"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

May 14, 2007

"RAGE"

Milo Freeman's blog, The Calm Before the Sand, gives the insight of a soldier who is in Iraq experiencing the ebb and flow of his service for his country. The latest is a sample of his reaction from the orders to extend his tour of duty:

I grow increasingly cynical, and lately it seems as though there are none who are exempt from my deepening rage.

My command chain strips us dry of morale and resources, driving us further into the ground with every passing day. My countrymen, 300 million strong, remain powerless to stop a group of perhaps five or ten men, felons and nepotists all. My news outlets feed me more party-line bullshit from the men in power about how this is a "battle against evil" and how "God is on our side" (sound familiar?) My fellow soldiers blithely accept their lots, standing silent as their marriages crumble and their privacy dwindles to nothing.

And for what?

So we can bring "freedom" to a people who so obviously seem to want it neither for themselves, nor any of their neighbors. Barbarians, opportunists, fanatics, spies, and savages, the lot. I am powerless to fathom how a people can collectively act against every SINGLE impulse of reason or compassion which might present itself.

This is a failed state. A failed culture. A dead civilization comprised now only of mummified skin, dried by years of sand and wind, barely clinging to the sun-bleached bones of a once-great Mesopotamian empire. This, this is what we fight for. This is what my classmates die for. This is the cause for which I neglect my faith, my principles, my family, and my partner. This desiccated carcass, this cratered wasteland; a place whose strongest sensory markers, for me, are the smells of human shit and burning garbage. A place whose flag will one day bear the initials of KBR. This I defend, along with the egos of a few paranoid old men.

I joined up believing I could make a positive difference. I believed that, even if I didn't fully support the cause, that I could set a positive example for Americans abroad. I am beginning to see now that I was gravely mistaken.

Fuck this miserable place. Fuck Iraq, and everything in it. You can't resuscitate a corpse, so stop trying to perform CPR. Better to let it rot in the sun.


I understand his anger completely. Give it a look, he writes with passion.

4 comments:

Mike said...

This soldier seems quite forlorn at what he's being asked to do. However, I see no sign of remorse or compassion, in his words, for the nearly total devastation of Iraq at the hands of his (and our) country. When he understands the whole picture, then I'll support his expressed feelings.

Seven of Six said...

He does mention part of the problem Mike.

My countrymen, 300 million strong, remain powerless to stop a group of perhaps five or ten men, felons and nepotists all. My news outlets feed me more party-line bullshit from the men in power about how this is a "battle against evil" and how "God is on our side" (sound familiar?)

In his situation, how can one not feel selfish for his own lot.
I've read Milo for about 9 months, he's only 24. I think when he has a chance to think back he will realize the extent of the damage done to the Iraqi people.
Right now he sees only the Iraqi people he gets to work with...Barbarians, opportunists, fanatics, spies, and savages, the lot. I am powerless to fathom how a people can collectively act against every SINGLE impulse of reason or compassion which might present itself.
It's not the same as if he were to have come and had tea with them before we totally destroyed their country.
Call him a bit idealistic, as I was. But not blind.

snark said...

He probably isn't entirely aware of how utterly responsible 'the west' and the United States in particular is for the fact that it is impossible for him to see anything but a cultural corpse in Iraq. As SoS says, he's only 24. There is an entire generation of 20-30 year old Iraqis who know nothing but war, death and depravation. Their world is the Iran-Iraq war, Gulf War I, a decade of murderous UN Sanctions and our 2003 'liberation' of their country. What fucking hell. I can sympathize with his inability, or hesitance to express any remorse. It's hard to feel remorse for people when you're in a situation where being 'soft' can quickly get you killed. I can imagine it's a bit of a defense mechanism. Besides, these guys are trained to be warriors. Not cultural liasons.

Spc. Freeman said...

If I may address Mike's comment, (which he also raised on my blog), it's not that I single out an individual source for my frustration--after all, I DO recognize this as an occupation--but I can see how it would appear that way. That being said, I do feel that, under the circumstances, a little self-interest is justified.

I'm angry, and all around me, it seems that there is nobody safe from these recriminations.

Everyone is to blame, myself included.