal… there is no medium on TV anymore. Talk to some guys who’ve been there… and make sure they’re COMBAT veterans and not some asshole who spent his year passing out casual pay at the Camp Slayer freaking finance office. In fact, make sure they served at all… I hear lately here in the states, guys who flunked basic training are campaigning that they went to Iraq and saw all the attrocities. Cry me a river, morons, when you really do get shot at. Until then, stop posing and making guys who actually have the balls to do something with our lives look bad. We’re not murderers, we’re peace makers. Anyway,the guys on the road, they know the deal. And to quote a favorite satirical cartoon of mine: “You Shut the Fuck Up! We’ll Protect America!”
    In closing, show me one place in history where true peace has ever been had without waging a war first. I got in a fight in junior high school with this kid I hated… after we beat each others asses, we became best friends! Good-bye and good riddance.

  2. michael says:

    My comment was based on polling data. See, for example, 72% US Soldiers In Iraq Think US Should Pull Within A Year… (and more data in the underlying survey about a wide diversity of views within the ranks, but certainly by no means monolithic support for current policy).

  3. gi joe says:

    which “comment”? he’s asking you to defend your position that our safety from islamic extremism can be had by :
    1. impeaching bush
    2. electing john edwards
    3. relying on the UN
    4. allowing iran to become nuclear
    5. pulling out of iraq completely
    6. banning all interrogation methods
    all of which are positions you support.

    this guy (if he’s real) is out there risking his life for you. maybe you can explain to him how your 6 point magical plan will lead to rainbows and lollipops for all?

  4. michael says:

    I was responding to the first question in the post: “Which junior enlisted do you speak of?”

    As regards your points — which I’m not sure are his — I give you Benjamin Franklin: “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither”

  5. confucious says:

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
    Thomas Jefferson

    PS What Franklin actually wrote:
    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

    Not that as a liberal you care what documents actually say (they all live and breathe, right?), but I doubt even old Ben would be in as much denial as to the threat of Islamofacism as you (indicated by your dismissive attitude towards the soldier who posted and David Horowitz’s censorship on college campuses). 9/11 (and the other attacks the soldier cited) call for more than “a little temporary safety”. Freedom from FISA wiretaps and waterboarding known terrorists is not “essential liberty” to rational people. To the contrary, liberal frenzy against racial profiling = strip searching nuns and grannies. Old Ben did have a thing for older ladies, but even he would draw the line somewhere.

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