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Friday, July 30, 2004. Page 112.
By Chris Floyd
America calls its soldiers who fought in World War II "the greatest generation."
They are hymned by Hollywood, celebrated by publishers and politicians, hailed at every turn.
Heroes from lost golden age
And for their troubled descendants, whose military misadventures stretch from My Lai to Abu Ghraib, the clean-limbed victors of the "last good war" do indeed shine out like heroes from a lost golden age.
Yet despite the vast tonnage of celluloid and printer's ink devoted to their praise, what is perhaps the truest, highest measure of their worth has been almost universally neglected.
And what is this hidden glory, which does more honor to the people of the United States than every single military action ordered by their corruption-riddled leaders during the past 50 years?
It's the fact that in the midst of history's most vicious, all-devouring, inhuman war, only about 15 percent of U.S. soldiers on the battlefield actually tried to kill anyone.
Never fired their weapons
In-depth studies by the U.S. Army after the war showed that between 80 percent and 85 percent of the greatest generation never fired their weapons at an exposed enemy in combat, military psychologist Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman reports in Christianity Today.
Many times they had the chance, but could not bring themselves to do it.
They either withheld their fire altogether or else shot into the air, to the side, anywhere but at the fellow human beings — their blood kin in biology, mind and mortality — facing them across the line.
This reluctance is even more remarkable given the incessant demonization of the enemy by the top brass, especially in the Pacific, where the Japanese — soldiers and civilians — were routinely portrayed by military propaganda as simian, subhuman creatures fit only for extermination.
Yet even with official license given to the most virulent prejudice, even with the sanction of a just cause (self-defense against aggression), even with the incitements of mortal fear, of grief and anger over slain comrades, even with all the moral chaos endemic to warfare, U.S. soldiers killed only with the greatest reluctance, in the direst extremity.
These were not stripped-down brains with cauterized souls
These were not "warriors," bloodthirsty automatons with stripped-down brains and cauterized souls, slavering in Pavlovian fury at the bell-clap of command.  No, they were real men, willing, as Grossman notes, to stand up for a cause, even die for it, but not willing, in the end, to transgress the natural law (implanted by God or evolution, take your pick) that says: Do not kill your own kind — and every person of every race and nation is your own kind.
You would think that this apotheosis of human transcendence, achieved, in the best democratic fashion, by ordinary conscripts — farmboys and dock workers, factory hands, bank clerks, guitar players, teachers, cab drivers, hobos, card sharks, college men — would have been inscribed on plates of gold and fixed to the walls of the Capitol for all time, a blazon of national greatness.
Just think of it: Soldiers who hated to kill, who went out of their way to avoid killing or even firing their weapons, who held on to their essential humanity in the face of the severest provocations — and yet still won battle after battle, marching to victory in history's greatest war.
Break the next generation of recruits
But far from celebrating this example of genuine glory, the military brass were horrified at the low "firing rates" and anemic "kill ratios" of U.S. soldiery.  They immediately set about trying to break the next generation of recruits of their natural resistance to slaughtering their own kind.
Incorporating the latest techniques for psychological manipulation, new training programs were designed to brutalize the mind and habituate soldiers to the idea of killing automatically, by reflex, without the intervention of any of those "inefficient" scruples displayed by their illustrious predecessors.
And it worked.
The dehumanization process led to a steady rise in firing rates for U.S. soldiers during subsequent conflicts.
In the Korean War, 55 percent were ready to pump hot lead into enemy flesh.
And by the time the greatest generation's own children took the field, in Vietnam, the willingness to slaughter was almost total: 95 percent of combat troops there fired with the intent to kill.
Today, in the quagmire of occupied Iraq, the brutalizing beat goes on.
"Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, it's like it pounds in my brain," a U.S. soldier told the Los Angeles Times last week.
Another shrugged at the sight of freshly killed bodies.
"It doesn't bother me at all," he said. "I'm a warrior."
Said a third: "We talk about killing all the time.  I never used to be this way ... but it's like I can't stop.
I'm worried what I'll be like when I get home."
Now high rates of suicide, mental damage and emotional torment
A few military officials are beginning to worry, too, noting the high rates of suicide, mental damage and emotional torment among combat veterans.
But the warlords of the White House — notorious battlefield shirkers who prefer to do their killing by remote control — have little regard for the cannon fodder they churn through in their quest for dominance and loot.
"Training's intent is to re-create battle, to make it an automatic behavior among soldiers," said Colonel Thomas Burke, Pentagon director of mental health policy.
Any efforts to mitigate the moral schizophrenia induced by this training would undermine "effectiveness in battle," he added.
Yet strangely enough, this "warrior ethos" has singularly failed to produce the kind of lasting victories won by those 15-percenters of yore.
Could it be that the systematic degradation of natural morality and common human feeling — especially in the service of dubious ends — is not actually the best way to achieve national greatness?
Annotations
Enemy Contact. Kill 'em, kill 'em
Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2004
Trained to Kill
Christianity Today, Aug. 10, 1998
In Anbar Province, Change of Course Rankles Many Soldiers
Knight-Ridder, July 20, 2004
© Copyright 2004, The Moscow Times.   All Rights Reserved.
Take In A Deep Breath America
 
