Tuesday, April 6, 2010

War Rears Its Ugly Head

The job of an American soldier is horrible and forces individuals into precarious situations where right and wrong are as clear as the dust cloud from an artillery blast. Our military operates within a strict formal protocol that intends to minimize random violence and civilian death while keeping our soldiers safe. Most of the time, our soldiers are very professional and obey orders appropriately.

Occasionally, individuals deviate from protocol or take liberties in combat that produce disastrous results. Some incidences are reported and investigated. Others go unnoticed. The following is a video from 2007 of American soldiers engaging a group of Iraqis they (presumably) believed to be insurgents. What is most disturbing in this video is not an egregious dismissal of protocol, but the communication between soldiers who seem to be operating within standard protocol. If I did not know differently, I could have easily mistaken the footage as cinematics or gameplay from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

As an outsider, I do not intend to cast a generalization upon all American soldiers. I know and respect many individuals who have served in combat situations. Let the following example serve less as anti-military propaganda and more as a sad, telling example of how disgusting and unfortunate war can be.

The debate about our military presence in Afghanistan often seems predicated on our ability to "win." In an elective war without a clear end, what do we define as "victory?" I understand that our presence is a reaction to a direct attack on American soil. I recognize that war is occasionally necessary. But we must always be aware of the costs. As trillions of American dollars are blown and casualties on both sides pile up, I challenge those who engage in the debate to consider the following:

There are no winners in war, as death is the mother of retaliation. When man kills his enemy, he becomes his own. And as he stands alone atop his fallen foe, he is without life. For war yields no victor, but only great loss and greater loss.

WARNING: Contains graphic footage of combat violence and death.


PS: I'm glad that the record companies don't control military footage.

25 comments:

Henry Vasquez said...

I know the video is a bit lengthy, but it is worth your time.

Tom said...

Great find. This is something every American ought to watch. Glad Wikileaks is doing good work.

Bill said...

I think that war can be necessary, but unfortunately the people who say that "war can be necessary" are often the ones trying to convince you to support a war that isn't.

I'll try to play devils advocate.

This might seem trite, but I believe that we're in Afghanistan because that is where our enemies who attacked us on 9/11 were operating from. The best way to make sure it doesn't happen again is to keep those responsible from being able to rise back to power. We have a bad history in Afghanistan, but one of our biggest mistakes was taking our eye off the ball while the Taliban took control.

Tim Ryan said...

You can find footage that is exactly the same if you look for old news reels and back logs of the Vietnam War. Nothing ever changes, really. But we don't learn.

Sarah Jones said...

Bill, I realize you're playing devil's advocate but I thought I'd voice my opinion quickly. My problem with that kind of mentality for the war in Afghanistan is simply that we're just harboring further and more frustrations with the West in the future. It's a never-ending cycle that we just can't seem to stop. We may be stopping the terrorists of today, perhaps, but what are we doing to the terrorists of tomorrow?

We've come into a country without really trying to understand it or its culture (more so under the Bush administration). What kind of opinion will Afghanis have of us? I mean, think about it. My fear is that by occupying this country, continuing on with the atrocities that result from warfare, we are igniting even more hatred in a pretty unstable place.

I guess, to me, war is a quick fix. It could be defined as necessary but more often than not it usually just delays even more conflict.

Peace Cory said...

Unless we rid the world of terrorism altogether, which I posit is impossible, it would be better to focus on improving intelligence and security measures at home and maintaining soft power and respect internationally. 9/11 was a massive security breach and is completely possible in a world without terrorists in Afghanistan.

Bill said...

Just watched the video. This is terrible.

Kat said...

I agree with Cory on this one. I recall that it was once said that George W. Bush was Al Qaeda's greatest recruiter.

Anonymous said...

I hate when liberals make blanket anti-war rants like this. It's foolish to propose a world without war. Even your beloved Obama believes that our presence in Afghanistan is important.

ShamRockNRoll said...

Anonymous, what are you smoking that caused you to think this was a "blanket anti-war rant"? Did you even read the post, or the comments from one of our other editors for that matter?

Bill said...

Anonymous, I think that pacifism is a legitimate ideology. You may not agree that a world without war is feasible, but it should certainly desirable, so I don't understand why pacifism in general should inspire hatred on your part.

