The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder. The savagery and brutality of the occupation is tearing apart those who have been deployed to Iraq. 115 American soldiers committed suicide in 2007, a 13% increase since 2006. This will rise as distraught veterans come home, unwrap the self-protective layers of cotton wool that keep them from feeling, and face the awful reality of what they did to innocents in Iraq.
American marines and soldiers have become socialized to atrocity. The politicians still speak in the abstract terms of glory, honor and heroism, in the necessity of improving the world, in lofty phrases of political and spiritual renewal. Those who kill large numbers of people always claim it as a virtue. The reality behind the myth, however, is very different...
"This 18-year-old kid is on top of an armored Humvee with a .50-caliber machine gun," remembered Sergeant Geoffrey Millard, who served in Tikrit with the 42nd Infantry Division. "And this car speeds at him pretty quick and he makes a split-second decision that that's a suicide bomber, and he presses the butterfly trigger and puts 200 rounds in less than a minute into this vehicle. It killed the mother, a father and two kids... And they briefed this to the general, and they briefed it gruesome. I mean, they had pictures... And this colonel turns around to this full division staff and says, 'If these f---ing hajis learned to drive, this shit wouldn't happen'."
We make our heroes out of clay. We laud their gallant deeds and give them uniforms with colored ribbons on their chests for the acts of violence they committed or endured. They are our false repositories of glory and honor, of power, of self-righteousness, of patriotism and self-worship, all that we want to believe about ourselves. [More]