As far as suicides among active duty soldiers
and veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are concerned,
we in America have just seen the tip of the iceberg.
Two tours will be twice the chance of suicide.
Three tours will be tripple the chance of suicide.
Four tours will be four times the chance of suicide.
These soldiers will be deleted by this country like
unwanted e-mails.
Why?
Because the American people do not support the troops.
Nobody wants to do the math.
Take in a deep breath America,
the wars are coming home to the stuffed closets of your
mind.
When you fall asleep at the wheel,
people die in your neighborhood.
Eventually,
they may die in your own home.
When I was in Vietnam toward the end of the war,
this is what I saw.
Blood on my hands,
brains in my lap.

Photo and words: Mike Hastie
U.S. Army Medic
Vietnam 1970-71
February 9, 2009

Take In A Deep Breath America!
As far as suicides among active duty soldiers and veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are concerned, we in America have just seen the tip of the iceberg.
Three tours will be tripple the chance of suicide.
Four tours will be four times the chance of suicide.
Soldiers deleted like unwanted e-mails.
Take in a deep breath America, the wars are coming home to the stuffed closets of your mind.
When I was in Vietnam toward the end of the war, this is what I saw.
Blood on my hands, brains in my lap.
Mike Hastie
U.S. Army Medic
Vietnam 1970-71
February 9, 2009
Ron Paul: After ‘CIA coup,’ agency ‘runs military’
By Raw Story
Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
US House Rep. Ron Paul says the CIA has in effect carried out a "coup" against the US government, and the intelligence agency needs to be "taken out."
Speaking to an audience of like-minded libertarians at a Campaign for Liberty regional conference in Atlanta this past weekend, the Texas Republican said:
There's been a coup, have you heard?
It's the CIA coup.
The CIA runs everything, they run the military.
They're the ones who are over there lobbing missiles and bombs on countries. ...
And of course the CIA is every bit as secretive as the Federal Reserve. ...
And yet think of the harm they have done since they were established [after] World War II.
They are a government unto themselves.
They're in businesses, in drug businesses, they take out dictators ...
We need to take out the CIA.
Paul's comments, made last weekend, were met with a loud round of applause, but they didn't gather attention until bloggers noticed a clip of the event at YouTube.
Paul appeared to be referring to news reports that the CIA is deeply involved in air strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A
suicide bombing late last year against Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan took the lives of seven of CIA operatives, including two contracted from Blackwater.
The event highlighted the CIA's deep involvement in the war effort.
Paul's reference to the CIA being "in the drug business" refers to long-running allegations that the CIA has funded some of its covert operations with proceeds from drug-running.
That claim was most famously made in
a 1996 investigative report from the San Jose Mercury-News, which alleged that cocaine from the Contra-Sandinista civil war in Nicaragua was making its way to the streets of L.A. via the CIA.
YouTube video
CIA et al
Perhaps Ron you should also have mentioned the CIA's superior agency, the NSA — the National 'Security' Agency
And all the
cocain-funded, opium-funded, US tax-payer-funded black budget operations.
Taxpayer funded once payment to the private 'US Federal Reserve' is made and new borrowing taken to take care of the trillions of dollars needed for black budget and military agency use.
A system of intrigue and corruption that this very year is on track to bring great turmoil — ORDO AB CHAO — to billions of people in the crumbling of the US and major world economic system!
All part of the grand scheme to bring about 'World Government' — via banks and politicians — 'rescue' but really ever greater consolidation for the elite grouping who now run the planet!
Kewe
 
 
 
 
 
For archives, these articles are being stored on TheWE.cc website.
The purpose is to advance understandings of environmental, political,
human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues.