Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Soldier's Blog

I found an interesting blog-post by a US soldier serving in Iraq.

This post drives me nuts and gives me hope at the same time. It reads to me like someone slowly waking from brainwashing. I mean stuff like this:

I believe more and more each day that things like freedom can't be given.


I mean. Wow. Heh. What an Einstein, I feel compelled to say. Yet, that he could figure that out, in the situation he is, is very commendable. And, hopefully, this happens to ever more of them. He continues:

They must be fought for and earned to have value. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that the Iraqi people don't rise up against the insurgency themselves.


It has apparently never appeared to him that the "insurgency" contains in large part people who - well, rose up for freedom, against - the occupiers. But, maybe he figures that out next time.

The rest of this post doesn't elicit such ambivalence in me. He mentions the Downing Street Minutes - I hope the DSM will have more impact on soldiers than the US population.

His previous blog-post is also of interest, he explains why he doesn't want to be conscientious objector, summing up in the end:

To quit, to walk away is to not see my family. That is a choice I am not willing to make.


In other words, he'll commit murder to be with his family. Well, at least that's a better reason than to avoid humiliation or the end of military career.

On a more general note, the frequent references to 'foreign insurgents' by him and other soldiers in the comments reinforce my impression that the US in Iraq is essentially fighting a war with imaginary enemies. It's not simply that they don't have a clue about the place and situation they are in, but that they have a complete phantasy world ready-made by propaganda in their heads, and fit their vision of reality to it.

Kind of like what Edward Said wrote about Orientalists visiting the areas cobbled together by colonialist minds under the nomer 'Orient', who are only out to find reinforcing evidence for the picture that they already have in their mind, and ignore the real nature, the real diversity and the real relations of peoples there.

6 Comments:

At 2:39 PM, Blogger DoDo said...

Supplement: more orientalism at work.

Time had an interview with a future Iraqi suicide bomber, an interesting piece. This ready-for-everything jihadi is a fundie from Fallujah, who participated in the April 2003 peaceful protest that the US soldiers shot up, killing 12, then shooting up another protest, then lying about it, kicking off the Fallujah resistance. The article frames his own account with the 'received wisdom' that is based not on any evidence but propaganda (I blogged about this many times):

Unlike many other Sunnis in Fallujah, Marwan had little love for Saddam's Sunni-led regime. Yet once the dictator fell, he turned against the Americans. "We expected them to bring Saddam down and then leave," he says. "But they stayed and stayed."

 
At 5:45 AM, Blogger Daedalus said...

Are you really so full of your ideology that you would attack any soldier just because he is fighting in Iraq? For your information, Zach is on his second tour in Iraq and has been stop-lossed, you know, the backdoor draft. Zach has been risking punishment by being blatantly anti-Bush and criticizing the war. Have you ever served? Do you have a family? The only reason that he has decided not to desert or refuse to fight is because he doesn't want to be thown into a military prison. He only wants to go home to his family. He has spent all of six months with his second child, his first biological.

You attack my friends, you attack me. This, coming from someone who agrees with most of what you say. But it pisses me off that you would attack an individual soldier just because you oppose the war. Zach is quite intelligent, though very young. He joined straight out of high school, so he is just learning about the world. And because he's been through war, he knows more than the both of us, and you know what, he doesn't know Said. If you had spent more time on his site, you would have read that he does know he is an occupier. He feels for the people. He doesn't want to be there. If you had served, you'd know that it isn't exactly easy to just walk away.

How dare you criticize a soldier who wants to go home just because you don't like the war. It's people like you that give the left a bad name, and we don't need your hateful kind. And to think I visited your site because I liked the name. Bullets for your brain today, but we’ll forget it all again, monuments put from pen to paper, turns me into a gutless wonder

 
At 1:30 PM, Blogger DoDo said...

No, I didn't attack a soldier just because he is fighting in Iraq, I commented specific things he wrote. Unlike you in most of your above attack on me. And it's not like my comments were a stream of denouncements, read them again.

Nothing in your first two paragraphs changes any of my points. I am not required to more emphatize with Zach should he get into jail than those Iraqis he might kill in the rest of his active duty and their families. The way your kind of Americans worship soldiers and want to treat them beyond normal moral categories disgusts me.

 
At 1:35 PM, Blogger DoDo said...

Just in case you overlook them again - these don't look like parts of an attack:

"and gives me hope at the same time"

"someone slowly waking"

"Yet, that he could figure that out, in the situation he is, is very commendable."

"maybe he figures that out next time"

"He mentions the Downing Street Minutes - I hope the DSM will have more impact on soldiers"

"at least that's a better reason"

 
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