The military is all hot and bothered about this youtube video that shows a soldier leading some Iraqi children in a catechism that is not at all flattering. The Army says it, the video, is not “representative of our soldiers” but in the age of the internet, and youtube, and to paraphrase Bill Maher, ‘everything you say can and will be used against you in a youtube search’ there are plenty of other examples of Army personnel acting less than exemplary during their tour.
There are also examples of military personnel acting honorably with Iraqi citizens in prosecuting the war, but the point is both sides are representative of US action in Iraq, and lest one forget, diplomacy is not the job description for soldiers, killing combatants in defense of national interests is. The American government has given up its claim to diplomacy in Iraq when it falsely proclaimed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; we should not expect soldiers to do the job of diplomats. Likewise, we should not be surprised at the images of hatred and abuse from soldiers towards civilians due to a government authority that has put them in harms way purposefully. Those who act honorably should be welcomed back into society with open arms, but those who don’t live up to that standard need help to be repatriated onto the shores of America, something many returning from the war front claim is not being done by a forgetful government. Soldiers on the ground in Iraq are smart enough to see they were lied to and frustrated enough to act on that deception in sometimes less than moral ways. The sooner we stop deceiving ourselves about that, covering up this frustration by saying it’s not ‘representative’, forgetting the role government has played in putting those soldiers in that position, and then denying them the support services they need there in theater and beyond, the better we’ll be at correcting one of the most grievous and egregious acts that will be recorded for this century. Stop the denial! It is what it is! Return US military personnel from Iraq!