Getting Serious

I think it would be great if someone ran on a platform of really getting serious about the War on Terror.

They would propose that we institute a draft. Mandatory service would expand the armed services’ ranks to several million people. Wages would have to be cut. Infantry combat would be compulsory for all males, non-combat roles for females. KBR contracts would be cut and all soldiers would have to learn to live off the land.

There would be a government program for mandatory Arabic, Pashtu, and Korean language training, and Muslim/pan-Arab cultural education.

They would undergo basic SERE training, which would include torture conducted by simulated mujaheddin. They would watch all the videos released by Al-Qaeda, Ansar Al-Sunna, and insurgency groups in Iraq.

They would be cut off from any material benefit begotten through war. They would have to sacrifice themselves.

This would scare people into the reality of the war in which they claim to support so much.

There are so many Americans right now who infuriate me. Some are pejoratively referred to as the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. Some are politicians. Bush is one of them.

These people claim that progressives and liberals are cowards. It’s a cheap slogan. While there are many pro-war, anti-liberal veterans, the truth is that the most prominent people have never seen war.

They have never met a warrior, understood how a warrior thinks. They don’t understand the people who enjoy living in the middle of nowhere, with no safety net, eating shitty food and smelling bad, feeling sore and exhausted and alive. They would not fit in a platoon of combat-tested Marines or soldiers. They don’t understand how someone could chop an insurgent in half with a .50 cal, then return home to nothing more than a bus ride and a barracks room. They think of warriors the same way they would of noble savages.

They treat the War on Terror like it’s fantasy football. They clamor for it with such emotional detachment that it’s despicable. They cannot comprehend the inevitability of the war in Iraq, that it will eventually lead to a disbanded Iraqi Army fitted with American-bought supplies and given advanced American military training, destabilizing the country and region for decades. They cannot sympathize with the insurgency, as if they would go so quietly if the US was invaded and occupied by Muslim warriors. They cannot imagine what it would be like if someone stormed into their neighborhoods, cordoned them off, whisked the fathers away for years to be tortured, humiliated the women, accidentally killed members of the community, accused them all of being terrorist collaborators, all without understanding American culture or language. They can’t imagine people fleeing the US to get away from the strife and bloodshed, or being stopped in the street and shot in the head just for being Protestant instead of being Baptist.

These yahoos actually believe that Iraq needs to step up and take more responsibility for itself. If it REALLY wants democracy. What a fucking elitist thing to say.

Of course it’s easy to be pro-war when you know it won’t affect your job, your family, or your own life directly. Even so, if you have a relative who has gone to war and come home, it’s almost as if you went yourself! Such a badge of honor, to be so close to being a combat veteran, that you can bray vicariously with militaristic bravado.

Want to know what’s funny? For all these chickenhawks who have never served, I’ve served almost five years in the Army and during that time, I’ve trained with a lot of hard-charging homosexual soldiers. I’ve deployed to war with females. Really scrawny females. I’ve gone on missions with liberals. My best friends in the Army are pretty hard-core progressives.

I wonder if it would make a chickenhawk upset to know that “self-loathing fags” have fought more for the country than he has?

People need a dose of reality. The war needs to affect them more before they rightly shut up and talk about things they’re more informed about. You would think this would have happened after 9/11, but now it’s used in such a casual fashion. Apparently “I remember 9/11 and will never forget” is a competent argument these days. It implies that you are tough on terror and will never relent.

It’s just sad that there aren’t more knowledgeable voices out there depicting the “war” as it is. It’s a shame that our leaders are living in this fantasy land too, full of armchair political scientists who insist that fighting the “War on Terror” is just a matter of figuring out some magical formula of administrative perfection.

The real war is going on without the US’s knowledge. The American view of the “war” is bland, grey, and base. The complicated arrangements made between tribes, national governments, and international terrorist groups are full of color, intrigue, and historical importance. I will expect to continue to see great books released about what’s REALLY going on there, when the US isn’t busy getting in the way. My current read, “Ghost Wars” (Pulitzer Prize winner, 2005), is one of those books. It is like reading about a different war.

So, yeah. I’m pissed. I know this was generalized and vague. But I just needed to vent.

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