For those who don't do links and have no interest in long accounts that often are contradictory, the gist, as I understand it now, is Marines, who had just stopped a taxi for questioning, were hit by a roadside bomb which killed one of theirs. It was determined it had to have been detonated locally. The unarmed men in the taxi ran and were shot dead. The Marines then searched two nearby homes. What happened next is what is being investigated. What is known is when the entire incident was over, 24 civilians had been killed (one of whom did have a gun but whether it was used has not been stated). Some of the victims were women and children as young as one year old. At first the official report declared it to be a firefight. It was not until March, with more questions being raised by accounts of nearby Iraqis that it was cold-blooded murder, as well as photographs, that a full investigation was launched-- which is still ongoing. As so often happens with such stories, there are as many questions about whether there was a cover-up as the triggering event.
The people who defend our government being in
My discussion is not aimed at settling what happened that day, as it might never be known, but about the situation our soldiers are facing that could lead to such incidents. I am not trying to excuse violence but simply looking at the factors behind it.
One of the things people speculated about
The Neocons, led by people like Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld, who had been in that first Bush administration and some even serving back in the Vietnam era government, believed it'd not be the same as Vietnam. There would be minimal cost and loss of life. The troops would be greeted with flowers. The people would be liberated. Nobody talked much about liberated for what.
Putting aside what is best for the Iraqi people, although that might be worthy of a blog all on its own, I just want to look at what our soldiers face. How do you know who your enemy is when you do not speak the language, and the people are a very different culture than yours? How do you decide who harbored an insurgent and who just lived nearby? How do you condemn the citizens for not telling you who is your enemy when they may be killed if they do tell?
I just read Peggy Noonan's column about Memorial Day. She wrote of heroic soldiers. She was right. In war men and women do heroic deeds. The very act of going into a place you might be shot at seems heroic to me. We have been told the soldiers in
I have heard some say soldiers are trained to break things and kill people-- that is their job. Now we are saying their job is to patrol roads where their patrols seemingly accomplish nothing-- except for some to get blown up, and where there is no way to know who is the bad guy. When individuals over react, they are at fault. But was it just them? Or is it the fault of those who sent them, those who want a tidy war, and then have to blame someone when war is not tidy? When innocent women and even toddlers and babies are murdered in a rage, it's easy, sitting in our living rooms to judge their actions, but why are our soldiers facing this?
The reasons given for being there have changed continually. First it was for WMDs which the administration (if not the president) had every reason to know were not likely still there. The government said all along it was not the oil even though the oil administration was said to be the first thing secured when the military went in. There was supposed to be a shadowy connection between Saddam and bin Laden-- only there never has been any proof of that and given the ideological differences between secular and religious Muslims, seems unlikely. Somewhere along the line, it became about establishing a democracy that will spread peace like a sweet fragrance across the
It doesn't hold water with me when someone says; we are fighting there, so we don't have to fight here. In the first place, that's ridiculous. We now have several totally different enemies. Secondly even if it was so, does that mean you could overlook a three-year old Iraqi child
Some will say if we punish the Marines who committed the atrocity (assuming that is what happened) it's all we have to do. I think we all need to be thinking why we have those men there, what are we expecting from them, and is it worth the price in blood?
I would never say no war is worthwhile, but what are reasons that justify one? For the soldier, if they know what they are doing is for a noble cause, it has to help them with what they are going through, but what if it turns out they don't know why they are doing it but they are just following orders and trusting? There is a poem about that-- 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Rode the six hundred.