Also, I think you would be hard pressed to find any real liberal that would ever refer to Obama as "beloved".

Anonymous said...

Beloved is right. From what I can tell, most of the writers on this blog are giant Democratic Party lapdogs. I hope this isn't the best that Notre Dame liberals have to offer.

ShamRockNRoll said...

Anonymous.

1.) Grow some balls, and make up a name for yourself so we can sort all you trolls out and know who we're talking to.

2.) Maybe you should actually read the blog before making such stupid, uninformed comments. President Obama receives a fair amount of criticism on this blog on a number of issues, most recently his compromises on health care reform, and his proposal to renew offshore drilling.

Bill said...

I'd ask you to back that up with evidence, but that would be assuming you're not worthless troll

Tom said...

Anonymous,

You are nothing but a troll. You clearly don't read Lefty's. You probably just stumbled upon this randomly and decided to stir things up. Please go back to teabagging copies of the Irish Rover.

Tim Ryan said...

It worries me when someone is already so jaded by the time they get to college they can't at least try for world peace. Maybe it's not possible, at least not until we ultimately destroy each other, but trying can only help. Believing that there will never be an end to war is one thing, attacking people with baseless accusations for hoping that there will be an end is another. Not to mention that Henry's article is in no way an anti-war rant.

Aly said...

I just find it great that out friend Anonymous says anyone proposed a world without war... I am fairly certain no one ever asserted such a position, and many will admit war has its uses. Reading really is a skill you should engage and use sometimes.

I definitely recognize the place war has in the world, but I also happen to believe there are other ways to solve problems besides wielding heavy artillery... Maybe by earning respect in foreign relations as Sarah suggested?

Anyone who believes that war and diplomacy are mutually exclusive needs to wise up, fast.

Anonymous said...

Resorting to attacks like "troll" really expose your true colors. How is Henry's post not blanketly anti-war? His entire diatribe at the end is nothing but peacemonger idealism wrapped in hippie poetry. "And as he stands atop his fallen foe, he is without life." WTF? I hope you didn't make that up yourself.

Henry Vasquez said...

Actually, Anonymous, those are my words, thank you. I don't usually entertain trolls like this, but I'm going to have to send the Troll Patrol after you. www.trollpatrol.com

ShamRockNRoll said...

Anon, you're basing an entire post off a quote at the very end? Were all the other words too difficult to read?

Secondly, "troll" isn't an "attack" ...it is an accurate description of the type of commenter you are--it is widely used internet lingo for people who "troll" blogs they don't agree with and insert idiotic and uninformed opinions. I'm not sure how internet-savy and/or old you are, but it is a widely used adjective that fits this scenario.

But... I'm really not above calling people an asshole/douchebag, etc. when such is called for ;)

Tim Ryan said...

I'm curious, Mr./Mrs. Anonymous (you really do leave yourself open to accusations of trolling when you hide behind anonymity), what's it like to lose your soul at such a (presumably, as I'm assuming you're a college student) young age? Even if Henry's post was full of "peacemonger idealism" (it isn't), would that really be such a horrible thing? It is incredible to me when people throw around words like "peace" and "idealism" as if they have negative connotations.

Aly said...

"As an outsider, I do not intend to cast a generalization upon all American soldiers. I know and respect many individuals who have served in combat situations. Let the following example serve less as anti-military propaganda and more as a sad, telling example of how disgusting and unfortunate war can be."

How in any way, Anonymous, do you read the above as blanket anti-war propaganda? I'm curious, because all I can see is a point about the sad side of war that people often allow to fade from view. And if you want to argue that the video posted is anything other than sad and disgusting, please feel free to make an ass of yourself.

Bill said...

How to troll:

Troll: I disagree, and also insult the entire website I post on. I offer no evidence for what I say.

Normal Person: But that's trolling.

Troll: Because you resorted to name-calling, that means I'm right.

Textbook troll.

Andrea Watts said...

I first saw that clip on Maddow, disturbing stuff.

And Lefty's staff: great retorts :) you rock

Sarah Furman said...

"I recognize that war is occasionally necessary."

Let me be the first to propose that all war is wrong.

Seriously, though.

Also, let's get over the troll thing- it's a really worthless conversation taking attention away from the real issue of the horror of war.